Saturday, January 26, 2013

Organizational Change and Analytics: 5 Baby Steps to Effectively Manage Change

Dilbert comic strip for 9/13/2010
Dilbert comic strip for 9/13/2010 from the official Dilbert comic strip archive

Many companies have a difficult time changing how they are used to doing things in order to move towards the digital age. Many might as well be in the Stone Age when it comes to understanding how digital analytics and other tools such as social media can be used to help their organization and how they should be implemented. Without this understanding, they fear changing what they have grown accustomed to doing in order to move towards this new frontier.   This resistance in a corporate organization can seem daunting to younger professionals trying to persuade and help these limping organizations take that leap. (Dykes, 2010)

Here are five broad level steps to help you begin developing a plan to move change within your organization along:

Step 1: Look at what is working right now

Many times in an organization, a change leader looks at what the problems are in an organization and moves to fix them. This harbors more resistance from an organization as most people resist being fixed. In order to garner trust from the organization and its individual members, it is better to first look at what is being done right, what is working and highlighting those “bright spots” as Brent Dykes puts it. (Dykes, 2010)
"Switch" By Chip Heath and Dan Heath - How to Change Things When Change is Hard

Step 2: Where do you want to be?

Everyone needs to know where they are going. If we don’t define where we want to be, you’ll only be left wandering blind. Clear direction must be given so that you can effectively measure between where you are now and where you want to be. Having a “vivid picture from the near-term future that shows what could be possible” helps you appeal to the rest of the members of your organization and ensures you are all able to move down the same path towards the same destination. (Dykes, 2010) (Heath & Heath)

Step 3: Lay out specific details or actions to take

Chip and Dan Heath from the book “Switch” use the example of an elephant to describe how best to handle change in an organization. “The elephant will always want to stick to the familiar path (status quo). Your organization will need more than just a vision for becoming more data-driven but also specific details or actions.” [2] This is a critical key. Now that you’ve determined where you are and where you are going, you must create goals to achieve, planning them out with those specific details and actions to ensure everyone is on the same page. Without SMART goals, and ways to achieve them set, an organization will keep on the same path it has always been on. (Heath & Heath) (Arina, 2010)

What kinds of goals are good goals in the realm of analytics you might ask? Avanash Kaushik, a Digital Marketing Evangelist, suggests you link your goals to the business. Find metrics that show how the digital frontier affects the bottom line. Stay away from clickstream, he suggests. It becomes “old” quickly. Figure out what motivates your audience, what brings them to your site. Make sure these goals or metrics are SMART, and be willing to change them as time goes on. (Kaushik, 2006)
Deliver Hope Wrapped in Small Wins

Step 4: Deliver Hope wrapped in small wins

When everyone feels involved, change in an organization is much easier. Giving people a purpose and making them feel important and involved will make them more willing to change for you. Make everyone an analyst. Ask them for their opinion. What do they see in the data? Just because you have reports, doesn't mean you know what’s happening. When you find successes, make sure everyone knows. Deliver these to the organization so they can see the worth. (Dykes, 2010)

Step 5: Encourage Good Habits through developing a culture around Analytics

Corporate culture can be elusive, yet when developed right, it can enhance and impact an organizations work environment and output. Developing a culture around analytics is not simple, but can be done by developing rituals and routines such as announcements about the company’s digital successes in a given time period. (The Cultural Web)

To learn more about organizational change whether it be about analytics or not, I recommend reading “Switch” by the Heath brothers, as well as taking a look at Johnson and Scholes’ Cultural Web. For more on Analytics, I recommend Avinash Kaushik’s Blog. Best of luck to you!

Works Cited

Arina. (2010, February 20). SMART Goal Setting: A Surefire Way to Achieve Your Goals. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from Goal Setting Guide:
Dykes, B. (2010, July 29). Switching to a Data-Driven Culture. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from Adobe Digital Marketing Blog:
Heath, C., & Heath, D. (n.d.). Switch. Retrieved January 22, 2013, from Heath Brothers:
Kaushik, A. (2006, October 23). Seven Steps to Creating a Data Driven Decision Making Culture. Retrieved January 22, 2013, from Occam's Razor:
The Cultural Web. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2013, from Mind Tools:

1 comment:

  1. These are some very good points. The lack of qualified analysts also contributes to slow organizational change. Decision makers will delay the change for as long as they can, unless someone (analyst) can show them that changing sooner will benefit more.