Monthly Archives: December 2012

Business Marketing to Achieve Sales Success

Achieve sales success through exceptional business marketing!
What is marketing? According to the American Marketing Assn: “Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals.”
I’ve spent my entire career working in business marketing, and it truly amazes how few organizations actually understand how critically important marketing is to the achievement of their goals.
Marketing is the collective set of activities that an organization utilizes to establish and maintain its brand, while supporting the sales process. In a nutshell, marketing supports the sales effort in making your cash register go: “Cha-chinge!”
Historically, when we talked of the elements of a marketing “mix” of activities, we called it the “5-Ps” based on the following:
Product: What are the products and services that you offer.
Placement: How do you get your products in front of your customers.
Pricing: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Considerations on developing a well thought out pricing plan involve developing a commercial pricing strategy that offers pricing based on the size of the organization you sell to? What about special (discounted) pricing options for academic institutions, non-profits, Government agencies? Do you offer tiered (discounted) pricing options for people who buy bundles/packages of your products and do you offer staged discounts based on purchasing more frequently or more products per average order? Does your pricing has built into it a return on your investment (reflects your profit margins?) Customers have greater control than ever to dictate the terms of the pricing you charge.
Promotions: What special campaigns do you offer your products and services for discounted pricing? Typically there is a seasonality to promotions tied to special times of years,
but you can offer promotions to spike sales during your down sales times, or to move your excess inventory. An example would be car dealerships that offer end of year sales to get rid of that year’s excess stock in their dealership.
Packaging: for physical goods, the packaging is a critical component of the overall product esp. when it comes to aesthetic considerations. Have you ever seen a Tiffanys’ box?
Some people suggest that the marketing mix reflects your PEOPLE. This would take you to 6Ps, but if you consider packaging as part of your product, then we’re back to 5Ps. With the commercialization of the internet in the 1990s, two additional elements become staples of effective business marketing. interactivity and individualization! Consider these the 2-Is that supplement your 5-P marketing mix. These MUST be considered fundamental aspects of a successful marketing programs.
Interactivity: Nowadays it’s critically important that organizations interact with their customers (esp. their BEST customers) on an ongoing basis.
The communication flow between you and your customers must be successful in THREE directions as follows:
1) From your organization to its customers;
2) From your customers to your organization; and
3) Between your customers (with you monitoring those conversations VERY closely.)
It is important to remember that it’s your customers who will determine how much interaction you have with them.
There has been a fundamental shift in marketing from a one way conversation where the organization used a broadcast, ONE WAY dialog to bombard their customers with marketing messages using TV, radio, and newspapers to an interactive marketing dynamic using the internet which fosters debate, exchange and CONVERSATION!
Individualization: With today’s software and file sharing tools, you must be able to send out marketing messages to as many people as possible at once, yet customize the message to each individual. This is referred to as “mass customization” so you gain economies of scale by communicating with as many prospects, clients, suppliers, vendors, the media, possible,
all the while making people feel as though you are speaking directly to them. The customer decides how they want to customize their experiences with your organization.
What is “internet marketing?”
“Internet marketing is the process of building and maintaining customer relationships through online activities to facilitate the change of ideas, products, and services that satisfy the goals of both parties.”
With the proliferation of social media, organizations now have significantly more tools in their business marketing arsenal.
It’s critically important that you understand social media is NOT “selling.” This is a major issue with the businesses I coach. Social media is a tool to be used to build your brand while you build “RELATIONSHIPS” with your customers. The organizations that truly “get” social media use it creatively to share information, provide resources, educate, entertain, and inform their audiences.
If you accomplish this, they MAY buy from you. If you use it only to try to sell to them, they’ll turn on you then away from you. The internet and social media allow organizations to connect with wide segments of the consuming public on individual levels. So much so that older, more traditional marketing vehicles (print, radio, TV advertising) are getting left behind.
for example, crowd sourcing websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are allowing people who invest in your start-up to become your customers when you first launch your new business. These online investor communities allow your investors to be your first customers and offer you suggestions on ways to improve your products and services as you launch your business.
Therefore, many entrepreneurs who launch a new business more than likely will have a customer base, making traditional marketing expenditures an unnecessary investment for generating new customers. You build and maintain lasting customer relationships through the following FOUR STAGE cycle:
1) Awareness: Before your customers purchase from you, they have to know you exist;
2) Exploration / Expansion: Before they feel comfortable buying from you they are going to want to try your stuff, thus free trials are important to get to the next stage;
3) Commitment: Once they know you and feel comfortable with what you have to offer, only then will they buy from you; and
4) Dissolution: At some point the relationship will end, either by your doing or your customer’s.
