A good account man changes stuff that isn’t working.
A great account man changes how an organization thinks together with his/her team/clients.
But what are the key steps to manage change. I came across some great stuff by John Kotter that I can summarize below :
1) Establish a sense of urgency
– make objectives real & relevant
– help others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately
– identify crises, potential crises or major opportunities
2) Pull together the guiding team (a powerful guiding colalition)
– assemble a group with enough power & the right skills to lead the change effort (think Oceans 11 here)
– encourage the group to work together as a team
3) Create a vision
– develop the vision with the team to help direct the change effort
– develop strategies for achieving that vision
4) Communicate the vision
– use every mechanism and involve as many people as possible to communicate the new vision & strategies for understanding/achieving buy in.
– communicate the essentials, simply, to appeal and respond to peoples needs
5) Empower others to act
– remove obstacles/barriers to change
– change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision
– encourage risk taking & non traditional ideas, activities & actions
– recognise & reward progress/achievements
6) Plan & create short term wins
– set aims that are easy to achieve for visible performance improvements
– create those improvements in bite sized chunks
– finish current stages before starting new ones
7) Don’t let up
– foster & encourage determination and persistence
– consolidate improvements & produce more change
– used increased credibility to change systems, structures & policies that don’t fit the vision
– highlight achieved & future milestones
8) Make change stick
(institionalise new approaches)
– weave change into the culture
– articulate connection between new behaviours & corparate succcess
– develop the means to ensure leadership development & succession
– reinforce the value of successul change via recruitment, promotion & new change leaders who can implement the vision
Change fails when:
– we allow too much complexity.
– failure to understand a clear vision
– failure to clearly communicate that vision
– permitting roadblocks against that vision
– not planning for short term results & not realising them
– declaring victory too soon
– failure to anchor change.
One of the best books (personally) that I’ve ever read on this topic is Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson. It should be a welcome addition to any account handling kit bag & contains my favourite life rule – ‘smell the cheese often’.