Adapting to changing technology with timeless management and marketing principles
“Peter Drucker ~ If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”
Everything around us seems to be changing at a blinding pace. Technology, the approach towards marketing and management, R & D process for product and services, importance and level of insights from customer research etc. But, one could agree that, “human nature” has not changed much. More often than not, it seems, when we look deep within, it is vivid that we are still resistant to change (well, most of us seem to be).
Which is why even after adapting to technology tools, process and welcoming their use into our daily lives and at workplace, majority of the business heads, corporate professionals and managers across industries are struggling to optimally make use of it.
There seems to be a clearly visible issue here.
We end up practicing the same old management and marketing principles without customizing and personalizing to the needs and demands of today.
We need to understand how to manage our resources with constant up-gradation of technology without altering the roots of some of the timeless management principles that we have learnt over the years.
As in impact these changes via integration and within the purview of the current needs & system without altering the underlying principles of management. For eg. Peter Drucker always stressed on ‘focus on managing people’ rather than merely focusing on the techniques and processes.
During one of my recent consulting engagement’s at a 38 year old organization, I spoke with one of their Senior Marketing Directors who was worried about the organization’s desire to integrate digital tools and process as part of their up-gradation process. It seems their management felt that the company was using old processes and tools since too long and now it was time for a change. The first question I asked them was, “Who are the people who will be working with the new tools and process?”
Their response to this was, “Our own employees. We need them to be trained to use all new technology tools and adapt before August 2016 i.e in the next 2-3 months.”
Well, now standing in front of me was a man with a plan. A clear focus on what he wanted and with that, also a clear idea of ‘by when’ did he want this to happen in his organization.
Wonderful, but, there was something majorly missing!
So I continued, “Will your employees be comfortable getting trained on new tools and process? Have you discussed this with them? What would their level of training be at?” and before I could finish the set of questions, he interrupted me and said, “See Mr.Ananth, my Digital head has joined us very recently, in fact, just few days ago. He is currently undergoing our 5 day orientation process. He has told me, he wants a team of people who can work on sites, tools and processes of digital marketing, branding, blogging, email marketing and social media. So we want this to start immediately. I want an in-house digital team.”
I could see a couple of red flags at this stage and I shared my views with the said organization and explained to them peacefully of the first few things they needed to do and at the same time, things that they needed to completely understand before starting the training process for their team members.
After meeting few of their team members (who were to be trained) and after speaking to many of them over the next few hours, it was clear that more than 40% of them were already planning to leave the organization since they were completely uncomfortable handling tasks which were no way remotely connected to what they were currently doing. Most of them were handling below the line (BTL) activities and physical banner creative’s and few Above the line activities (ATL) like media ads etc who were now asked to learn everything that is possible in the field of digital in the next 2 months and put it to work for their new boss.
After learning about this, I insisted on meeting their new Digital Head and after my interaction with him (which lasted for about two hours), I learnt that his experience was in managing the teams that undertake digital campaigns for eg. Working with bloggers, social media influencers, email marketers, SEO specialists etc but on his own; he had never created a blog post or for that matter was completely off the grid (had no presence online) when it came to actually using these social networking tools and sites.
So I came back and worked out a chart that panned out the tasks and training plan specifically for the digital head, a separate digital marketing training plan for the team members, for the company’s stakeholders and of course my role in the same too.
I would say, I was lucky that each member of the organization was extremely cooperative (also, at this stage, I would like to Thank them for granting me the freedom to create this article about this experience and at the same time I assure to keep their names and details completely confidential) and now had a much better and clear idea of what their future tasks, expectations could entail in the coming months once the training process began.
We also ensured to involve the HR head in the process so that she could handle the queries and concerns that were cropping up with the team members. This was to ensure that they do not quit after receiving the training, rather could see themselves in their new roles with key performance areas (KPA’s) that were agreeable and tasks that they were now happy taking up.
Organization’s today, need to ensure the following three aspects while integrating management, marketing and technology into their system:
Organization’s need to have a very clear understanding of what their products and services of the future look like and what purpose are they going to serve the customers. And most importantly, they need to ensure this message has reached across each of their employees too. Also, how soon can logistics and teams within the organization add support and related services after the sales process in case of any requirements from their customers. In the age of digital, lack of response for over 8 hours online today can have disastrous impacts.
Clear understanding of timelines and what could the organization’s expect, in terms of results, by integrating these processes. Also, these goals need to be specific and not just a general goal. For eg. Rather than saying, ‘integration of these process should lead to increase in sales’, it is always better to say, “Integration of these processes should lead to a 30% increase in sales in the next three quarters.”Why? Because, once it is measurable, it becomes very clear and easy to see the vision of the organization, expectations and of course, the progress at every stage.
2) Professionals – Tasks and skills mapping:
With the new skills and upgraded know-how, how comfortable are the old employees in their new roles. This needs to be constantly monitored. Today, for effectively co-creating, managers must have the capacity for engaging in valuable dialogue and with that, have a consistency of decentralized action. Why? Because all managers are not the same. For eg. Not every individual has the same grasp and understanding. Some might take time to adapt to new tools and process while others might be real quick. So there cannot be a ‘standardized forced learning curve timeline’. The new management policies should have flexibility while integrating new processes and ensure that they are not too rigid. Similarly, the new Digital head had, along with him joining the organization, asked some of his old colleagues to join in too, as he thought that this might ease and speed the process to work. Here again, the new team members and the old employees need to be in sync with each other’s work, tasks and skills and not end up looking at each other as competition. As the focus should be towards a common company goal.
3) Ownership with a sense of urgency: Focused on ROI with timelines:
Most of the times, what an organization lacks is a simple sense of urgency with ownership.
Now mapping each skill sets according to the new know-how and learning and making it measurable and accountable for each employee is a great way to test their learning curve and ensure that the employees are complementing each others gaps rather than competing. With a sense of urgency and ownership, the transition becomes accountable, measurable and definitely more disciplined.
Every time an organization designs and builds an in-house digital team, there is an automatic rise of machine intelligence, in other words, there are tons of data which are now accessible for the organization to understand their team members, their customers and prospects much better.
This will allow them to empower the “VALUE” of their team members work and reward them with an incentive as suited to the organization. This also enables employees to understand that even with the rise of technology and digital tools and process, their management is still about “people”.
Such a smooth and integrated system enables the business and organization with an ability to take quick and collaborative decisions.
Since there is a sense of urgency, a sense of ownership of tasks, each employee gives their best to help out the next team member. With such a system, each employee functions like a business leader and has much better effectiveness.
- Organization’s have finally realized that they no longer control the way their brand image or information is perceived and interpreted by the end readers.
- The consumer of today knows more about the brand than the brand itself.
- So integrating management, marketing and technology is no longer optional.
- If you exist as a brand today, then someone out there is already talking about you. Ensure to be a part of that conversation prism.
Do share your views, would love to hear from you.