Zenith Z100 ComputerChange is hard – I know because I’ve made a lot of changes in my life.  But while change is hard, in the business world you can often make a very good case for change by citing money – making money, saving money, and not losing money.

When I was assigned to the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair at Pearl Harbor in 1983 as the Deputy Assistant Supervisor – sounds like a minor official but actually the officer-in-charge of day-to-day operations – contracts were being created on manual typewriters.  I created trouble when I introduced computers with word processors to the Planning Department and was informed that the Admin Officer (a woman) was the person who did word processing, not the planners.  I pointed out that the planners had been typing and they would still be typing – just on computers instead of typewriters.  Fortunately, everyone involved had a dedication to getting the job done and I was in a position of authority – so they made the change.

Then everyone became an enthusiastic user when we had an emergency rush request for a contract on a floating drydock – not having to retype the same contract clause with only a few numbers changed over and over again won the planners to using computers.  They could even reuse previous contracts with only simple edits – WOW!

I stuck to my guns and forced through the change because I had experienced the benefits of using computer-based word processing when I wrote my PhD dissertation.  I knew the benefits and the challenges in making the change, so I could help the planners when they were having difficulties.  Yes, I was forcing change, but I was also able to show the benefits and help with problems.

And that’s what’s really required when introducing change.  People need a reason to change, otherwise let’s just keep doing it the old way – we know it and we know the problems and their solutions.  Something new means we must learn new things – that’s pain.  But when they know they have a better world ahead or an easier job and there’s resources to help make the change, then the change will be accepted better.  Withdraw any one aspect and resistance will increase dramatically.

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.