You can’t force people to work together—even when they should be

I don’t know if I’d say I’ve come late to the Evernote party, but it’s certainly only been in the past 6 months that I’ve really gotten into using Evernote for everything that has to do with storing and retrieving information. Every info gathering/reading/absorbing/groking app I use needs to have a way to get information into Evernote—or I won’t use it. Period.

When I started at SoMedia, folks were impressed with the amount of information I had at my fingertips. Seeing that I could pull up relevant content whenever I needed, the next logical step was then to create a shared notebook that people could access to keep up with what I found. I even gave invitees the ability to add their own notes so the notebook could be a real collaborative effort. The real question would be if people would take advantage of the shared notebook…

A month or two down the line, when folks asked about a whitepaper I had mentioned and if I could email them the the link, I’d say "It’s in Evernote…" I’d get a blank stare then "Yeah I should use Evernote more…". I sensed that this team wasn’t really grasping the concept of sharing information or collaborating on information sources.

I was reminded of this whole experience reading about how Mailchimp uses Evernote Business. If you watch the video:

…there is a key part where you realize that everyone at Mailchimp not only gets Evernote, but it’s expected to use Evernote. Like having a well maintained wiki, it sounds like that if you ask a question and you haven’t searched through Evernote first…then the response is to start there, then ask.

This was the part that I couldn’t achieve on my own. There was no "we’re gathering information in this tool, this will become our business critical source of knowledge and information" edict that greased the wheels. On the other hand, when a couple of us took matters into our own hands and started using Basecamp…that was embraced and is a key part of keeping ducks in a row.

Here’s the bottom line.

You can’t force a change of habit unless people see a reason they need to change.

No one had the "ah ha!" moment with Evernote (besides me) that led to the "we’re using this, because it will help us" that we had with Basecamp.

At least not yet.

My belief is that for an organization to truly grow and do amazing things, everyone in the company must seek out new information constantly and share that information with the rest of the company. I’ve been asked how I find things. Where do I get my news and information. That was a really hard question to answer because I get my information and news from everywhere. I cast a wide net, skim lots, save lots, and search back when I need to. The "where" becomes irrelevant, it’s the how I find it later that matter.

How I find it later is Evernote.

Now I just have to find more folks who see things the way I do.


  1. says

    I use evernote a lot. I user it as a hypertext system to build an operations manual for my office, which includes everything that my team (including me) might have to know or learn: who to call for tech support, how to trick our laser printer to keep printing until the toner is really gone, the network drive mappings we use and settings for our CRM we must know for each upgrade. A list of the ActiveWords (If you use Windows, this is a huge productivity boost). I find it more convenient than a wiki.

    Evernote makes me think it is is a little disappointing that the web is built out of HTML. Evernote is way more welcoming than Wikis, and getting a team to work together is probably easier with Evernote.

    The challenge I have with Evernote is that is fine for my operations manual, but otherwise I clip stuff like mad and mostly not been processed further, for several years. Sometimes I think to put a note in other than the “inbox” notebook but not usually.

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