The digital age is upon us, and we are seeing more technology for estate agents than ever before. Many agents are switching software, advertising on social media and Google, using AI and are gaining traction with nurture journeys designed specifically for their potential clients. The agents who have not switched from their old technology to the new, are often paralysed by the fear of change – not so much the change itself but the chaos change brings to their teams.
The adoption of technology brings with it a range of reactions within teams, and recognizing and addressing these responses early in the process is crucial for successful implementation. The communication theorist and sociologist, Everett Rogers, originated the Diffusion of Innovations theory and introduced the term early adopter to the business world in 1962. While this theory is not new, it is the foundation of most trainings in successful businesses today.
In the Diffusion of Innovations theory, Rogers identifies five categories: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards. In this article we will look at the potential adoption styles of your team members and talk about the key to a smooth transition during change for each.
- These individuals are tech enthusiasts, always on the lookout for the latest advancements. Innovators are eager to experiment with new software and are typically the first to embrace change.
- Key to smooth transition: Engage with them to gather valuable insights and feedback during the initial stages of software adoption. Send them the training available and the software itself right away. Get them on your side early – they're your innovation trailblazers.
- Early Adopters are opinion leaders within the team. They are open to new ideas and technology but prefer a bit of evidence before fully committing. Innovators and early adopters are like your internal champions – they’ll advocate to their fellow workers about how great the new technology is if you let them.
- Key to smooth transition: Approach early adopters to become the software’s Champion and the responsibility of the project will encourage quick adoption.
- Early Majority: As the chaos settles, the Early Majority begins to see the benefits of software adoption. These team members are more deliberate in their decision-making process, often waiting for the technology to be proven before jumping on board.
- Key to smooth transition: Effective communication and showcasing success stories become key to winning over the Early Majority.
- Late Majority members are skeptics who adopt new technology only when it becomes the norm. They require a considerable amount of assurance and proof that the software will bring tangible benefits.
- Key to smooth transition: Address their concerns transparently, highlighting the positive impact of the software on the organization and their individual roles.
- Laggards are resistant to change and often fear the unknown. They may view software adoption as a disruption to their established routines. You may have to force these team members to make the change.
- Key to smooth transition: Patience and personalized support are essential for helping Laggards overcome their reluctance. Clearly demonstrate how the software can simplify tasks and enhance their efficiency. Schedule additional time for training – shadowing the Champion of the software can be a big help.
A quick note for further success:
In a team made of a majority of late adopters, leveraging innovators and early adopters is key to building enthusiasm and influencing the early majority. Once the majority is on board, it becomes easier to encourage late adopters and laggards.