Scenario 1You’re deep in the middle of a project. You've already identified pain points, assessed needs, done research, looked and explained the data, and now it's time to talk solutions. You gather the stakeholders, present your case, lay out some solid solutions, they listen attentively, and…*eerrrrht*. You get "Gee, that's impressive. We should do that, but we can't."
Scenario 2You’re armed with THE books, you’ve got a game plan, you’ve had that initial meet and greet, heard the wants, assessed the major pain points, and now you’re ready to get to work. It's time for discovery, for interviews, user research and…*eerrrrht*. The whole process comes to a screeching halt.
What happened? Organizational culture, that's what happened. Organizational culture issues can be anything from
- groups clinging to their fiefdoms (territoriality)
- to departments not talking to each other (silos)
- from but this is how we do things (fear of unknown and/or fear of change)
- to the people you have been working with aren't actually empowered to make decisions and the people who make decisions aren't aware, interested, or looped in (stakeholders not engaged or hierarchy/elitism)
Organizations are made of people. People who've developed certain way of looking at, thinking, and interacting internally. The first instinct is to maintain, keep things at an equilibrium. And here you come saying let's change everything! Or it least may be heard that way.
The key is to work with rather than against the fear.
- Listen to, and hear what people are really saying.
- Establish a common goal.
- Ask questions. Ask "What if..." rather than tell.
- Communicate and negotiate.
- Be resourceful and keep going.