Adoption is your biggest problem on your digital journey.

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Despite organizations providing teams with a host of tools to use in this rapidly evolving digital world, teams are struggling to get the best out of this investment. Distractions are high, change is hard and contextualising a new tool to an established team way of working is even harder.

In this article we will share with you why teams are not getting the best out of their expanding digital tool kit, what specific areas are problematic and what you can do to rapidly increase adoption.

We will also share an approach through simulation that you can use immediately to transform your virtual team skills across your business in a fast and effective way.

Let’s dive straight in.

We need to re-think Digital Transformation as a collaborative re skilling process…helping leaders contextualise digital tools to their own work

Step change ROI

Adopting digital tools to their fullest extent will essentially allow you to get a return on investment (ROI) on your digital assets; in other words, you’re not just spraying the latest tools into the business but you’re actually guiding teams to a new path where they can maximise the benefits of digital tools everyday.

There is an interesting paradox at play here. Whilst the majority of the workforce is more tech-savvy, teams ability to fully leverage the tools that you put into their hands is hindered by old routines, leadership styles and behaviours. These are directly preventing adoption to occur at the required speed that we need.

The challenges of team digital tool adoption

These are some of the main challenges faced when it comes to digital tool adoption for teams:

Awareness and Motivation.

Imagine a garden hose with a numbers of knots in it. When you turn the tap on the required pressure doesn’t get through to the end and the water pressure that comes out of the nozzle is sub optimal. This is like change. We need to remove all of the knots and constraints at the start of any transformation so that we can achieve the right pressure and get maximum value from our digital tools.

A lack of awareness and motivation from teams as to how they need to work differently with the digital tools at their disposal are those knots and bends in the hose and they need to be addressed before you start this journey.

Achieving Applicability.

If you were handed the keys to a Formula One car, explained all of its features and then asked to race around the track, the chances are high that you would struggle to get out of the pit lane. This happens all the time with teams when they are handed a new tool by an expert and shown all of its great features only to be left standing alone at the end of the training with no clue how to deploy it.

Adoption doesn’t get off the ground if teams can’t get to the first corner…

When we deploy digital tools to teams we need to start with applicability and simple application to get a few quick wins in. Confidence here will lead to more advanced feature adoption as the training wheels come off.

Re thinking Training and Demos.

When you get a new tool as an organization, what normally happens is the vendor and/or project lead will show the relevant team how they can leverage the software. This normally takes the form of a training and onboarding session that point to features followed up with personalized demos to attempt to show them how they can fully leverage the new tool they have at their disposal.

But how do we get them excited and step change awareness and motivation instead of just going through the motions and listing its features?

Real World Example — the power of Simulation

Through the use of simulation you can transform adoption in less 4 hours and achieve more of what it would take 20+ hours of product training and demos.

At Pelatum, we come from a military intelligence background where the adoption of new tools and technology meant the difference between mission success or failure. To ensure that we go this right, we ran simulations with teams to provide them with the opportunity to ‘fine tune’ leadership behaviours and ways of working with new such tools at our disposal. In a matter of hours in a high pressure and engaging environment we tested teams ability to achieve the following;

- Align to the mission across a virtual network. Using new technology enabled communication channels, let teams practice new ways of working here and adapt leadership styles and develop the right behaviours.

- Roles and Responsibilities. With new technology often comes new roles and team members. It was critical to establish how new teams were formed and provide clarity around who was doing what with new digital tools to achieve the mission. For example, if we have an advanced analytics cell, how were they going to communicate with front-line decision makers?

- Asking the right Questions. Advanced analytics and technology is of little value if we can’t generate the right demand for it from our teams. This comes from asking questions that are tied to decision making — at the right time.

As I said to my Marines everyday; Simulations are where we can get it wrong, quickly learn, adjust and get better. Adopting digital tools in the right way for our mission success…

Old vs New Tanks.

Many leaders simply believe that the old tank is the better tank. Others simply don’t have the patience or drive to learn a new technology. This happens more commonly than you might think; sometimes, there’s so little time and patience that it feels easier to just do it “the old way”. This circles back to awareness and motivation, to inspire leaders to change through an engaging performance challenge (simulation) where they can feel that they are leading the change themselves.


Digital adoption in teams will separate the winners and losers in a rapidly changing digital landscape. Leveraging features into the way that teams work is the end goal, but getting there needs to be revisited. Simulations provide an engaging and inspiring path to change for teams, making transformation real at every level.

This will lead to a great digital adoption strategy, and transformational results for your organization.

At Pelatum, we use simulations to transform digital adoption in teams. Our simulations are utilized by our clients and partners globally.

About the author

Graham began his career as a Royal Marines Commando Officer, specializing in Intelligence. He is now the CEO of Pelatum, transforming the way that business teams work through complexity using award winning digital tools. He is the award winning author of Seeing Around Corners.

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We create powerful simulations that deliver breakthrough performance for virtual teams

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