The goal here is to determine through your marketing which customers are your most profitable (and loyal) and target programs to them to keep them engaged, happy, and buying from you (as well as making those always important referrals.) To create successful marketing programs you should follow this “Seven step” plan:
1) Frame/identify the market opportunity;
2) Create the marketing strategy;
3) Design the customer experience;
4) Create the customer interface;
5) Design the marketing program;
6) Get customer information using technology; and
7) Evaluate program results.
What is a “Market?”
A market is the set of all actual and potential buyers who have sufficient interest in, income for, and access to your products/services.
What it means to segment a market.
Market segmentation divides your market into distinct groups of homogenous consumers who all have similar needs and consumer behavior, and thus require similar marketing mixes.
Many organizations fund their marketing at ridiculously low levels. They allocate perhaps 1-2% of their annual sales to marketing. However, world-class marketing organizations (Nike, Apple, Google, Starbucks) allocate significantly more, between 5-10% of their annual revenues to marketing. Why is it so important to fund your marketing at this level? In today’s global marketplace, the one true lasting competitive advantage many organizations have is their brand.
People buy BRANDS, NOT products! Research shows we humans make purchase decisions on subconscious levels, then justify/validate our decisions with product features, functionality. Marketing enables your business to build those strong emotional relationships with your core customers, the 20% who purchase 80% of your stuff.
Definitions of branding abound. I prefer the powerfully simple and elegant explanation that branding is the act of making a “PROMISE.” you promise that what you offer will be truly unique, memorable, and invaluable.
Why brands are so important to consumers.
By building strong brands you will connect with your customers, because brands are critical to them. Following are key benefits from brands that customers gain:
* Reduces the cost associated with searching for products internally (how much to think about them) and externally (how much to look for them)
* Define product/service qualities
* Present product/service characteristics
* Chance to “connect” with product maker
* Sign of “perceived” quality…PRESTIGE
* Help consumers organize their knowledge about a product to clarify their decision-making and thus adds value to firms.
If you’re not delivering on these levels, then you’re nothing more than a “ME TOO” player who only competes on price. when you can only differentiate as the low price leader, you will fail. Today’s global 24x7x365 markets are unforgiving to those who REFUSE to adapt. Marketing is the tip of the spear in continuously offering a truly compelling USP (unique selling proposition.)
In today’s marketing world, it is more important than ever to create online communities for your customers.
Small business owners therefore MUST learn how to become online community managers.
Great Resources For Your 2013 Marketing Plan.
* eMarketing Assn.
* International Internet Marketing Assn.
* “The Worldwide Rave” book by David Meerman Scott
* John Battelle’s Search Blog
* Frederick Newell’s book on Customer Relationship Management in the Internet Era
* Awesome video on the future of the Internet (Web 3.0)
Here is to a great, successful, achievement-filled 2013!
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

Make Next Year GREAT Through Personal Transformation

Make 2013 the year you finally transform yourself, change your life, and make a difference to the world!
If you’ve been following me and reading my blogs, you know that I checked out of Corporate America after 20 years in 2008, after being downsized from Time Warner Cable. After A LOT of introspection, self-assessment and personal exploration, I realized that I wasted a majority of my career in the private sector helping corporations make more money. The loyalty that I exhibited to those organizations was never reciprocated. After being downsized EIGHT times, I had an epiphany and thus began my own personal transformation.
Beginning in 2009, I committed to The Chazin Group career coaching and business consulting on an “all in” full-time basis. I chose to spend the rest of my career helping others achieve their personal dreams and professional pursuits. First I authored the book: “Bulletproof Your Career in These Turbulent Times.” To date, I have helped 12,000 people pursue their passions by changing careers, finding new jobs, and re-entering the workforce.
I have also coached over 750 people achieve their life’s calling of entrepreneurship by going out on their own to plan, launch and grow successful business ventures, and consulted with 500 organizations how to unleash their people’s untapped talents through training and professional development.
During the past four years, I have never worked harder, experienced such highs (and LOWS) or been as fully engaged at ANY point in my professional career as I have running my own business and helping others!
Since Most People Hate Their Jobs, Why Do They Refuse to Change?
If you polled 100 people randomly and asked them if they were truly happy, maybe five would tell you they are.
