Skip to main content
Consortium for Service Innovation

Doubt: The tools don’t work.

Two scenarios:

  1. Perhaps the tools ARE actually broken! It is important to confirm that this is not the case.
  2. Limitations of functionality and/or integration (that’s what we focus on here)

Possible Underlying Beliefs

  • Fear of change
  • I don’t like the tools we used to use, but at least I knew how to use them
  • I don’t want to learn a new set of tools
  • Lack of belief or buy-in to the KCS methodology

Suggestions for Discovery

  • This doubt is often driven by an unstated belief or fear. Complaints about the tool are a scapegoat.  Often there is a deeper issue like doubts about leadership’s intentions or a lack of buy-in to KCS. 
  • Ask before coaching.
  • Tell me more about that?
  • What doesn’t work?
  • Do you have some suggestions for improvements?

Key Points for Advocacy

  • Determine if the tool is actually broken. A broken tool is different than frustration with tool functionality and integration.
  • Do people know how to use the tools (assuming they are working)? Do they need to refresh their understanding of how to use the tools? Do they need to take the training again, or do they need advanced training or coaching on the use of the tools? 
  • People are often the shock absorbers between what we want people to do and what the tools can do.
  • Invite people to be part of the solution: build creative workarounds together.
  • High performers will figure out how best to use what we have for functionality and integration.
  • Input and feedback needs to be acknowledged and followed up on. 
  • Acknowledge creativity.

Reference Materials

Sample Scenario

NOTE: This is a sample scenario that provides an example of how a conversation might go between Tadd, a knowledge worker (a doubter), and Kay, the team manager (an influencer). Coaching skills are denoted in blue.

Each situation will vary, and influencers will have to adjust their approach based on the situation. Listening and good judgment are required; it is important to be really curious.  We’re aiming to identify underlying beliefs so we can offer a different way of looking at things!.  Asking people to explain their concerns by demonstrating how they do their work can provide a lot of insight.

  • Kay: Hello Tadd, how are you doing? Inquiry
  • Tadd: Hi Kay, pretty good.
  • Kay: Is this a good time to talk? Inquiry
  • Tadd: Sure.
  • Kay: I think last time we talked you were going to try and use the knowledge base as you worked on your cases? Reflection
  • Tadd: Yeah…. I did. 
  • Kay: And how was that? Inquiry
  • Tadd: Well…. Not so good.  
  • Kay: Oh? Inquiry
  • Tadd: The tools don’t really support the process we talked about last time. 
  • Kay: Oh… tell me more about that? Inquiry
  • Tadd: Uhmm… well there are a number of things that are awkward.  The workflow they trained us on can’t be done because of the lack of integration between the case management system and the knowledge management system.
  • Kay: I see…. I know the tool is not perfect. Have you talked with your coach about some ways to do it? Reflection, Inquiry
  • Tadd: No… not since the training. 
  • Kay: Ok, well that might be a good idea. Do you have some suggestions on how to make it better?  We are about to submit a requirements list to the IT team. Advocacy, Inquiry
  • Tadd: So … here is an issue I am working on… here is the case. I have to go to a different screen to get to the KB.
  • Kay: Ah…I can see that is awkward. Reflection
  • Tadd: Yeah, it's a pain. 
  • Kay: Hmm… do you have a suggestion on how that would be less of a pain? Inquiry
  • Tadd: Well, obviously I should be able to see both my case and the KB open at the same time. 
  • Kay: I see. I know that we often feel like the shock absorbers between what we want to do and what the tools allow us to do. Reflection
  • Tadd: That's true.  It adds time to my case handle time. 
  • Kay: Ah, well do you see any benefit in using the knowledge base as you solve issues? (checking to see if Tadd is bought into KCS). Inquiry
  • Tadd: Yeah… I guess so.  Getting known issues to self-service…I mean it would be great to get rid of a bunch of the simple issues. 
  • Kay: Yes that would be good. Do any other benefits come to mind? Reflection, Inquiry
  • Tadd: Oh… I would love to be able to give the development team the data on how often we get some of these repetitive issues.
  • Kay: Those are two pretty good benefits. And while it might take a little extra time while we learn how to do it effectively those benefits seem to out way the short-term investment.  Advocacy
  • Tadd: Well…..maybe. 
  • Kay: I can see it is a challenge. But I remember you had some great ideas on how to use the new case management tool when we rolled that out. That was pretty creative. Reflection, Advocacy, Appreciation
  • Tadd: Yeah.
  • Kay: I can see the lack of integration is a problem… but what if we looked at this as an opportunity to come up with some creative ideas? Reflection, Advocacy
  • Tadd: Ah… well… it was a team effort. 
  • Kay: Oh, tell me more about that. Inquiry
  • Tadd: A couple of us on the team were talking at lunch about some ideas and we actually had a couple of meetings about it. 
  • Kay: Maybe we should do that for these tools issues? Advocacy
  • Tadd: Well…..I suppose that could work. 
  • Kay: It’s that old saying… do we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution? The lack of integration is a problem and it's also an opportunity.   Appreciation, Advocacy
  • Tadd: Hmmm…. Ok I will think about that. 
  • Kay: Good…. Have a good weekend.
  • Tadd: Thanks, you too.
  • Was this article helpful?