Change is hard, and navigating change is something most CMOs know a lot about. Whether you’re planning a change to an internal policy, adopting a new martech solution or building a new team, change always brings challenges and bumps in the road. One frequently-cited study found nearly 70 percent of new technology efforts fail. When I hear that kind of data, I think about how CMOs can create better change management strategies.
As New York Times bestselling author Mark Murphy says, “If people know why they need to change, where they’re going, and how they can get there, they’re going to be a lot more likely to buy in and join you on the journey.”
I’ve gathered advice for marketing leaders who are paving the way for sustainable change.
Create a Culture that Supports Change
“The many difficulties involved in fostering adaptation in large organizations make it essential to have a culture with firmly embedded values and beliefs that support innovation and change. Relevant values include flexibility, continuous improvement, initiative, and a quest for excellence. Instead of viewing adaptation as an infrequent reaction to dramatic, one-time events, it is better to view it as a continuous process that involves a combination of many and frequent incremental improvements and occasional major changes.” – Read more at Business 2 Community.
Regularly and Openly Share Challenges
“There are lots of ways for leaders to share the challenges. But regardless of whether you do it town halls, webinars, newsletters, or staff meetings, what’s most important is that you openly share. The more you share the challenges coming down the road, the more you prevent employees from getting complacent and wedded to the status quo.” – Read more at Forbes.
Explain the Emotional Reasons for Change
“People respond better when they know change is for the good of society or themselves. How will it impact them? How is it better for the customer? Will it improve their work environment? Often, a leader of change management will attempt to explain changes to employees with a rational, business-like approach. Do not explain reasons for change as ‘regaining our leadership position in a changing market,’ or by saying, ‘performance is below industry standard and we can get back to the top if we do x,’ because that won’t inspire anyone.” – Read more at Change.
Involve Outside Perspectives
“Using external SMEs for the change management process was correlated with improved market performance. There was a negative correlation to learning and change effectiveness when people failed to look outside their organization during the change process. Instead of including the same old leaders during the change process, take a holistic look at the players inside and outside your organization and consider the benefits each person or department would bring by being involved in the change process.” – Read more at Association for Talent Development.
Plan Beyond the Kick-Off
“We’ve all been there. Someone has a great idea, everyone else jumps on board, and in short order, the initiative becomes more about the launch than the organizational change itself. Remember that the launch day is just that – a day. It’s fine to plan a celebration, but make sure you follow it up with clear and sensible execution.” – Read more at DZone.