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Mark Twain’s User Adoption Lessons – Part Five

This is the final in a five part series, originally published on Tri Tuns blog, Insights.

Start at the beginning here.


Mark Twain, a man who died decades before modern information systems were even conceived, may hold some of the greatest lessons for how to deliver successful technology adoption programs.

So in this last installment, I’m just going to give you a few things to think about now that we’ve reached the end of our week of Mark Twain.


Mark Twain offered great insight into the human psyche. His plain-spoken words have the power to enlighten us far beyond those of the most gifted linguist. So, what have you learned from Mark Twain that will help you on your user adoption programs?

  • What assumptions do you make about the drivers and barriers to user adoption? What don’t you know? What do you “know for sure that just ain’t so”? How do you recognize the difference? How does this hurt you?
  • What makes the people on your team (internal employees or external consultants) qualified to deliver effective user adoption? Mark Twain said, “If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.” Have your team members held the cat by the tail?
  • Are your communications effective? Do you listen more than you speak? If not, do you ever, “succeed in making those idiots understand their own language”?
Here are a few things you can do to help you on the road to IT success through user adoption:
  1. Take our free User Adoption Challenge to see what specific user adoption issues you face on your IT project.

  2. Read our free eBook on avoiding implementation failure (specifically CRM), and steps to achieve success.

  3. Check out MyUserAdoptionPlan.com – an all-in-one User Adoption Portal.
  4. Contact us to learn more.

<< Part Four – Motivation
<< Part Three – Communication
<< Part Two – Assumptions, Skills, Education & Experience
<< Part One – Introduction and User Adoption Strategy

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Deb Green

Elizabeth, I couldn’t help LOL at the “holding a cat by the tail” image. As the “mom” of two cats, both feisty creatures, I can’t imagine holding on to them by the tail and coming out unscathed. And it’s an accurate picture of what happens when a roll out of a project happens. Plan for after the launch of the project. There’s too many examples of failure when you only plan for the IT portion and not the programmatic function beyond the platform. Change. Adoption. Integration.

I think it’s akin to marriage or parenthood. Do you plan for just the wedding? For just the birth of your child? Not if you want to last 🙂 Your start up is a long haul commitment and each phase brings new challenges. How will you ada(o)pt and overcome?