New Tools — New Headaches
by Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp — all-in-one help authoring tool
I’ve been browsing the Internet the other day and came across some entertaining research. This research described a phenomenon familiar to most people: they hate changes! Sometimes altering the way you do things is challenging and also dull. Besides, if it involves doing many things that you haven’t done before, so you do not know how to do it. It is a very uneasy process.
New and adjusted tools and processes in the workplace for completing tasks are usually the first things we have to adapt to. These are the forerunners for other changes that will come over time, for example, how you write, where you work, the company’s policies. Changes help us to evolve. But sometimes, the onrush may feel mind-blowing. The latest app we all started to suddenly use, upgrade of some tool.
You may get the feeling that accepting new tools and processes is as plain as day for all other people except you. Maybe you worry about being left high and dry: that it’s just you who prefer doing things they were (i.e., the easier ride). Or, you sense that everyone in our extra-linked society should just know how to do everything new and how to do it right from the word go.
Calm down; you are not alone in this. Human beings are always formed emotional attachments to the well-known. Remember Luddites that protested against manufacturers who used machines in what they called “a fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labor practices of the 19th century. Luddites feared that the time spent learning their craft skills would go to waste, as machines would replace their role in the industry.
But changes are inevitable. The main idea with the resistance of accepting something new is the fear to let down someone and fear of failure when faced with novelties. The reason is that we already got into the habit of doing something one way, using one particular tool to get to a stage where this way of doing it has come to represent a kind of safety. If the traditional tool takes us securely around our comfort zone towards our final destination — the result, then the new tool can represent a kind of risk zone. If you feel the same way as described here, let me give you some tips for speeding up.
1. Don’t be afraid to start and be ready for anything!
There were times when I was a newbie in the technical communication industry. Of course, I was nervous to start editing tech docs on my own. Creating or moving objects around the structure without supervision was intimidating: what if I break something or delete in error? And everybody will know it’s me. I had a great curator who told me: “Don’t worry. You should jump into it. And if something happens, everything can be fixed.”
2. Notice your success. After you well executed the task using something new, mark it somewhere. At the end of the day try to write down everything you learned. Even the smallest gain makes a lot difference here — it should help with your self-confidence.
3. Engage an SME.
It’s okay to ask for help, especially with something new. Sometimes everyone faces a situation where they cannot find a way out or are stuck with some tool or procedure. And besides, true experts won’t mind demonstrating their knowledge at all, even flattered, because they understand their subject from every possible angle. But use the help wisely: try to do everything by yourself and ask them to watch while you do it.
4. Time Will Help!
You should understand that time has to pass, and during that period, you’ll try and maybe even fail sometimes, but eventually, you’ll learn. Just don’t be in a rush. Keep trying; there’s time for everything.
5. Use Youtube tutorials.
After you feel that you are “getting into the nuts and bolts, it’s time to delve into this tool or procedure and find some ‘pro’ features. The tutorials should help here.
6. Become a teacher.
Some day or other, somebody will ask for your help to find their feet with the tool. It might surprise you to find out that you know more than you think: sometimes, the act of explaining the basics to another can trigger the realization that you’ve come pretty far. And if you can’t find the answer your pupil needs, you can be honest and suggest working together to figure out how to solve the problem.
New and adjusted tools and processes in the workplace for completing tasks are usually the first things we have to adapt to. These are the forerunners for other changes that will come over time, for example, how you write, where you work, the company’s policies. Changes help us to evolve. But sometimes, the onrush may feel mind-blowing. Search for solutions and not dwell on failures. Keep calm and adapt!
Have a nice day!
Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors