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FEInsights: The Challenge of Change

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By: Howard Tiersky 
It's not
crazy to think that today's large, pre-internet enterprises might be doomed. A
digital tidal wave of change is sweeping the world, and startups and tech
companies keep out-innovating previous industry leaders. It can sometimes feel
like today's global giants are like Gulliver the Giant, being strapped to the
ground by the tiny people around him.
You may well
be struggling right now to drive some sort of change, innovation, or digital
transformation within your organization. Why is it so hard? And what's the
secret to getting big companies to successfully transform?
Did
you know, it takes an aircraft carrier nine
miles
to turn around. That's a pretty big distance. And for the carrier to
turn around that quickly, it causes a
lot of disruption, throwing waves and creating a lot of noise. If you're on
that ship, you're hanging out at a pretty steep angle, probably some people are
getting seasick.
If
you've ever remodeled your kitchen you know that the disruption it creates can
be truly awful.
The
bottom line is, change is uncomfortable.
Even if the result of the change sets
us up for a great future, most people don't warm up to it quickly.
As an innovator, you might have a
blind spot in understanding the idea that most people are averse to change,
because you probably like to change!
You have to remember that you're in the minority, and to make change happen,
you'll need to influence the majority
(who don't have the natural enthusiasm for change that you do.)
And it's critical that you do influence
the majority, because it isn't just that people don't like change, they
actively resist it. They create rationalizations that it isn't needed, warn
against its dangers and, if a change is approved, will go so far as to sabotage
it. Why? People fear change that will threaten their jobs. For company
management, who have built their empires using the status quo, progress doesn't
sound great in comparison.
I learned this the hard way while
working with Blockbuster. Ten years ago, when they were in their prime, my team
and I were asked to help lead a digital transformation effort to define the
future of their business. The vision that we crafted looked a lot like Netflix
looks today, including on-demand video and original programming. But the people
in charge of the stores, who held most of the power, were very resistant. They
believed the key to the future was to invest in and improve the store experience. Without their support,
the change couldn't succeed. The transformation died and, unfortunately,
Blockbuster along with it. 
The upside? My team and I learned
many things during this process that has enabled us to help other companies
avoid similar fates.
So, if people don't like change, but
change is essential to survival, how do you get them to change?
To successfully drive change, you
need to:
1.      Create a burning platform for change,
so that failing to change is more painful than the change itself.
2.      Create a compelling vision of the
future, after the change is complete.
3.      Give people the confidence that they
will be successful
4.      Give people the opportunity to help
create the change, and not be a victim of it
IIR
has asked me to talk to you about digital transformation at the Front
End of Innovation Conference
in Boston this May, because of the work from
has done in helping large enterprises achieve successful, ambitious digital
transformation projects. At the conference we'll be providing a lot more detail
around how to execute on these strategies as well as other challenges to
enterprise innovation.
I'd love to hear your biggest
challenges in this area ' leave them in the comments! And if you connect with
me on Twitter (@Tiersky) or send an email, I'll send you a discount code to
use for your Front End of Innovation conference registration.
About the Author: Howard Tiersky is a Digital Transformation Consultant, Keynote
Speaker, and Founder of FROM, The Digital Transformation Agency. 
FROM helps clients develop and optimize digital experiences for shopping,
banking, travel and entertainment ' online, on location, and everywhere you
need to be to engage the next generation of digital consumers.

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