The sad truth is most people muddle through life in a state of perpetual comatose existence, never fully engaged in their lives and feeling little sense of purpose. They lack a personal mission or belief they can change the world or simply make a difference. Many people that I have tried to encourage to change their lives by pursuing their passions have long ago given up such lofty notions in the pursuit of a regular paycheck.
It is my sincere wish that EVERY person reading this article would commit to making this year the year that they FINALLY decided to act on their dreams that they buried deep inside themselves. Here’s how you can make THIS YEAR the year you finally achieve your own PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION:
personal transformation 2
Think differently: This is the most basic, fundamental criteria that will determine your success or failure in implementing significant change in your life. First off, begin to think positively about yourself as a standard practice. Have complete faith in your abilities to thrive in chaos and embrace change to achieve success in your life. Once you begin doing this, extend your approach to think more positively about others. An entire field of study called the Albert Ellis school of psychotherapy, teaches we MUST NOT think that everything good SHOULD happen to us. Rather, think that it would “BE NICE” if positive things happened and we would prefer if people did what we wanted. By Thinking that good things SHOULD happen, you set yourself up for disappointment when they DON’T. Should implies MUST. When things DON’T work out the way we tell ourselves they MUST, we feel frustrated and angry.
This therapeutic approach established by Ellis is based on rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), the pioneering form of cognitive behavior therapy. REBT is an action-oriented psychotherapy that teaches individuals to identify, challenge, and replace their self-defeating thoughts and beliefs with healthier thoughts that promote emotional well-being and goal achievement. Look into it!
* Turn your hobbies/interests into a side business: You know those things you do evenings and weekends that you derive pleasure out of and are really good at (those LEGAL things :-)) Turn them into a side business. The 21st century Ebay home-based business culture is IDEALLY suited for you to launch a hobby as a start-up business venture. Explore work from home businesses and franchises. Consider selling your “stuff” (creations) at bazaars, street fairs, flea markets, even personal parties (Lia Sofia, Pampered Chef, Avon, Mary Kay, etc.)
* Get active by engaging your community: You know all the volunteering you do? Start thinking of those things you do that could conceivably be cultivated into personal ventures to explore. Make your civic duty and community engagement pay off for you. This is how I broke into teaching in colleges and Universities. I started giving talks at local high Schools, adult education and vocational centers. That’s how I became a professor at St. John’s, NYU, Fordham, Baruch, and Hunter Colleges.
* Coaching, mentoring, and teaching truly matters: There are so many opportunities to engage your local community and “Do Good.” Who can you help in your town? How can you make a true difference and change the world?
* Go out on your own: If you work in an organization that you are responsible for making/maintaining contacts, generating business, serving clients, managing accounts, dealing with vendors, suppliers, the media…you are already in a position to convert that into your OWN business start-up venture. Write a business plan and pitch the idea as a way get your company to invest in your plan. If they refuse, leave and take your business plan with you.
* Stop Listening to the HEAD TRASH: You know all those little negative things that you say to yourself about yourself? Guess what? We ALL do that! It’s such a pervasive part of our human psyche that researchers have given it a name. It’s called “HEAD TRASH.” From now on you are NOT allowed to speak negatively to yourself about yourself. It’s self-destructive and causes you to stop pursuing your dreams, so STOP IT! I would suggest you even take this approach a step further. Make this the year that you remove all of the people in your social network from your lives who are negative by nature and always tell you to give up, not take risks, don’t pursue opportunities. If you aren’t willing to remove them completely then you need to tell them that you cannot deal with their negativity. Let them decide if they wish to remain a part of your life, then they will have to modify their behavior at the least when they interact with you.
* Embrace your fear of change: I have written extensively on the importance of adapting to change as a constant factor in our lives.
* Figure Out What Works and What Doesn’t Work: Invest time thinking about your successes and failures this past year. The goal is to try and emulate/repeat the things you were successful at, while limiting your failures. Einstein defined insanity as the act of doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Once you know what DOESN’T work for you, change your course of action.
Set Goals And Make Them Happen: Set no more than 10 goals for yourself for the entire year, then spend 2013 making sure you achieve them. Make sure these are all STRETCH goals that you have strive towards with major effort, in order to have any chance of achieving.
* Stop Limiting Yourself With Self-Doubt: You need to always have the mindset that you can achieve great things. We get into trouble when we impose artificial limitations on ourselves. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Once you doubt yourself, you’ve already failed.
