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6 ways to make change work for you

Thought Leadership on Marketing and Branding Success presented by O2 Lab.

How can marketers get the buy-in they need to make change happen within their own organizations? If you’ve ever been through a rebrand or managed a website launch, you know it can be pretty thorny. That’s why we asked change-management guru Mary-Claire Burick to share her insights at our new On Topic speaker series. Here’s a quick summary of some of Burick’s top tips:

Create urgency

Change will always be easier if you can get people to agree on the “why.” If there is a compelling “why,” people will tolerate the “how.” Take people through the thought process behind the change. Demonstrate how vital this initiative is to the goals and success of the company. For example, crafting new messaging will allow the company to connect with a new customer base. Or, the brand needs an update to be viewed as more relevant in the market. And here’s a good question to ask: What happens if there isn’t a change? Once you show people that you’re not just proposing change for change’s sake, they’re ready to move forward.

Solidify your vision

Vagueness can be fatal to a new project. Make sure you are crystal clear about your goals: what needs to happen, how it will be implemented and what measurements will be used to assess success. This is the time to be tough on yourself and ask the hard questions before others do.

Anticipate and remove obstacles

You never want to feel like you’re forcing change on other people, and they sure don’t want to feel that way, either. Spending some time to understand your colleagues’ point of view can really pay off. Sit in on their department meetings, meet with them one-on-one, and push for real understanding of what change will mean to them. In the end, you may be the one offering them the tools they need to get their work to the next level.

Build a team

There’s a reason they’re called stakeholders: Your new initiative may have serious implications for many other people in the company. And yes, it’s hard to feel like you have to satisfy everybody, but this is a huge opportunity to include representatives from other departments, especially those that might be reflexively hostile to change. If you can develop the right trust and energy, this team will become your ambassadors, advocating for your initiative within their own departments.

Be the change

For the duration of this project, YOU are the face of change. Showing leadership at this stage means promoting the initiative at every opportunity. It also means being responsive to questions, concerns, and criticisms. Your behavior and demeanor will signal to others how well the project is going. Enthusiasm is infectious.

Celebrate the win

Just as it is important to have measurable outcomes, it is important to let everyone know you’ve achieved them. Broadcast your success! This is also the time to celebrate your team. Acknowledging those who contributed — especially if their cooperation was hard-won — will make the next project all the easier.

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