How a new change mindset will help marketing leaders.

This week’s announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown in the UK means that many of us are starting to think about more changes in how we live and work.

Feb 26, 2021

By Neil Davidson

But no matter where you are in the world you will be anticipating yet more change in 2021. There’s a lot to think about, including which changes in behaviours triggered in 2020 will stick and what they will mean for brands, our relationship with technology and, of course, how we will all want to work together in the future, physically and remotely.

Are the dominant change models right?

It’s time to look at change strategies and their execution as a result, yet again. Or is it? Maybe it’s time to take a moment to think about what we need to change and how we do change instead. The dominant model of change focuses on working on and planning out change in abstract and then executing it, when change hits the real world of people and organisations. However, it’s clear that this model isn’t working, as it’s estimated that up to 70% of change efforts fail.

It’s a sobering statistic for anyone involved in change, especially marketers. Changing behaviours is at the heart of what we do every day. But there’s good news for us in what many change experts say is lacking in current approaches, a lack of focus on changing mindset over changing things like structures, processes, and communications. Of course, this focus on changing mindsets should be obvious to any marketer.

Change mindsets to make change stick.

Much like external marketing work, organisational change can be more effective when we focus on understanding existing mindsets first and how they can help or block change, including our own. What most organisations typically overlook is the internal shift in people which must happen to make change strategies stick. The real barriers aren’t in resource and execution, they are in fixed beliefs, deeply held assumptions and blind spots. It’s also emotionally, in the fear and insecurity that change creates. The good news is that, as marketers know, these factors can be researched and understood, and there are now bespoke approaches and tools focused on researching mindset in organisations, and how this can accelerate or block change.

Start with your own mindset.

Change and transformation depends on transforming individuals, including ourselves. We need to spend time observing and understanding our own motivations, challenging assumptions, and current comfort zones before we can expect real change to happen in the people and organisations we spend our lives with. It’s a cliché, but change does really start with yourself. (Not strategies and tactics.)