Implementing major change is scary. It’s in our DNA…or rather, our brain. Check out my last blog if you haven’t read why we hate change because it hurts our brains. The bottom line is, these past four years have damaged us in ways none of us can understand. It’s time we all commit to making 2013 the year we FINALLY allow ourselves to be TRULY HAPPY.
happy new year 2013
Make the leap in 2013 for true personal transformation! Jump into the deep end of the personal transformation pool. Do a cannon ball! Take the plunge! It may be January, but the water’s lovely. You’ll LOVE pursuing your passions and turning those long dormant dreams into reality!
Here is to a great, successful, achievement-filled 2013!
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

Why We Can't Manage Change: Blame Our Brains

Manage Change to Thrive in Today’s Chaos!
In order to learn how to embrace change and thrive in environments of perpetual chaos like we find ourselves in today, we need to answer the question: “Why do we humans hate change so much, and resist it so fervently?” What is this deep-seeded fear that we have of the unknown? Why do we have such a pathological fear of change? For an acceptable answer, don’t look to business consultants or organizational development gurus for answers. Instead, we must look to science. Specifically, we can BLAME OUR BRAINS.
New research about our brains reveals exactly why change is so hard for us to achieve, and what we can do to harness how our brain works so we can gain keen insights into how we can best manage change to unleash our trapped creativity, and significantly improve the levels of performance in the workplace and our lives in general. CIO Magazine ran a story focusing on research conducted by Results Coaching Systems’ founder David Rock and research psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz into the “neuroscience of change.” Their findings uncovered critically important strategies we can all adopt, in order to make change easier to embrace.
Why Change Is So Painful to Us.
Manage change? How can we? We all know how much change hurts. It causes us physical and psychological discomfort. Here’s why…when we encounter change, it literally lights up an area of our brain called the PREFRONTAL CORTEX (the PC.), Think about the PC like the RAM memory in a PC. The prefrontal cortex is fast and agile. It can store multiple threads of logic at once, enabling us to make computations quickly.
But like RAM, our PC’s capacity is limited. It can deal comfortably with only a handful of concepts, before we max out our capacity. When we reach our PC limit, that bumping up against a ceiling generates a physiological sense of discomfort. That discomfort produces fatigue in us, and can even lead us to feel anger towards the change.
That’s because the PC is tightly linked to the primitive emotional centers of our brain called the AMYGDALA. The amygdala controls our fight-or-flight response.
The PC crashes easily because it burns lots of fuel of the high-octane variety, glucose, or blood sugar. Glucose is metabolically expensive for our bodies to produce. Given the high energy cost of running our PC, our brain would rather run off its hard drive, called the BASAL GANGLIA (BG.) Our BG has a much larger storage capacity than our PC does. Basal Ganglia “sips”, not chugs glucose. Our Basal Ganglia stores all of our saved memories and the functions we perform most frequently – those things like shaving, bathing, brushing our teeth, etc. that dominate our daily lives.
“Most of the time the basal ganglia are more or less running the show,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, research psychiatrist at the School of Medicine at UCLA. “It controls habit-based behavior that we don’t have to think about doing.” Here’ the critical piece to how this all affects your work…
We rely on our Basal Ganglia to control MOST of the repetitive tasks associated with our jobs.
The interplay between our basal ganglia and the PC explains the tremendous resistance we humans have to implementing change.
Doing what we know and are familiar with hurts less, because its comfortingly predictable. Doing things the old way, the way we’ve always done it before is performed by our basal ganglia and that requires us to burns much less less glucose than forcing us to manage (deal with) change which would force the prefrontal cortex to have to get working.
I deal with many organizations that have rightfully realized they have to manage change in order to remain competitive. While that is not only admirable but a mission-critical imperative for success in 2013 and beyond, simply demanding that your people change is NOT enough. This research into our neural network proves then telling them they have to change without showing them how to simply sets off their PC hair-trigger connection to the amygdala, which causes us discomfort, pain, and yes, RESISTENCE.
“The more you try to convince people that you’re right and they’re wrong, the more they push back,” says Rock. Even well-meaning advice quickly raises warning flags in the PC that it is soon going to become overloaded and exhausted. “Our brains are so complex that it’s rare for us to be able to see any situation in exactly the same way,” says Rock. “So when we get advice from people, we’re always finding ways that the advice doesn’t match up with our own experience or expectations.”
So, what can you do to embrace and manage change effectively? One way that I help teams get past their PC’s defenses is help them understand the environments they work in, and talk about the root causes of change and what the possible outcomes might be. Addressing people’s underlying fears help, and creating a nurturing, supportive culture that embraces risk-taking, awarding people who “FAIL GREATLY” and feel a sense of ownership towards their work product goes a long way.
