John P. Kotter outlines in Leading Change the essential steps necessary to guide change to transform businesses, and the extensive time required to ensure long-term success. The tedious change process requires dedication and focus in order to combat human nature’s resistance to change. The people impacted most by the change are sometimes the point of opposition to the change. Like the eight things that can impede transformation listed in Leading Change, those too are items that can be the demise of an innovative environment – why innovation fails.
I reread this article because I’m in the mist of implementing change at my new company, T2 Technology Group – soon to be renamed T2 Tech Group. After a thorough review of T2 Tech’s brand, identity and logo as their new marketing director it was obvious an overhaul was necessary. The best branding today is based on a strong idea. Our idea was there, but there wasn’t a consistency between that idea and our message or the brand’s visual identity.
One barrier to success that struck a chord with me within Kotter’s article was the importance of communication during time of change . The article Leading Change states, “Helping people see the right connections requires communication.” Communication failures can be the demise of innovation and change, and those breakdowns can happen in a number of ways.
Glitches in communication typically fall into three buckets:
- Lack of communication regarding the change. Here, the right constituents do not get the message.
- A fundamental flaw with the message itself being communicated about the change. For example, a vision for the future or the reason for the change must have a strategy and a reason that appeals to customers, stockholders or employees.
- Wrongfully used mediums used to deliver the change communication. For example, if executives are not “walking the walk”, their actions are a communication medium to subordinates that is in conflict with progression needed for that change.
Organizational change that leads to innovation succeeds because of a compilation of factors. Because no business survives over the long term if it can’t reinvent itself, the fundamental driver of success is a will to survive, both a will of the people on the front-end of the business, as well as a will of leadership.
After the T2 Tech leadership bought into my change recommendation, I created a timeline for our internal and external launch of new brand assets (#3). Last Friday, the company came together and I revealed our new logo and how we were reinventing ourselves. I was transparent on reasoning for the change and how it aligned with the company’s vision (#1 & #2). Next week, we launch the brand externally and it’s time to walk the walk (#3).