strategies for change
"NEW!" may be the most popular word in the marketer's lexicon. ranking right up there with FREE! and SAVE! "NEW!" always gets everybody's attention. New product. New brand. New campaign. You just gotta love "NEW!"
Except when it comes to implementing strategic decisions, because "NEW!" is just another word for innovation and that inevitably leads to change, which is not always such a popular word. Change has a reputation for being disruptive and probably involves unfamiliar territory with uncertain direction, unseen gaps in an uncharted path, and hidden hazards which cause frustrating delays and spotty implementation to the best of plans.
It helps if you go down that path with someone who's been there before—who knows the way— and brings the right tools, things like a reliable map and a good compass — and knows how to use them.
How can you successfully chart your way? It's important to have an experienced guide who has been there before, knows the way, and understands that an encounter with a hungry mosquito can be just as dangerous as facing-off with a hungry lion. While the consequences may not be so abrupt, they can produce equally unfortunate results.
Your journey on the path to successful execution demands more than a map and compass. You'll need mosquito netting, and skill with a machete to hack away so stragglers won't get lost in the weeds. A strong tow rope to pull them free should they get bogged down in the muck. While these metaphoric weed whackers and chain saws may be enough, be prepared for the worst. So you better bring some dynamite.
At the very least, you need a variety of tools to deal with those stubborn impediments to progress—changing market conditions that inevitably arise, along with newly uncovered and suddenly important gaps in the capabilities of your own company and in your customer’s organization.
which way forward?
If your team is going to get anywhere, it has to travel together. With so much work to do along the way, it helps to have a reliable tool to define objectives, facilitate activities and track your progress.
My tool of choice is OPPORTUNITY MAPPING, an activity model that compares to a good walking stick — a tool you can probe with to learn and lean on to make steady progress. Use it to link your high altitude goals directly to the details of doing. It's a collaborative planning and practical implementation process designed to help you make informed strategic decisions and achieve your mission goals.
Throughout each of the five evolutions in the OPPORTUNITY MAPPING process, from the fundamental fact finding of DISCOVERY and ASSESSMENT, through the decision matrix of SCENARIO PLANNING, to the benchmarking and commitment required for RECOMMENDATIONS and finally, the pragmatic detail and event sequencing of IMPLEMENTATION, each step in the process helps your team break big decisions down to size. The whole process becomes more measurable, time lines more reliable, budgets more manageable, deliverables more achievable and outcomes more rewarding.
Your guide in this process should help you find your way and keep you and your team moving in the right direction. But in the end, it's your team that has to successfully make its way, deciding whether a short cut might be a good move or a path right to the lion's den.
It's a jungle out there. Change may be lurking in the shadows. Make a plan and choose your guide carefully.