April 11, 2012
Marketing technology and the pace of business are evolving more rapidly than ever before, says Jeffrey Hayzlett, former CMO of Eastman Kodak Company, digital thought leader and author of the best-selling book “The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing?”
“We must adapt or die,” he says. Communications professionals must take control of the situation to drive the direction of change in their organizations.
Hayzlett’s latest book is “Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits.” Here, he talks to The Strategist about acting as a change agent, setting expectations and the importance of innovation.
How can we best persuade communications professionals to be change agents for their business and then to sustain that momentum?
The first question should be, “Is change necessary?” Once that understanding has been established, taking steps to enact that change will convince business leaders of what is required for success.
The first step should be about changing the mood and the attitude within an organization. Start with yourself, and your teams will follow. Ensure that the mood and attitude reflect your brand or products.
As communications experts, it’s important for the people in your organization to understand where you’re going. Be clear, transparent and honest about your goals for the company, and you’re on your way to sustaining the momentum of change.
What advice would you provide to communications professionals who want to move up in their company —how do they kickstart that process?
Innovation is always key, so showing initiative by introducing new ways to drive business will get you recognized. For communications professionals, you can start by enhancing the organization’s online presence. Use social media platforms to illustrate how you can communicate to your customers and drive revenue for your company. You can do this extremely effectively with little to no budget, and you’re getting more engaged with your communities at the same time.
How can defining conditions of satisfaction help professionals move forward?
When driving change, it’s important to be clear about your expectations for success, so you need a barometer for gauging how it’s going. With your clients, defining clear and attainable mutual conditions of satisfaction will provide you with a reference guide throughout the course of your relationship. Conditions of satisfaction define what your mission is and where you want to go professionally and personally. They are like roadmaps for success.
Why is it necessary for professionals to rid themselves of fear and take control of situations?
Driving change can feel like you’re running the gauntlet; you will come up against obstructionists, backstabbers and opportunists who will do their best to stand in the way. People who don’t like change are going to fight it — blame, lies, gossip — because change makes them uncomfortable.
If you don’t rid yourself of fear or take control of a situation, then it’s going to take control of you. You need to create tension, constantly seek out ways to improve your business, learn new technologies that will drive revenue and always know where you’re going.