3 Dirty Secrets to Consider During an Advancement CRM Implementation

Implementing an Advancement Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) platform is an intense amount of work in a set time. The change aspect in itself is a huge undertaking—not to mention the task of changing how you do things and your daily job duties. There are learning curves with software technology, and often, the work falls onto those within that learning curve.


The damage to your team that goes overlooked during implementation can have long-lasting effects. As an organizational leader, you need to be conscious of the cost—not only from a monetary standpoint but the long-term cost of damaging the actual people who worked on the CRM implementation project.


Here are key indicators that you’re not handling the stress well and the three dirty secrets to avoid.

Dirty Secret #1—Overworking a few people because they can get things done.


Every organization is guilty of it—even those that aren’t implementing a CRM application. Leaning on those that are organized, motivated, and highly skilled seems inevitable. But, for the go-to person, it can feel frustrating and even lead to burnout, diminished employee engagement, and turnover intention [1].


Try this approach: recruit your “B” team often.


Carefully consider your team’s availability (especially those who are more skilled) and the person’s knowledge to do the tasks. You might have to modify task estimates or time allotted based on the resources.


Consider that not every task can be assigned to your “A” team, but it can be completed (and done well) by your “B” team—even if they may need a little support in terms of learning along the way. Focus on task-level planning, develop a clear objective, and create a realistic timeline.


Regardless of who is assigned the task at hand, be mindful and continue to monitor progress—making changes when someone is overworked.


Dirty Secret #2—Creating an environment with no room for mistakes.


Perfection, by definition, is “being free from all flaws or defects.” It’s highly likely your CRM implementation will have some flaws or defects—at least in the beginning.


Try this approach: encourage a culture of innovation.


Leaders need to know what it means to have an innovative mindset[2]—generating creative or novel solutions to problems that result in improved performance. You can’t force innovation, and you must embrace the fact that innovation is situational.

You are embarking upon something new—this always requires an innovative mindset. Encourage your staff to be creative. Get into the mindset that you can’t be creative without making mistakes. Instead, build a buffer into the project for errors and allow for flexibility.


This means, as a leader, you must challenge your team members to think from multiple perspectives, avoid relying strictly on facts and data, and allow room for ideas that arise from intuition. Remember, if it must go perfectly, it’s already a failed project.


Dirty Secret #3—Allowing disrespect during a project.


It should go without question, but you cannot allow incidences (no matter how small) of disrupting or disrespecting others during a project.


Try this approach: look to your project leads to model good behavior.


Professionalism and respect for your colleagues should be a guiding principle—microaggressions and disrespect should never be tolerated. Emphasize that all opinions should be heard and appreciated.


Your project leads are in the perfect position to eliminate disrespect. Their job is tough on making decisions, but with that role comes the responsibility of respecting your colleagues and stakeholders. If they lead with respect, it’s likely your team will follow suit.


[1] https://www.atlantis-press.com/proceedings/icamer-19/125936189

[2] https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/how-do-you-respond-to-a-new-idea/