After working as a marketing consultant for more than a decade, I know how exhilarating it is when a client really executes well on a strategy.
Unfortunately, I too often see deeply embedded cultural baggage weighing down a company’s full potential to succeed. Here are the common elements that make the difference between a strategy document gathering dust on a shelf or becoming a dynamic business driver:
1. Active executive sponsorship
I was recently brought in to do a social media strategy workshop with a big health care company. The president of the company greeted me and said: “I know we need to do this. We are counting on you to lead us in the right direction.” Not only did she verbally demonstrate support, she was actively engaged in the entire meeting and led the part of the program determining next steps. This active leadership is critical to organizational change.
There is no such thing as grass-roots cultural change. The person at the top must “get it” and make people accountable for the change. Measurable expectations for change must be driven into performance objectives. Here is the most important thing a leader can do to keep the change going week to week: Ask questions about it in staff meetings.
2. Immersive learning