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Leading the Teams Transition

I learned two things last month that inspired this article. First, I am not the only AEC marketer experiencing a significant change as my company switches over from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. Second, the AEC marketing space is full of seller-doers and other organizational leaders, as evidenced by the crowd at the Growing Your Career by Growing Business [1] event. It follows that firms are likely turning to their marketing personnel to smooth out the bumps as they transition to Microsoft Teams from Skype and other collaboration platforms. This edition of Marketing Trends provides helpful tips for making the switch to Teams by applying concepts from John Kotter’s Leading Change [2] [3] to the Teams rollout.

1. Establish a sense of urgency

People need to know and feel the need for change. That is, you must present hard facts and then bring them to life emotionally. Maybe your current conferencing platform is notorious for dropping calls, and Teams promises relief from that embarrassment and frustration; or maybe you’re just so dang excited about the collaboration tools that you can’t wait to make the switch. Regardless of the reasons for the change, communicate the benefits in a way that emotionally engages your coworkers.

2. Create a Guiding Coalition

Nobody can reap the full benefits of this new platform alone. To facilitate the transition, create a group of tech-savvy super users to pilot application features and lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Host lunchtime talks and webinars to encourage questions and show off the tool’s capabilities.

3. Develop a Vision and Strategy

Clearly communicate the benefits of the switch to Teams. Employees need to imagine the new collaborative landscape and desire its benefits. This is achieved through clear, focused communication of the advantages it offers.

4. Communicate the Change Vision

Encourage Teams adoption with the following steps:

  • Tell success stories to bring successful adoption to life
  • Clearly and concisely remind people of the timeline for the Teams rollout. Consider rolling out Teams alongside your existing platform to provide time to get used to the new interface.
  • Lead by example. If you’re a manager, start to communicate via Teams early in the rollout stage.

5. Empower Employees for Broad-Based Action

To prevent organizational forces from prohibiting the adoption of Teams, take the following steps:

  • Encourage active discussion of the pros and cons of Teams. If employees that are attached to the old way of doing things, validate those feelings by acknowledging them. Open a candid discussion of the pros and cons of the Teams rollout to communicate its benefits.
  • Provide as many employees as possible with at least a cursory walkthrough of the Teams interface so that a simple lack of tech skills will be less of a barrier to adoption. This could be as simple as emailing or posting on Yammer a YouTube video or link to Reddit.

6. Generate Short-Term Wins

Celebrate using Teams for meetings and messages. Send updates and kudos firmwide as more people join at least 1 Team.

7. Consolidate Gains and Produce More Change

Once Teams has been established as the go-to platform for simpler functions like instant messaging and phone calls, encourage users to delve into more advanced features like the built-in OneNote and Planner.

8. Anchor New Approaches in the Culture

Set a firm date to sunset your old collaboration platform and switch to Teams for good. Continue to host brown bag webinars and send out helpful links as you learn about new Teams features. Microsoft is constantly updating Teams and posts helpful articles here.



Troy Krause is Marketing Coordinator with CDM Smith who enjoys Boston’s restaurant scene, playing sports, and visiting art museums. He is a contributor to the Marketing Trends blog series and a member of the Communications Committee.

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