A very effective organizational strategy is to create a workplace that encourages people providing ideas to change the systems, fix processes, work more productively, and find solutions. A very powerful tool for alleviating people’s discomfort in firing up the PC is to not only manage change but aggressively pursue it. Have your people ask “WHY?” and “What If?” to force them to explore uncharted waters.
We have been faced with historical change and the future will become even more chaotic. Creating cultures that manage change by teaching employees how to resolve the discomfort they feel towards change will help to maximize individual performance and adapt to constant change.
For additional information, please look into “neuroleadership” and the “neuroscience of change.”
Here is to a great, successful, achievement-filled 2013!
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

Your 2013 Business Strategic Planning

You Must PLAN to Make 2013 GREAT!.
How are you going to make next year GREAT? Can your life be PLANNED?
No, this is not another one of those annoying end-of-year, goal-setting advice columns we ALL hate!
What this post IS about is charting a new course to a desired future, by creating your own personal strategic planning guide. Have you planned what you’re going to do next year, to change your life? Want to change the world? GREAT, but how are you going to accomplish that? Through strategic planning.
In order to achieve true change, we all have to PLAN our strategy to achieve success. After all…a plan that isn’t written down is only a DREAM.
You won’t be able to achieve your goals until you commit them to writing. Every day I work with people to help them plan their career strategies, and their business strategic planning initiatives. I see first-hand how few people actually make the effort to write a plan so they can chart their progress against tangible benchmarks.
Most people leave their fate (their very FUTURES) to chance, as they fly by the seat of their pants. Somehow, without a plan they still miraculously expect positive things to simply “happen” to them. They react to situations life presents, rather than chart a course for success by actively managing their future.
Visualization is the Key to Success!.
The first thing you need to do is visualize a future in which you are fully “ENGAGED” and are pursuing your life’s passions by doing what you love to do. Close your eyes! Go ahead. It’s what world-class athletes do, in order to see themselves being successful. So, close your eyes. Good! What does such a future look like? Write down everything. Are you working for someone else? Yes? What are they like? What is the organization’s culture? Does it fit into your personal values and beliefs? What are the people like? Where is your workplace? What are you doing?
Now that you have a detailed image of your ideal workplace, conduct research on 18-32 organizations (ideally 6-8 firms in each of your 3-4 preferred target industries) that fulfill your needs. You are developing your very own personal career strategic planning document, which I create for my job search clients.
Do you want to start your own business? If yes, then ask yourself: “Why do I want to start this type of business now?” Another excellent question to prime the pump: “What makes me uniquely qualified to be successful launching this business?” Asking such brutally honest questions will help you to identify a potential niche you might fill in your chosen industry.
You need TWO things in order to plan, launch, and grow a successful business. The first thing you must have is the passion/energy to see your business planning through from idea generation (concept development) all the way through to successful launch/commercialization. The other thing you must have is the technical expertise and know-how (proficiency) to navigate launching the business. Where your technical skills overlap with your passions is your ideal “SWEET SPOT” of potential business ventures that you should pursue. Being passionate but lacking expertise is futile, and being an expert in a field but lacking passion is also a recipe for failure!
Time for Goal-Setting.
To plan anything, you must write down your short-term (next 3 months) and longer term goals. For job seekers, I recommend your own personal 40-year plan (let me know if you want a copy.) Begin by stating your current situation and then go forward in 5 year increments to define what your ideal future career benchmark looks like at that point in as much detail as possible. For entrepreneurs, small business owners and start-ups take classes! Check out WIBO, the NYC Business Solutions Center, SUNY Levin Institute Fast Trac program, Small Business Administration.
Engage your college/University Alumni Relations department for professional business networking, join relevant trade associations, explore business incubators that are popping up all over the place, and find your local Small Business Development Center and Economic Development Center, as well as your local business merchant associations like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Elks Club, Kiwanis Club.
Go Back to School.
Sign up to take classes in a continuing education and professional studies program that will provide you with the skills you need to plan, launch and grow your business. Some good ideas include professional selling, public speaking, business communications, social media, internet marketing, blogging, financial planning, operations, etc.
Create a TO-DO List.
Using a task list is an excellent strategy to employ, in order to keep track of all the things that you need to accomplish. It will also enable you to monitor your progress in achieving results. A comprehensive action plan includes the following:
* List of tasks with descriptions for each;
* Start & End dates;
* Priority level (1 is a top priority, 2 is a VERY important task, and a 3 is a get it done when you can);
* Status (open, planned, in progress, completed);
* Owner (the person responsible for completing the task);
* Contributors (those people you will need help from, in order to complete the task); and
* Contingencies (anything that will prevent you from accomplishing the task (lack of resources, funding, expertise, time, etc.)
