Five tips on how to embrace change
So you have purchased your suite of digital and behavioral analytics tools. The data is coming in and your consultant and/or analysts are providing some interesting insights, insights which potentially could show a significant uplift in sales. Sounds like a positive intro to change right? Not always so…
I have seen time and time again companies respond to solid data driven recommendations with a quiver of fear at the thought of having to invest time and effort into any form of change. Now this can be a totally legitimate fear based on the foreseen headache of wading through existing backlog and pushing of priorities in order to make any changes, relying on external resources, and or code freezes etc. Which often leaves me asking the question why invest in these solutions in the first place?
It's kind of the equivalent of going on a TV makeover show and the fashion expert saying, "Oh honey, sweatpants and a crop top? You really think this is appropriate for work?" Now, you would expect the person to take the expert advice and embrace it. But time and time again these people reject, refuse and repel the sound advice placed before them. So why invest and not want to take onboard the expert advice in front of you? FEAR.
Let's face it all change is scary. And the reason it fills us all with fear be it changing a job, relationship, wardrobe and yes even making changes to your website, is that all change by definition requires some form of effort, especially on the part of the initiator, and especially if it requires getting team members and management onboard.
But equally, and please excuse the plethora of clichés to follow; change is inevitable and change is good. Without change we become old and stagnant. Without being open to learning and embracing new ideas we run the risk of going from expert to irrelevant. In a world and industry that is constantly evolving, which is just a fancy word for changing, why would we want to stand still? Or worse, what might be the ramifications of doing nothing?
Take the now infamous case of Kodak as an example. In the words of a former vice-president, Don Strickland: "We developed the world's first consumer digital camera but we could not get approval to launch or sell it because of fear of the effects on the film market." Where are Kodak today?
So to help put the fear aside, here are my 5 top tips for embracing a little change for best results:
Be clear about your business goalsAlways revisit and review what it is you want to achieve. There is no way to get internal buy-in if you are not clear about the benefits to your business. In addition, there is little to no point in having your consultant review an area of your site that is not in line with your business goals. Be focused and strategic in your analytics planning.
Don't let guess work winBasing your decisions on assumptions will only lead to misdirection and as above, you are more likely not going to achieve your business goals. You don't know what you don't know, so make sure you Test! Test! Test!
Let the data do the talkingIt is very easy to get push back on changes you would like to implement; it is much harder for someone to argue against clear data. If you have the numbers, you have the ammunition to fight doubters and gain internal buy in.
Break it downIt's not always necessary to change an entire page or flow all at once. Break down each change into small actionable or testable events. These can be defined by your business objectives and divided into short and long term goals. As long as you are open to test and test frequently it is worthwhile to take a step by step approach to any change.
Be the champion of progress and often!My most successful clients have taken it upon themselves to report back on their findings, frequently and companywide. If your whole company and management are gaining regular updates on small reports they will not be so surprised when you come with recommendations for a significant change. In fact, they will embrace it! How about trying to set up a Friday afternoon beer and insights session!
Finally, remember these words: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” -Winston Churchill