The Wheel of Confidence: How to get staff to try new tech

The Wheel of Confidence encourages people to take that first step towards trying new tech tools. Learn how to use this non-threatening 5 step process.
Mar 04
Title: The Ring of Confidence: How to encourage staff to try new tech

Confidence isn't always predictable.

Some days I will eagerly try new tech tools without second guessing myself. And other days I’d rather put my head in the sand and keep doing what I've always done. Because some days it just feels too difficult for me to try something new.

Take passwords as an example. I know that I should use super-secure passwords. I know that I should use a different password for each account I create.

But I don’t.

I like what I currently do. It works. I write my passwords down in a notebook (blasphemy!) and keep them near my desktop at home.

Apparently the average person uses 27 usernames and passwords online. For me to create and use 27 unique and super-secure passwords will take considerable effort and memory. And I can't be bothered.

So I am reluctant to try any tech tools that could improve my password security, like a password manager might.

From reluctance to confidence

Imagine there is a line with reluctance or hesitance at one end and confidence at the other.

You know your level of confidence differs to others in your team, and that you learn in different ways. Some people pick up new tech tools with ease and others find it more challenging. We're not all the same.

So it makes sense that people will be at different points along the Reluctance-Confidence line in their use of tech tools. And encouraging people to move along the line from reluctance towards confidence isn't easy especially when we try to do it through a 'one-size-fits-all' training session.

So how do you encourage someone like me who is reluctant to try a new tech tool, like a password manager? 

Imagine there is a line with reluctance at one end and confidence at the other. People will be at different points along the Reluctance-Confidence line in their use of tech tools. We're not all the same. #TheLibraryBoss

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The Wheel of Confidence

One way you can encourage people to use new tech is by using the Wheel of Confidence.

The 5 steps in The Wheel of Confidence

The Wheel of Confidence is a 5-step process that can be used instead of a catch-all training session. It's a personal, individual approach that encourages people to take that first step towards trying a new tech tool.

Let me take you through each of the 5 steps using my reluctance to use a password manager as an example.

The Wheel of Confidence encourages people to take that first step towards trying a new tech tool. #TheLibraryBoss

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1. Set a super-small goal

A super-small goal is something I believe I can do. And something that will only take a small amount of time and effort to achieve.

Diving head-first into using a password manager is too big. I don't want to do it because I have too many objections - 'I like doing it this way', 'Why should I use this?' and 'I can do what I need to do just fine without using a password manager'.

A better place to start would be with my objections. The most obvious objection to try to overcome is 'Why should I use this?' This is a 'What's in it for me?' question. And it's the question that drives almost every decision we make. So this is one question that definitely needs to be answered to encourage anyone to use a new tech tool.

It must feel achievable

Remember a super-small goal must be something I believe I can do with as little effort as possible. It must feel achievable. Not to you. But to me. A super-small goal is easier to set when you know the person well (like a team member) or you have an opportunity to get to know them during a conversation.

So let me give you some background information, with a confession of sorts.

Prior to writ​​​​​ing this post, I didn't actually know what a password manager was. I had heard of them. But I didn't want to ask anyone about them because I felt stupid.​

At work, I was warned not to choose simple passwords that can easily be guessed. I was warned not to keep your passwords under your keyboard or in your drawer. I felt stupid because I was writing them in a notebook And I would feel even more stupid if I found out I was the only one not using one.

I was torn. Torn between feeling stupid and the ease of writing my passwords in a notebook.

So the first step for me is to find a way for me to not feel so stupid. And to do that the super-small goal I have set myself is to find out what a password manager is and how it could benefit me.

Other people may feel differently about a tech tool, so I suggest you find out what their objections are and use them to set a super-small goal.

2. Brainstorm how you will accomplish your super-small goal

If the first step on the Wheel of Confidence is deciding what to do, the second step is deciding how to do it.

The aim here is to find a way that energises and excites you. Using your digital super-power can help you do this.

For example, my digital super-power is curiosity and rather than skim across many shiny new things, I like to go deeper. I recently read about the Feynman technique as a method for getting to grips with a topic. So for this second step in the Wheel of Confidence, I want to accomplish my super-small goal by using the Feynman technique to explain what a password manager is to someone else, and answer any questions they may have.

I know it sounds a bit geeky weird. But hey, if it helps me feel less stupid about password managers, then it doesn't really matter how weird it is.

3. Get ready. Make sure you have everything you need

One of the biggest reasons why we don't try new tech, is because we think it is too hard or will take foreveeeeeer. The third step in the Wheel of Confidence overcomes this. This step encourages you to think about what you need in order to achieve your super-small goal, and to have everything ready before you make a start.

This is where you prepare by doing some preliminary research, making sure you have all the software and equipment you need, and scheduling time to prepare and practice.

I decided I would learn about password managers by searching the internet and watching youtube videos. I would prepare a simple information sheet to help explain what I have learned to others. And I don't want to spend more than two hours doing this. If it takes any more than two hours for me, it won't feel unachievable.

4. Do it. Take action and make it happen

Now that you have everything ready, schedule all the time you need to achieve your goal. Give yourself a positive pep talk (one phrase I use frequently is ‘this will not defeat me’). And then do it.

This is the information sheet I created using the Feynman technique. I used it to explain password managers to someone who knew nothing about them, and then refined it to include the answers to their questions. 

5. Celebrate!

We often forget the final step in our rush to move onto the next thing on our to-do list. We shouldn't. Because moving one step, even a tiny step closer towards being confident in trying a new tech tool is a HUGE achievement.

So celebrate it! And feel proud of your success.

I'm proud of how much I learned about password managers in two hours. I'm proud that I created an information sheet so I can remind myself of what I learned. And I also feel a little less stupid 🙂

I haven't tried a password manager yet. But I can confidently say I know how a password manager works and how it might benefit me.

I'm working through the Wheel of Confidence again to reduce my vulnerability online. My next super-small goal is to review 5 popular password managers using criteria that are important to me.


Two hours might seem like a long time, just to understand what a password manager is. Afterall this can easily be explained (in a training session, conversation or information sheet) in less than 10 minutes. But a 10 minute explanation wouldn't have been effective because I wouldn't have listened - 'I can do what I need to do just fine without using a password manager'. 

A training session also isn't always effective because a password manager is only one solution. There are many other ways to protect passwords and a training session probably wouldn't cover them.

The Wheel of Confidence helps overcome my objections and explore possible solutions that are relevant to me. It encourages someone to take that first step toward trying a new tech tool.

Using the Wheel of Confidence does take more effort because you're doing something you don't usually do. But the results are much much more effective.

What do you think about the Wheel of Confidence? Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments section below for me.

Spark Notes