I recently heard Dan Heath of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard and Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die fame speak about change. Immediately the 2011 Bathroom Blogfest theme of 'climbing out' came to mind. Not just because it celebrates change, but also because it is provocative as Anna Farmery describes in The Provocative Nature of Social Media.
Change seems the norm lately. Although I welcome it, I yearn for a short hiatus... Absent the hiatus, I'll take advice on how to manage change so it remains a positive force. Enter Dan Heath!
A special note - I was delighted about this presentation because Cynthia Dean from Nufloors Coquitlam recommended Switch to me during a discussion this summer about customer experience best practices and effecting organizational change.
In opening the presentation, Heath observed that although change is hard, we genuinely welcome many changes [e.g., baby, marriage]; others we rebel against. So what is the difference? It has to do with the two systems in our brain:
- Rational conscious deliberative brain [the human rider]
- Emotional unconscious automatic brain [an elephant]
Successful and positive change calls for a 3-part framework as follows:
- Direct the rider [the rational tends to spin its wheels without direction] by figuring out what's working, finding the bright spots using data and obsessing over success so you can replicate it!
- Motivate the elephant through feeling and emotion.
- Shape the path, remove obstacles and create a culture that supports change. In other words, make 'yes' the path of least resistance. Examples: Amazon Buy Now 1-click; standing up for meetings so they don't drone on...
- Did you know that analyzing problems comes more naturally to us than understanding successes?
- Analyze/think/change tends to fail whereas see/feel/change succeeds.
- Change is not easy. Failure is part of the process. We struggle and adapt before changing successfully. Simply look at how a baby learns to walk.
To relate this advice back to social media, inbound marketing and getting found online, as difficult as business may be, customers are online searching for solutions. It's a matter, then, of finding the bright spots - which search terms connect them to your content? what wisdom helps them best as they progress through the buying cycle? Use your analytics to mine data. Test different approaches. Make it easy for them to find your information on your website.
As you pay closer attention to how visitors interact with your website content, give them the opportunity to share their stories. As you listen to them and learn from them, you'll be overwhelmed with the emotion that comes from putting all of the pieces in place correctly and successfully delighting your visitor. Try small steps to experiment. Think in terms of 'always in beta' rather than having to get it perfect.
As you experience your customers' delight, continue to find new ways to improve the experience and remove hurdles. Celebrate successes. Report back to customers and your organization on your improvements. Draw them into continuing to shape the path.
Before you know it, you will have climbed out, switched and effected change!
Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2011!