Imagine yourself working in an organization with processes and goals set in stone. How would this make you feel as an employee or a business leader? While you would enjoy the stability, you’d soon start to notice that it prevents you from keeping up with what’s most relevant for your industry today. That’s where Change Management comes in.
It is mainly the approach with which you ideate change, fit it for your organization, apply, control, and track it. The process includes guiding the people affected by the change on how to adapt to it. What does this have to do with Digital Teams? Marketing teams or in fact in most other arms of the business, teams were originally built to serve an offline world. To build a team that’s truly equipped for digital transformation, you need change management principles and practice.
WHAT IS CHANGE MANAGEMENT?
A change management process involves adapting to, controlling, and implementing changes within an organization. Change management initiatives have two benefits:
- They prepare employees to embrace and champion the ‘Change’ instead of resisting it.
- They focus on effective and long-lasting strategies that prevent waves of instability.
Thus, it is important to put the human factor at the center of any proposed change management process. To implement change effectively, all stakeholders need to follow the agreed-upon process. As a result, you will be able to smoothly transition to your desired future state.
WHY IS CHANGE MANAGEMENT NECESSARY IN DIGITAL?
Digital technology has transformed the way we do business. Furthermore, it is constantly evolving. Digitization needs to start somewhere. But, you need to find ways to keep up with changes so that you are not continuing to work in inefficient, outmoded ways.
What is the cost of staying stagnant?
- Slow adoption of new working methods results in you relying on a limited talent pool.
- An organization that exhibits covert resistance to change processes will incur costs that completely outweigh the anticipated benefits of change management.
- Your industry can out-evolve you. This means your suppliers, buyers, and end consumers may start using new systems and technology. As a consequence, you will be forced either to evolve or lose out to competitors who are more agile when dealing with change.
HOW TO BUILD A DIGITAL TEAM USING CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Typically you need two types of change management in your process.
- Transformational Change Management: This is where you completely stop and rethink processes and systems. You transform them so that they are entirely new but still in sync with the needs of your business.
- Developmental Change Management: This is where you don’t need to start over, but refine what’s already there.
To digitize fully, organizations first need some form of transitional change management. You can then follow this up with an ongoing developmental approach. Regardless of how you mandate change, you will need to have a plan for implementing, monitoring, and reporting its success. This can all be part of the ongoing processes within your teams.
Like any major organizational shift, change management also begins with people. Large-scale change management typically utilizes some key positions that drive the transformation:
To set goals and the desired future state. To then sponsor the change by lending their influence and resources to the cause.
To transform the vision into action, drive decision-making without endless layers of bureaucracy. For instance, project managers, marketers, and industry specialists usually make up the planners.
To sense check the efficacy of the plan from the perspective of not only their teammates but also your customers, and prospects.
To integrate systems and plans, you need holistic and technically sound thinkers who can see links, and connections and identify any gaps.
Security & Risk Advisors:
To ensure policies and procedures are in place to mitigate potential risks, you need well-informed advisors.
To garner the support of and ensure the comfort of all stakeholders, especially employees you need somebody focused on the human-centricity of your processes.
LET’S FOCUS ON DIGITAL MARKETING…
In today’s digital age, marketing strategies require a wide range of skills. When building your team you may face a dilemma. Who fits better? A digital marketing generalist with a broad understanding of the ecosystem or a specialist who can help you dive into SEO strategy and technical implementation? Remember that digital marketing has traditionally been based on advertising. This involved budget allocations, direct deals, creative thinking, and partnerships with agencies. However, as technology advances, digital marketing has become progressively more technical. This means a generalist cannot now also be a specialist.
Marketing is one of the departments within your organization that should have a digital-first approach. Thus, you may miss out on several opportunities if your team approaches digital as an afterthought to offline strategy. Remember that your consumer now turns to digital channels to engage with you in every step of the customer journey.
BUILDING YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING TEAM USING CHANGE MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
To successfully build a digitized team through change management, these are the steps you need to take:
- Start with tasks and processes. Evaluate each team member’s task list to see what proportion of non-digital marketing tasks still serve your customers and drive ROI.
- Secondly, you will also need to analyze where there are fragmented tasks and processes that don’t sit within one role.
- The third layer of analysis should tell you how digitally savvy the team currently is. For this, you need to understand where there are gaps in skills and knowledge.
- Prioritize tasks in the following ways: focus on Return on investment (ROI) drivers, deprioritize busy work that produces low impact, and identify any new tasks that do not have a clear owner.
- Create a clear timeline that helps your team understand when they should switch to their new work mode.
- Focus on upskilling your team where there are gaps. For example, through training, workshops or educational literature.
- Assign tasks and processes to the right roles. This means that you may transform your team dramatically. See the next step to understand how.
- Reorganize the team structure to suit individual skills, interests, and sets of tasks. Roles and responsibilities may change. Plus, new roles and requirements may emerge. You may also need to find a clear owner for topics that are currently without one.
- Update systems and resources so that your team has what they need to perform.
- Your transformation cannot be untethered. You should drive your change management with a desired future state in mind. This means that you can evaluate how well your processes help you serve that goal.
- Create a framework to review the benefits of the new systems you have implemented.
- Leave room for identifying any moves that have taken you away from your goals or proven to have negative effects.
- These types of reviews are beneficial when they are a regular feature in your workstream.
SHOULD YOU SEEK SUPPORT TO DRIVE CHANGE MANAGEMENT?
A change has to also have an innate goal of improvement. It can’t be changed for the sake of change. So, for this start by evaluating the status quo and identifying areas where change should be prioritized. Then, shift focus on whether you have the resources to apply the change: team structure, open culture, plan…etc. Managing change encompasses a deep understanding of how this change will affect processes. If your team is open to evolving, then you need to see if you have enough visionaries, planners, advisors, drivers, and other key positions to effectively drive change. If the answer is yes, then you can manage change within the organization.
Alternatively, many organizations believe they can benefit from external support. It is not unusual for the process to be outsourced. Remember you could always rely on neutral experts to lead you through the change process. The benefit of working with change management consultants would be:
- Any innate organizational biases can be overcome.
- Tough messages can be delivered by a third party.
- The third-party can provide tools to assess the process objectively.
However, if you do work with external consultants, an in-depth onboarding is recommended so that they can become familiar with your organization. Any plan they develop can thus be better tailored to suit your team’s needs and the organizational reality.