Using the tools you have, not the ones you want.

I was having a discussion with a colleague this week who was having trouble with a new database they have been using for their job. A substantial amount of money had been spent on a sourcing platform which was marketed to us on the basis that it would make the process of finding associates for our clients quicker and more efficient without sacrificing quality control for the process overall. Although many of the functions of the new database worked as well as expected, many notable elements of the programme, such as the messaging function and the interface, were not an immediate “fit” with the way we had previously gone about sourcing associates online.

It may be tempting in a situation such as this to go back to square one, write off your new purchase as a bad investment and return to the less developed methods you had being using to do business before. However, it would be wiser to avoid going down that route.

When it comes to performing a task or project, we all have our own methodology and procedures, some of which we have developed and consolidated over years in the business. Even when circumstances change around us, be it new technology, new opportunities, or radical changes in the marketplace, we often prefer to cling religiously to our own working habits. When innovative tools and products that could make our jobs easier do become available, we welcome them, but we tend to only take to them if they can be easily tailored to the existing processes through which we work.

But would it not make more sense to reshape our work to the tools we have available to do it?

Always expecting the systems we use for business to suit us perfectly can always be expected to fail. If we force any product or database, be it a messaging platform, a LinkedIn product or a CRM, to suit our business needs without adapting to them ourselves then we will only end up getting frustrated when these tools don’t comply with our preconceived notions of what “works”. This will only make us less efficient and productive at work. Being adaptable is a necessary trait in any line of work, if we encounter a situation where established business processes don’t fit with the available infrastructure, it’s up to us work within the parameters that we can given the tools available.

We all like work to be routine, safe and familiar, but if we allow ourselves to be more open-minded with new ideas and products, we may find that a little flexibility is no bad thing.

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