Transplant Trauma

Two years ago I bought a hydrangea at a nursery. It had bountiful pink, blue and purple blossoms that I couldn’t wait to see from my window every morning. I took it home and planted it in the front yard under a shady tree. After a season in that location where it received only hot afternoon sun, though, it failed to thrive.

My bad. Apparently hydrangeas prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Who knew? Well, I would have known if I’d read up on it before planting, but I didn’t. Better late than never. I transplanted the shrub to my backyard in the fall, hoping it would make it through the winter.

Early results weren’t promising. All the new growth died off, and for a while I thought it had totally died. But after some diligent spring watering and the addition of some compost and mulch, the green leaves grew back strong and vibrant. The suitable location and some care and attention to the nutritional needs of the plant were what it needed.

The hydrangea also just needed time. Going from a pot to the ground in bad territory is moderately traumatic to any plant. The roots take time to reestablish themselves and adjust to the new soil and water supply. The leaves need to orient themselves to the new sunlight patterns. A second transplantation right before a season of dormancy was a shock to its system.

What’s the lesson here? And why am I talking about this shrub, anyway? Isn’t this supposed to be a nonprofit technology blog?

Yes! This is a real life thing that happened, but it’s also an allegory. The shrub is a new CRM. The planting location is your people and their readiness to adopt new technology. And the preparation of the new site in the yard is the change management, training and commitment to adoption that your organization makes to the transition.

The lesson is: the way you prepare your people for changing to a new CRM is equally as important as what CRM you’re implementing. The journey is as important as the destination.

Whenever you buy a new CRM, you’ve probably just seen a beautiful, fully fleshed out demo from the software company. A nursery sells beautiful, flourishing plants they’ve tended to every day. Nobody shows you their failures–the abandoned projects, the partially implemented systems, the withered leaves and dead branches.

When you roll out a new CRM, you must make sure your people are ready to learn and have the support they need to adopt it. Just like you need to choose the right site for planting a hydrangea.

And it’s important to know this too: even if you make the conditions ideal from the get-go, the plant–and your people–will take some time to adjust to the new environment. In addition to support, encouragement, compost, sun and water, plants and people need time. Consistency in care builds healthy root structures and healthy CRM usage practices.

It’s a lot to figure out when you’re also trying to do the other tasks that come along with technology migrations. Do you need a hand?

Raise HECK can help you choose the right CRM and prepare your staff for adoption. We can perform a Technology Assessment if you’d like to know what CRM is right for you, and develop a Change Management Action Plan if you want help with an implementation, training and adoption plan. Let’s make a thousand flowers bloom.

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