Eliminate Organizational Silos Through Managing Change

Eliminate Organizational Silos Through Managing Change
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In my first of four articles about technology silos, inspired by work with my wonderful colleague Linda Reed, I brought up the three key building block activities on how to eliminate the problems silos cause without having to face the daunting task of eliminating silos completely. I talked about the role of collaboration and then that of goal alignment. Now, I’m gonna talk about the final piece, change management.

The new year is here and what better way to help your business soar in 2018 than by taking the necessary steps to ensure the upcoming changes not only stick, but do so with the power to make a tremendous positive impact on everyone affiliated with your business.

This is not just about the right marketing technology, but that the right organization within a company (including its people) is in line for successful transformation to cross-channel. For some, these changes might be small — for others, large. Having a plan is key. If you don’t, there’s little stopping you from reverting back to your old ways. This is the case time and time again. For example, an email marketer who’s trying to be cross-channel-like will find it easier to focus on email. If the plan is not clear, that marketer will revert to what they know. And since you’re trying to minimize the impact of silos, all your work to collaborate and set goals is all for naught.

So, to healthily change, use what you’ve learned to choose wisely how things need to change and then execute those changes with calm expertise. I’ll outline both according to best industry practices. First, is knowing what to change.

5 keys to deciding how to change

  •  Chunk things out — this is a phrase I picked up on from Linda. Simply, look for small wins that allow folks to stay focused and motivated. Many of my customers do this as they move to a cross channel platform. They may implement and execute on two channels for phase one and then add additional channels later. I’m currently working with a university that is chunking it out by department — going live first with their athletic department, then their alumni, and so on. Seeing quick wins, as well as the ROI of the tool, will help them stay engaged and motivated.
  •  Prioritize — take time to plan things out into a list. Categorize things by ease, reward, and cost. This allows you to clearly focus on what’s most important and ultimately know which chunk to start with.
  •  Understand impact — how will the change impact folks? Do a pre-mortem. This is one of my favorite tools for several reasons. The biggest two are that it helps you practice good risk mitigation and, regardless of how great your team, it makes sure you’re thinking of everyone on your team, particularly those who are nervous and negative about the proposed change (there’s always at least one). Having that person, and everyone on your team, involved in a pre-mortem helps them express their concerns as well as putting a plan in place to mitigate. Besides that, you get a wealth of perspectives that could ultimately change your plan for the better.
  • Readiness — get people ready and aligned by providing timelines, resources, training, and help. This is the easiest way to set them up for success. If you are asking them to take on new responsibilities, ensure that they have the appropriate time to learn any skills that might be needed.
  • Sponsorship — ensuring an active sponsorship at a senior executive level will help achieve your desired results, whatever they specifically are. This also helps with creating that critical alignment across the organization.

Sounds simple enough, right? Those steps are not hard, they just take concerted time. You can absolutely do them if you apply yourself to it. And the benefit will be far greater than the time you spent.

Now, let’s talk about how you make those changes a reality for your teams. You do that these three key ways:

Administer training and enablement

The fact is, your teams are going to have to start doing things differently. But that’s good, because what you’re teaching them will make them far more knowledgeable and productive. The core areas to educate them in are critical skills — namely domain, networking, and analytical skills. When you do this, it should be cross-functional, meaning people from across teams should not only participate and engage in sessions, but also collaborate to develop and administer content.

Keep teams and leadership informed

Involve your team early and often to get and keep buy in. Knowing something is going on but not understanding the details often creates anxiety — involve the team to provide transparency.

Use analytics constantly to measure, evaluate, and even anticipate what to do next across channels. This allows for consistent measure of marketing programs, a central system of record (vs. having many versions of the truth), and an effective means to educate your people accurately. And then update your team using dashboards, weekly emails, and other forms of updates. Be vulnerable and transparent about how things go and celebrate successes. Doing so further educates.

Together, these things will empower them in the everyday and particularly when they evangelize and showcase results, learnings, and opportunities.

Install a transition plan without being afraid of course corrections

Have a plan everyone agrees on and buys into. Make sure it covers every angle, including some of these most important ones.

-Start small
-Post results on social
-Set objectives
-Determine accountability and ownership
-Have checkpoints
-Course correct

Your improved results

By systematically working together, communicating clearly, and empowering your people in the right ways, yes, you’ll get rid of silo problems. But more importantly, you’ll like work better and — not to be oversimplistic — you’ll be successful. You’ll learn and grow, always building on the strong foundation you’ve set. And everyone will benefit.

In this series, we focused on how to collaborate more effectively, set goals across marketing teams, and manage change effectively. If you take those three key areas into account, you’ll eliminate silo problems, keeping your teams informed, empowered, and productive.

This is the last of four blogs in a series about organizational considerations that supports cross-channel marketing and on eliminating problems caused by silos. They were inspired by Bruce Swann and Linda Reed’s talk from the Adobe Summit this past spring.

Also, if you are attending the 2018 Adobe Summit in March, look out for another session on this very topic! I would love to see you in Las Vegas and chat about organizational design and considerations that supports cross-channel marketing.

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