At MDP Construction, in Colorado Springs, Colo., secretary-treasurer Rick Lewandowski had his work cut out for him. The $12 million company was automating project tracking, but MDP's supervisors were all former painters and carpenters who, by and large, were not computer literate. For some of them, the transition was pretty rocky. Certain employees couldn't get the hang of updating the project management software when tasks were finished or revised, which naturally wreaked havoc. The time lines bore little or no resemblance to the job at hand. Most of the supervisors did eventually adjust, "but they had to take the initiative and spend a lot of their own time learning the process," says Lewandowski.
To help familiarize his staff with computers, he gave the supervisors IBM-compatible desktop PCs for home use. He also provided them with game programs and wrote spreadsheets in Lotus 1-2-3 to help them manage their personal finances. "And I spent a lot of time on the phone, coaching them," he says.