Monday, October 8, 2012

Remove Barriers (Give staff a voice! Part 8 of 10)

Road Trip! The excitement builds as you jump in the car and crank the music! Then you realize you forgot to get directions and didn't fill the gas tank. OK, deep breath.

Run inside, grab the brand new GPS, quickly open it and get those directions. But you have no idea how this thing even works and why does it suddenly have a voice like the Hulk? What button did you push?!? But a bit more fumbling and you got the directions.

Now rush to get gas. Finally on the road! But of course, construction and traffic. oy. If you only knew how to find an alternate route on this GPS or knew this area better!!! But you are afraid to leave the main road and get lost...

Ok, I think I have stressed you out enough or at least I have stressed myself out.

Content creation can have the same barriers which we talked about in the last post. So why did I create this story for this post instead of the last post? Well I don't know.  Just kidding of course. I added the story to illustrate a key point in removing barriers:

Make your authors feel prepared and comfortable.

Being ready and used to the tools is a big theme in my very real road trip story. Come on, we have all been there.

Some keys to removing barriers:

Easy to use tools - make sure the tools fit the situation and skill set of users. If you don't need the Hulk voice option, don't provide it.

Training - Offer regular and on-demand trainings. Schedules are busy, so expecting people to attend and care about training on your schedule instead of theirs can really backfire.
Practice - Your trainings should NOT be a lecture. Make them use the tools. Require them to bring real content to work on in the training. And leverage every possible scenario to get them to practice using the tools. (examples - at staff meetings use the tools as a group, use tools internally as well)

Easy to access support - Provide "on-star" type support. Give them a website with cheat sheets and a real person that can access.

Have a plan - Make sure everyone has their directions, expectations and alternate routes.

Reduce fear - Build a team of champions and cheerleaders to make the tech more approachable and friendly. Share examples of use and success.

Snacks - every road trip needs snacks. (just seeing if you are paying attention)

Don't just expect your staff to jump in the car we call content and drive. Prepare them.