At times, organizations enact change because they want to take advantage of a competitive situation. Other times change occurs out of necessity, it may forced for one reason or another or conversely, it happens organically. Change is a natural occurrence both in our personal lives and in business. In business, when change within an organization occurs, the most successful endeavors are as a result of leadership from the top.
“Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.” Max McKeown
A year ago we took a hard look at our website. Although it was functional, it didn’t showcase our company the way we wanted it to. It felt dated, lacked the energy that we desired and needed an overhaul. Basically, to deliver the customer experience we wanted, we had to scrap the old site and start fresh.
If you haven’t done a website revision before, it is no small feat. It’s a huge commitment, both in terms of financial and human resources. For a complete redesign, we needed a totally new look and feel, an updated content management system, updated content, and for good measure we changed our marketing automation platform and optimized our internal Demand Process to better manage our demand generation strategy. No big deal, right?
However, while this was a needed change, we simply could not just tell our executive team that we wanted to invest in a new website, we had to make the business case and get them to not only sign off, but be the drivers of this change in the organization. How did we do that?
1. Identify the need for change – clearly
Use the language that executives respond to. Focus on the ways in which the change will drive the results the organization needs (revenue, opportunities, speaking engagements, etc.). Keep your value proposition simple and illustrate the benefits of change and be ready to defend your position. We had to show our execs what this investment in time, resources and finances was going to produce.
2. Engage a team
No change management initiative or big project is ever accomplished by one individual, it takes a village. Identify who within the organization will be required for the project and understand who will be needed for supporting roles, often in cross-functional capacities. For a website project like ours, it was not just marketing on the “website team” as it included technology, sales, support, customer service and others groups both inside and outside of the organization.
Organizations of every size need to plan and schedule resources across projects so understand previous commitments by your “team” and plan accordingly.
3.Utilize planning tools
Both small and large-scale projects require extensive planning, countless resources, tracking of schedules, assets and deliverables and dependencies. You can’t manage complex projects via Excel. Real project management solutions that are scalable across the organization and beyond are required though out any multi-disciplinary endeavor. At ANNUITAS we utilize several different tools including Basecamp, Wrike, and Dropbox to manage files, schedules, communicate status, and review and edit content.
Enacting and driving change is not a fast process, nor is it an easy process. However, understanding the critical components for change can help ensure the process is embraced. A website redesign isn’t the biggest of changes organizations will encounter; however, it was a critical need for our business and no small undertaking for any organization.
Following these three steps helped us achieve a positive change by launching our new site. However, we ultimately changed more than our site. We changed our internal sales and marketing processes and our engagement with our buyers and partners as well. Change is a team effort and it doesn’t stop once the project has launched. Take the steps to make it successful before you begin the process.
Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable. But that still implies that change is like death and taxes – it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable. But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm.”