Get Started TODAY!.
Start your planning NOW! January first is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. Are you an entrepreneur, start up working on a new business venture? Email me for my business planning template guide for step-by-step instructions on how to craft a compelling business plan.
Want to make 2013 a success? It all starts with PLANNING! Put your eggnog and those Christmas tree lights down right now. Start writing your 2013 strategic planning document. Do not watch “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Instead, fill your life with miracles by planning.
Here is to a great, successful, achievement-filled 2013!
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

Business Transformation Demands Change for Lasting Success

We cannot be creative and achieve significant transformation without embracing change.
Humans are creatures of habit. We search for and embrace the familiar. It is critical that we derive meaning and order from our lives. Why else would we sit in the same seats in school, take the same path to work each and every day, buy the same brands when so many options face us
“Change is the only constant.” Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
However, we evolved/adapted as a species because it is literally embedded in our DNA. Nature demands that we change. Nature gravitates toward perpetual disorder. In science the term for a gradual decline into disorder is called “entropy.”
“Change and conflict are the only real constants.” David Packard, HP Co-founder.
We are MOST successful when we embrace chaos and pursue change. Darwin wrote of this as survival of the fittest. Humans therefore straddle two worlds, one in which we demand order and the other in which we thrive on change. It is in our best interest that we aggressively pursue the unfamiliar. Humans are a direct result/product of the ability to evolve and adapt. Because people avoid uncertainty/ unpredictability we DEMAND new stimulus (disconfirming forces) to break our equilibrium.
In the IBM business culture of the 1950s, it was the goal of American workers to find and keep gainful employment with the goal of remaining in one single organization until they retired. doesn’t this sound almost “quaint” given the average American will change jobs 10 times by the time they reach 35 years of age these days. Today’s job search requires a one to two year search to perhaps land a temporary contract gig of a few months. This has become our “NEW normal.”
A critical question that affects each and every one of us is: “What is the future of human adaptation?” How will YOU adapt in your career, your business, your life? Our species achieves truly amazing things when we set out to willingly and aggressively embrace change. Consider: we are close to solving the human gene sequencing project, and have achieved tremendous advancements in the areas of artificial intelligence, advances in technology, super-computing, mapping the human brain and neural networks, and robotics. We have explored space and the human brain.
Business transformation is an extremely hot topic these days, given the unrelenting pressure business leaders face from intense global competition, rapidly evolving technologies, the pervasive 24-7-365 Internet and 24-hour news cycle. The ubiquity of social media with its concurrent global trend towards user-generated content as a means of counter-balancing (usurping???) the power of the media as the Fourth Estate affects each and every organization’s to build and maintain compelling brands.
Change is our NEW NORMAL given constantly changing regulatory landscapes, nations being torn apart by internal strife between ruling classes, religions, social classes and a constant shifting in lowest cost labor markets, as industry seeks out the cheapest talent pools of highly educated and well-trained contract-based workers. How businesses and business owners adapt dictate how successful their organizations are…and ARE NOT. Global multinational corporations once deemed too big to fail are doing so with much greater frequency (Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Borders, Circuit City, etc.)
We all have a fearful, almost pathological fear of change. To help others to implement change, you as a leader must first help others to manage their fear of change before you can implement change. Kurt Lewin studied the human behavior of change avoidance back in the 1950s. “For any type of social management, it is of great practical importance that levels of quasi-stationary equilibria can be changed in two ways: by adding forces in the desired direction, or by diminishing opposing forces.” – Kurt Lewin in “Human Relations in Curriculum Change.” Sourced from
John Kotter developed an EIGHT step process for business owners, leaders, and professionals that are tasked with implementing change within their organizations. Two researchers (W. Warner Burke and George Litwin) developed a critically important change model that you as a business owner/leader can follow for understanding how to implement change within your organization.
Check out this fascinating article on the overwhelming task that Louis Gerstner faced in changing the culture at IBM in the early 1990s from computer maker to global consulting firm. Here’s a brief video of Lou Gerstner being interviewed on the same topic.
So what will it be? Run from change as a Pavlovian response to uncertainty or accept it as a given and embrace it as a means of achieving true lasting competitive advantage. Failure to act is a guaranteed recipe for disaster.
Here’s to your continued success as we head into the holidays and plan for a GREAT 2013!
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach