The University of Toyota faced an interesting dilemma. For years, its e-Showroom Web site was a state-of-the-art portal for educating and training Toyota salespeople and managers at various dealership locations. Since its creation, e-Showroom provided users with learning content on the benefits, features and latest innovations for all Toyota vehicles. This learning Web site traditionally played a central role in driving vehicle sales.
The leadership of the university, however, understood that for e-Showroom to maintain its coveted position, new functionality needed to be added. After assessing the changing demographics of dealership employees and researching the benefits of Web 2.0 technology, the vice president believed that one piece of functionality it needed was podcasting. There were problems: Some members of the leadership team were cool to the idea of podcasting, and others did not know enough about the technology to make a decision.
To assist his team through the process of what he saw as a necessary change, the vice president sponsored a workshop for all designers and managers of the e-Showroom Web site. The goal was to brainstorm ways the Web site could be enhanced, discuss new tools and features that could be added and share ideas on how to increase Web site usage and provide content that would keep users more engaged. This daylong workshop was a case study in the change management required to implement podcasting.
To ensure he was not perceived as forcing the concept of podcasting on his leadership team and to allow himself to remain open-minded and engaged, the vice president secured a management consulting firm to facilitate the session. Haig Barrett Inc., in collaboration with the leadership team, set an agenda that included team exercises and presentations from Web 2.0 and podcasting experts.
The day began with group exercises and the sharing of industry trends and demographic information. Many attendees were unaware of some of the information that was presented. Learning about these factors helped create awareness that new functionality, specifically podcasting, needed to be added to the e-Showroom.
After the presentation of data, there was a sharing of “pain points” from each manager. This created a desire amongst the participants to support and participate in this change.
The demonstrations and presentations by the various experts provided attendees with knowledge of how to change. There was even a hands-on demonstration that enforced the feeling that participants had the skills and ability to create podcasts.
By the end of the day, none of the attendees were “cool” to the concept of implementing podcasts. The entire leadership team was on board with the change.
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