What if railroad companies thought of themselves as transportation companies instead of just people who built tracks? What if the music industry embraced file sharing? What if the newspaper industry embraced new media from the onset?
Is Exxon Mobil an oil company or an energy company?
Change is inconvenient. Not only in our own lives, but in business (and marketing) as well.
We would rather watch others take the plunge off the high dive, while we dip out toes in the baby pool. Great strategy if you want to become irrelevant. Sure you might not drown, but by the time you learn how to swim it will be too late anyway.
THE CHANGE MINDSET
“The very anatomy of change is determined not by ones surroundings, but one’s inherent mindset. While sometimes our brain finds it hard to mentally morph and glide with change, it is inevitably happening around us, even if we’re not conscious of it. I believe that change, is for us to use to move forward.” – Grace Boyle
Changing requires first thinking about typical constructs in an atypical way.
During your brainstorming meetings, how often do you find yourself thumbing through case studies and citing companies that have done ‘this and that’ successfully using a certain set of tools? You can use Twitter the way Zappos did, or you can create a Facebook page like Ernst and Young’s but you better be prepared to do it better. Otherwise you’re just copying.
Start mixing and matching. Think about ways to use the tools in unconventional ways? I bet your company doesn’t have the rocks to make cologne that smells like a burger.
WANTING TO CHANGE ISN’T ENOUGH
“Behavior depends on two things: intention and ability… our intention to change is the biggest predictor of change.” – Eva Rykr
Anita Lobo explains that there are 5 precursors to change and that recognizing these meta patterns helps deal with the onset of change. They’re intuitive and they could certainly trigger intention.
The trick then becomes determining whether your (or your companies) desire to change is founded on mechanics that make sense, that are worthwhile, positive and certainly sustainable.
As Carlos explains, overcoming human pride and resisting the urge to push change in favor of making it fit into people’s minds, lives, opinions, et al. is where change stops becoming a task and starts becoming a choice. One people want to take.
“You know, I was thinking, we should have a better digital presence so that our clients can really see that we’re capable of activating ourselves in this space.”
That’s great, but what has it accomplished?
“I’m confident that taking a more proactive approach in the digital space will not only prove to our clients that we’re thought leaders in this niche, but illustrate our value and USP, which will invariably generate strong leads that we won’t have to hard sell. Here , let me show you the strategy I’ve been working on. Maybe you can help me refine it, determine key points of emphasis for execution.”
Now, at least they’re listening.
CHANGE STARTS SMALL
“One person can not and will not ever do everything, but one person can do something, one person can do a lot, one person can set a spark that stares a wildfire of change throughout their community.” – Matt Cheuvront
You don’t run 20 miles on your first day training for a marathon.
Once you’ve established the change mindset, and established a strategic approach to changing for the right reasons then you start, gradually.
All it takes is one person to provide the circumstance to let it happen, one person to lead by example. One voice. One ear to listen. One act to change.
You won’t dismantle your current corporate infrastructure overnight. You won’t transform your company to a ROWE with a well written manifesto. But you MIGHT get to help lead a small team to champion customer service and social influence marketing with your brand’s evangelists. You MIGHT get to work from home on Fridays.
Sam Davidson and Stephen Moseley’s New Day Revolution shows you how small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference.
CHANGE = UNCERTAINTY = FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Help your organization stay ahead of the curve, to continue innovating by venturing out and enduring this painstaking process. When you emerge out the other side of the tunnel with something to show for it, grab the flashlight and go back can grab your co-workers. Start with the one who has trudged ahead; guide them through remaining rough patches. Then there are two of you to go back and get others.
The more people willing to endure the initial fear, the more likely your company will still be relevant 5, 10, 15 years from now.
But someone has to lead. Are you ready? Is that you?
Ryan Stephens is the mastermind behind Ryan Stephens Marketing, a strategic consulting and professional development entity that specializes in relationship marketing for the business owner. Ryan’s focus is on providing results to his clients through the building of intimate business relationships. His blog offers insight and wisdom into the world of social media and Web 2.0 marketing, and Ryan is at the top of his game when it comes to connecting with his audience. Ryan runs a bi-monthly survey of the best Gen-Y blogs voted on by the readers, of which Life Without Pants was voted #1 for the month of June (an outstanding an unexpected honor). Swing by his blog and give him a shout on Twitter today – you’ll be glad you did!