The Dos and Donts of Change Management
Change is inevitable in life and business. It can be hard. For many, even the thought of change conjures up images of communication breakdowns and unfulfilled promises, but it does not have to be that way.
For over 24 years I have led change management at agencies big and small, implementing new technologies and business rules meant to make workflow and the cost of doing business better. It didn’t always work. Sometimes we went back to the drawing board much sooner than expected. That was okay because we had goals, milestones and evaluation processes in place that told us we went awry and stopped us before we dug in.
Below I have outlined a series of tips relative to managing change. I can’t promise following these guidelines with ensure a smooth transition, but they’ve served me well, mitigating the risks of change and setting the agency on the right course from the beginning.
To hear me explain the “Do’s and Don’ts” tips in detail please watch this webinar where I expand on the topic and give some real world examples from my own experiences.
- Acknowledge, it takes a well-organized team to make meaningful changes.
- Communicate what the goals are, how the teams are progressing and what everyone can do to help achieve them.
- Select some members of the team that have been through large change initiatives before. Are the right people at the table? If not, add the skillsets needed to achieve the goal.
- Modify how you organize your agency (if it makes sense). Be clear on the “who, what and why” of the change. Prior to the change, evaluate existing roles within the new agency and how the staff can thrive within the new model.
- Become a more agile and collaborative agency; create ways of working that are scalable, able to be adjusted quickly and tailored to your clients needs. Provide support to the staff that enable mastery and autonomy.
- Choose technology for your agency that scales and enables full control over the delivery lifecycle where you control the work not the work controls you.
- Create metrics and reporting that are more in real-time than in the past.
- Provide the necessary support for the staff to master the platforms and processes.
- Regroup with key staff from all teams frequently to assess what is working and what is not about the change initiative.
- Transfer knowledge from the last team that worked on an initiative to the new team. You can accelerate future change initiatives by learning from the past.
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- Underestimate the teams existing workload and their ability to deliver both for clients and the agency initiative
- Forget to acknowledge and reward staff that drive the success of the change initiative
- Think technology is a panacea. It’s always going to be a combination of people, process, technology and reporting that enables the change.
- Use ineffective tools to evaluate talent. When agencies restructure or merge, roles change and evaluating
- Track too many metrics. Choose ones that focus the team on generating the results needed to achieve the desired change.
- Retrofit a process used by someone else. Just because it worked for another agency doesn’t mean it will work at yours. Every agency is different. Make sure your process reflects the nuances of your agency.
- Make money the sole reason for the change. Saving money is a good reason to initiate a change but it should be rooted in other value propositions.
About the Author
Allen Singer, a former operations leader successfully working for world class agencies like VMLY&R for 24 years, partners with external and in-house agencies, media publishers and technology partners to improve their operational efficiency.