To be candid, when we first invested in Karbon, being a virtual, cloud-based business, we thought we’d easily adopt this new tool. But, that wasn’t exactly the case.
We figured everyone at our virtual CFO business, AMLB CPAs and Consulting, (management included) would just adapt, go through the onboarding videos, and start using Karbon because our management team said it was an organizational priority to do so.
Reviewing our implementation progress a couple of months later, we realized that our team of five was all over the place. Some were using Karbon all the time for emails, work items and to-dos. Others were only opening Karbon to see if tasks were assigned to them, continually toggling back and forth between Outlook and Karbon for emails, which meant under-utilizing Karbon’s capabilities to communicate and manage work effectively.
When we probed further as to root causes, responses from team members included:
“There’s no way we can completely get away from Outlook—so much of my day is spent there getting work done!”
“I use flags and folders in Outlook to prioritize and categorize my emails, so what’s the point of Triage in Karbon? Are we sure this change is really needed?”
But we believed in the benefits Karbon could bring to our business.
Here’s what we did to go from haphazard adoption to organization-wide implementation within five days. This approach has worked so well for us with Karbon that we will now be applying it to any new core application that we introduce to our business.
1. We had an open discussion with the team on what needed to be true for Karbon to really become a game-changer for us. Coming out of this discussion were several concrete actions that we all agreed were necessary.
2. The business leaders communicated that the team was going on this ‘adoption journey’ together and they were committed to it personally. One of the founders committed to taking the Karbon certification course, which really set the tone from the top.
3. All team members were given appropriate time and were recognized for completing the standard training within two days.
4. We identified a Karbon champion who scheduled and led daily 30 minute ‘Karbon pow wow sessions’ with the entire team. At these sessions, each team member shared how their Karbon training and adoption was going: successes, challenges, tips and tricks. There were moments of joy and frustration, but it became evident we were all on this journey together to improve our collective work experiences.
“Implementing Karbon really helped us figure out our highest to lowest priority projects.”
5. A time-waster that we all admitted to was using Outlook for quick email replies when opening it to review our calendars. Outlook opens the inbox as its default view, and when people see unread emails, they just want to respond. A tip shared by a team member made a huge difference for all of us: change your default view in Outlook to open to calendar rather than inbox. This seemingly simple change eliminated unnecessary distractions and the stress of seeing unread emails every time you want to review your calendar.
Did the above work? Well, here are some quotes from our daily Karbon pow wows to showcase the difference from day one to day five:
"This is ridiculous, how do they expect us not to use Outlook email at all? Outlook is so easy to use compared to Triage!"
"This to-do list is overwhelming and I feel like my day is just checking tasks off!"
“Wow, the tagging and commenting has reduced internal team emails by 90%! My email inbox is actually manageable now."
"Sending client tasks and auto-chasing them is a game changer!"
An ah-ha moment for me came on day five when I was listening to the team speak so positively about their Karbon experience. These are the same people (including me!) who were complaining just a couple of months earlier.
“Change management is really hard. From my experience, once people are satisfied with the tools they use, they are quite reluctant to change—even if the change allows them to be more productive. At AMLB, we arranged daily meetings where we taught each other tricks we learned, held team members accountable, and shared best practices. Within five days of adoption, using Karbon became second nature.”
Upon reflection, managing such change effectively is a competitive advantage in a slightly surprising way: it also creates a culture that attracts and retains top talent. People want to work with businesses that not only invest in leading-edge capabilities, but also know how to adopt these to enable each individual to reach their full potential.
Moez Bawania, CPA & CA
Co-Founder, AMLB CPAs and Consulting
AMLB CPAs and Consulting provides virtual CFO services to growing small businesses and non-profits across Canada. They are passionate about people and purpose, and take the time to deeply understand their clients’ aspirations and pain points, so they can dig in to address these head-on.
Moez is a Chartered Accountant in Canada, is a Karbon Certified Expert, Xero Certified Advisor, QuickBooks ProAdvisor and has completed further certifications in analytics, cybersecurity, and people leadership.