Change is hard, and sometimes, more than a little bit scary. And it doesn’t matter what’s changing, either. Whether you’re moving into a new house or upgrading your cell phone contract, change is a disruptive force. It creates cognitive dissonance and forces us to rethink old models. The good news, however, is that any negative impact you perceive about an impending change should be short-lived. Because at the end of the day, change is most often about moving forward, making a conscious decision to find the silver lining and that’s always a positive thing.
Trying to switch to a new cellphone is a dilemma that we have all been faced with. I don’t know a lot of people that actually enjoy the experience to be honest. You have to relearn how to use even the most basic functions, and don’t even get me started on restoring your backups! But the new phone has vastly improved memory, is a lot faster, more secure and has a way better camera. Over the next year, its going to become second nature to operate it, you just have to get over the first few weeks.
Moving into a new house is a much bigger ordeal on the surface, but the psychology is the same. You probably loved your home, but you moved for a reason – to have a bigger space, to start a family, to own property – so embrace the positives and trust your decision. As with any form of change, the key is focusing on the good things about the change, not the bad. It’s all about progress, people!
In today’s increasingly digital world, the ability to accept and even embrace constant change is vital to business success. We’ve talked about how even if you’re on top of your industry, there’s somebody out there trying to create a better product or service. So if you achieve success but dismiss innovation, creativity and adaptability, you stand to lose everything you’ve built.
Remember back when Facebook exploded and people predicted it’d fall to the wayside like Myspace? Well, that never happened, likely due to many different factors. But one of those factors is undoubtedly that Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is a big fan of change who embodies the company with an adaptive spirit. This isn’t new information, but there’s a reason Zuckerberg didn’t get rid of the Sun Microsystems sign when Facebook took over the former tech giant’s offices: he wanted to put Facebook’s logo on the other side and use the sign as a reminder of what happens to brands that fail to innovate.
On a much smaller and less drastic scale, those are the only two directions businesses – both big and small – can go: they can iterate and move forward (Facebook), or they can remain stagnant and go backwards (Sun Microsystems). If you aren’t sure which one is you then you may be moving in the wrong direction. But don’t worry, here’s how you can stop worrying and love change:
Keep Your Eye on the Digital Horizon
Digital technology (and by association, marketing) is a major factor of today’s business economy, and can singlehandedly determine which direction your brand is moving. First things first: if your brand isn’t engaged with digital marketing, you’re moving backwards (and that’s not up for debate). Move over, Sun Microsystems! And even if you do have a digital marketing strategy in place, if you haven’t analyzed or adapted your campaigns, you aren’t much better off than the businesses that haven’t done a thing. The digital marketing world moves that fast. We see lots of companies that have not made a single change to their website or Adwords campaign in years. Its digital marketing suicide.
So what can you do about it? Way back in January when we launched our podcast, our first guest was our co-founder, Dan Monaghan, and he talked about exactly how to remain adaptable, saying, “Being aware of the digital horizon – even if it’s way off in the distance – is one of the best things a business can do for its future.”
This sums up what businesses need to do perfectly because it’s easy to relate to. If you see a storm on the horizon, what do you do? You prepare for that storm. So prepare for your future and keep your eye on the digital horizon – by reading articles that announce big industry news, by analyzing tech trends, and by striving to do better marketing – and you’ll pave the way forward for your business.
Open Your Mind
In business, just like life, an open mind is better than a closed mind. Sometimes we don’t take a recommendation or suggestion to heart, usually out of stubbornness or a misguided sense of independence. One of the surest ways to build a successful business is to hire smart people, and smart people have good ideas. If the people around you suggest a change – even if it’s changing something that’s been working forever – you should at least consider it. Instead of blindly dismissing an idea that would change things, try looking at it from a different perspective. How would things be better if you changed? Would the change help prepare your brand for future success?
Yes, change is hard, but like I said in the opening, it’s nearly 2016 and the world moves at a dizzying pace which means being open to change is no longer an option but a necessity.
Foster An Agile Culture
Agile marketing is simply the ability to quickly react or adapt to a fluid situation. A great example of recent agile marketing is Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet that took the Internet by storm in 2013. And while nobody could have predicted the stadium lights going out, the success of the tweet was a direct result of Oreo’s readiness to pounce on any opportunity to market themselves (otherwise known as their agility).
Being agile in nature is about more than just one single example, it’s a whole mentality and culture. The best way to build a team that not only doesn’t worry about change, but actually seeks out opportunities to change, is to foster an agile culture at every level of your organization. Have scrums instead of meetings (a change in itself), rejuvenate the way your departments collaborate and develop an agile group of leaders who carry the spirit of adaptability like the Olympic Torch. Once you have agility ingrained in the fabric of your brand, change will become second nature.
I’ve highlighted a few ways teams can learn to stop worrying and love change, but when it comes down to it, all you need to do is accept that change is a necessary part of business and life. Avoiding change or ignoring its effectiveness in carving a path to success can only set you back, so think long and hard about which direction you and your business want to go and then get moving!