The capabilities for change

While it’s hard for businesses to keep up with constant change, the most significant toll is on its people. When market forces shift and businesses have to pivot, it can often bring more stress for everyone within the organization. Change is now coming so fast, so often, that a new wave begins before people have had a chance to recover from the last.

With these evolving market conditions driving new ideas, experiences, and models for growth, any external changes made by a company will struggle to gain a foothold if internal teams are not informed, engaged, motivated, or fully equipped with the right capabilities to create change and grow along with the organization. Especially given that change is not always immediately perceived as positive.

50 percent of US workers have been affected by organizational changes in the last year, are currently being affected, or expect to be affected in the coming year. [1]

Change is what helps create new and engaging customer experiences, but without engaged and invested employees, this is impossible to deliver. Organizations cannot afford to leave their people behind. And it takes much more than a declaration or reassurance from leadership. Change must be institutionalized. Flexibility, reinvention, and reorientation must be second-nature—an inbuilt reflex, without a second thought. This will align the business ambitions with the evolving market conditions, and prime the organization for growth inside out and outside in.

The most engaging, cohesive customer experiences are driven by high performing brand and marketing organizations.

This is where brand plays a key role. Not only is a brand the ideal vehicle for highlighting an organization’s ambition and purpose in a way that’s human and engaging, it also plays the role of integrator. Brands are increasingly deployed to bridge gaps across organizations, which are increasingly global, multidisciplinary, and siloed. The brand can bring coherence to varied customer experiences and touchpoints, and help companies leverage best practices and competencies from all corners of the organization.

With every change, it’s important then for the brand to ensure that platforms, processes, and people are aligned.

 

Platforms

To communicate this brand message consistently across time zones and language barriers, strong, centralized platforms are paramount. These can come in the form of: a fully-integrated brand portal; effective internal communication apps and services that reach people where they are without distracting them; reliable, intuitive databases and other technologies that share knowledge and drive business strategy forward. These platforms are essential to lowering the inevitable friction of working in an ever-more hectic and global marketplace.

Processes

However, the best platforms in the world are nothing without efficient processes built in that empower employees rather than pile on bureaucratic tedium and slow them down. When used correctly, they should lower barriers while ensuring that all brand communications are consistent, that responsibilities are clearly delineated, and that all brand activities point towards a broader strategy. Processes can help impart a broader culture of experimentation, giving people the leeway to try and fail so that they can imagine new ways to grow.

People

Building processes goes hand-in-hand with empowering people to embrace and lead change. This requires bringing people along on the journey, providing clarity on the destination, and most importantly, investing in people with the right training, skills, and behaviors. For an organization to be primed for change, people need to know that the organization will equip them with everything they need to drive that change, and will provide rewards in the form of personal development. To achieve growth in the modern marketplace, this bottom-up approach is essential. Systems are important, but it’s predominantly about people.

Strategy, culture, and technology are all beholden to real individuals. Not just inside the company, but outside of it as well. The core of this idea is truly intuitive: A brand is made by people, for people. Change is constant because customers are always changing, so for a brand to keep up with them, its people must be able to move just as fast.

 

[1] APA 2017 – Work and Well-Being Survey