April 04, 2016

I Can Make Change Happen!!

This image is of me ... I found it on the VT/NH Marketing Group Twitter feed (click here), speaking at a VT/NH event last week.


Go to slide number 205.

I looked out across the audience when I shared slide number 205.

I sensed something had changed.

For two hours and five minutes, heads shook up and down ... often in the affirmative motion. 

On slide 205, I recommended creation of a cross-functional team of individuals. This team would be responsible for increasing new customer acquisition counts - by 20% or more in all likelihood. We're talking Marketing, Merchandising, Creative, Finance, Operations, Information Technology (as rightly recommended by an attendee).

I recommended two limits.
  1. Director-Level staff ... this is the "AAA" team, to use baseball parlance, the team of individuals most likely to run the company in five years.
  2. Age = 30-39. Once you hit 40, you are not on the team, you should theoretically move on to Sr. Management.
It was the latter point that drew groans, that generated the most feedback after the presentation. Folks were not happy with the recommendation.

One person, to paraphrase, had this to say.
  • "I can make change happen!"
Now, let's be perfectly honest. You do not have to be 30-39 years old to make change happen.

But this comment raises two interesting questions.
  1. If you can make change happen, then why hasn't change already happened?
  2. What needs to change at your company in order to make change happen?
The latter question is pretty important, don't you think? It's the problem that so many folks face, right?

There is a reason that the multi-channel / omnichannel rhetoric was quickly implemented. This strategy required two changes.
  1. Marketing Needed To Change.
  2. How Marketing Worked With Vendors Needed To Change.
In order to increase the number of new customers, via my recommendation.
  1. All Co-Workers Need To Change.
  2. Change Would Be Driven By A Small Group of Cross-Functional Leaders.
This is why it is hard to make change happen.
  1. It is easy to work with vendors - we pay them, we tell them what to do. Then they tell us what we should do. And they take us out to fancy restaurants when they visit us.
  2. It is hard to work with co-workers - too often, they tell us what to do and they don't listen to us and they are critical of the work we do. And they sometimes mistakenly steal our lunches out of the company refrigerator.
Another person offered this tidbit.
  • "It doesn't matter what this team of 30-39 year olds wants to do, they'll never convince the Executive Team to make any changes. The real question is this ... how do you convince the Executive Team to change?
This brings us to the challenge of 2016.
  1. I can make change happen!
  2. It is really hard to work with Merchandising and Creative and Information Technology and Operations. They will not carry out change in a cross-functional manner.
  3. Even if Marketing and Merchandising and Creative and Information Technology and Operations all work together, the Executive Team won't change, so what difference does it make?
More on this tomorrow.