In preparation for many festive season catch-ups, Terri Helus answers the million dollar question.
The season is upon us—rounds of holiday parties and festive gatherings. Time to reconnect and exchange updates with friends you haven’t seen since last year’s soiree. After the hugs and how-have-you-beens comes the inevitable question familiar to freelancers and contract consultants.
“So, Terri, what are you doing now?”
Bracing myself I say, “I’m a deployment consultant with WNDYR.” Accustomed to puzzled looks, I explain. “I teach people how to use project management and collaboration software and successfully roll it out to their team.” The light clicks on. “Oh, so you’re a trainer.”
(Actually, I consult with clients on the successful integration and implementation of the cloud-based software they just purchased, directly supporting the SaaS partner company’s onboarding process, driving up user retention rates and decreasing product churn.)
“Yes,” I say smiling, “I am a trainer.” Neatly labeled and categorized, I used to leave it at that.
The Bigger Picture: Changing the World of Work
Lately, I’ve given a lot of thought to the role my efforts play in furthering my company’s mission. Dreaming small is definitely not the modus operandi. Deceptively simple as it may sound, our mission to transform the world of work is ambitious in purpose and scope. Clearly, we love a challenge.
Recent conversation with our CEO, Claire Haidar, reminded me that the ripple effect of the work I do with clients carries beyond deployments. The work methodology and non-traditional concepts I propose—eliminate email, work is a playground—makes waves and challenges the status quo. This is good. Waves of change are building to a tsunami. We call it a #workrevolution.
Working with Clients to Change Their Perspective
Every interaction around work is an opportunity to be an ambassador of this revolution—to sow the seeds of my own little grass roots movement. So, I push forward and explain, yes, I help my clients implement new software. But it involves so much more than teaching them the mechanics of the tool. Proficiency is meaningless without the confidence in the platform. I am coach, counselor and cheerleader—sometimes in the same training session.
Despite investing in a SaaS tool to change the way they work, clients can be remarkably hesitant when it comes to making actual changes. I’ve learned to ask questions to drill down to the root cause of the doubts and drive the conversation back to their pain points until they realize the best solution invites change. Then I help them devise a smart strategy to implement that change.
The Complexities of Managing Change
I deal with deployment team leaders who are feeling intense pressure to deliver results with the new software—yesterday. No pressure. I align my delivery with their unique use case and specific requirements. That means listening. To the stated goals as well as the unspoken fears. And partnering with them to craft a solution that will both benefit the team and satisfy management. It can be quite the balancing act.
My favorite clients are the ones who don’t know exactly what they need or want, but they know they need to make changes and they’re gloriously open-minded to recommendations. Even if it’s new. Even if it’s scary. Even if they know they’ll get push back. I support and guide them every step of the way, helping them build a smart, scalable account structure. I ensure they’ve mastered the functionalities and features to maximize their use of the tool. I give them collateral resources to succeed in the most critical aspect of the deployment—managing change.
Bottom line, that is what I do. I equip my clients with the tools to adapt and succeed a world of work which is rapidly changing.
Every deployment is actually a journey—from “the way we’ve always done it” to the future of work. Every time I guide clients in preparing for that future, the ripples of change move outward in an ever-widening circle.
Yes, I am a trainer. I work at the intersection of people and technology, and I’m proud to be part of the #workrevolution.