Being the chief internal marketer is nobody’s job. It’s not the kind of work anyone gets asked to do or compensated for. But it is important to the evolution of any organization. Being a change agent within the team, whether it’s are five, fifty or five hundred people, is always work worth doing. People who know how to effect behavioral change are the ones who stimulate growth on an operational level, enabling the culture and complexion of the organization to evolve. If you would you like to become one of those people, here are a collection of thoughts to consider as an internal marketer.
GERMINATION — Starting small with your big ideas, letting the seed of organizational change sprout over time
First, accept yourself as someone who can drive change. Decide that you are equal to this intellectual and interpersonal challenge. And keep telling yourself that trust your resources to make this happen. This may sound like positive mindset bullshit, but by being your own champion from the start, you will be able to keep your spirits high during the inevitable delays, discouragements and disruptions that show up along the way. Second, any effort to bring about change in an organization is often met with great resistance. It might even be view viewed as an attack. People may treat your ideas like a virus to the organizational immune system. Therefore, if you hire yourself as a change agent, prepare to be perceived as a disruptive force knocking the system out of homeostasis. It’s not personal, it’s just nobody like when the balance is upset. Because that typically means more work for them. Next, don’t go all in right away. Start small with your big ideas. Let the transformation seed germinate. Treat the change process as a slow burn. One way is by gradually making little changes that are almost imperceptible to most of the organization. Even if that means building a new page to the website that only customers can see, or adding new folder to the team directory that everyone can see. As long as you frame the ideas not as changes, but as efficiencies that are gained through making minor but crucial process tweaks, people’s resistance will be lower. This will train the team to trust you while creating a proven history of successes that you can leverage to build larger ideas atop of in the future.
One other thing to consider about germination. It’s important to remind yourself that you are, in fact, an internal marketer. Godin’s bestselling book on marketing says that marketers make change, in that they change people from one emotional state to another. Marketing is their quest to make change on behalf of those they serve. Does that sound like work worth doing to you? If so, just know this. Being a change agent takes time. Much longer than you’d like. Navigating the cultural dynamics that drive change in an organization is complicated, nuanced and frustrating. And so, expecting everyone to get it and jump on board probably won’t work. The only way your changes will succeed and thrive over the long haul is by helping the organization adapting little by little, just like a virus.
Successful change means making new myths. Internal marketing is, just like any form of marketing, a story, campaign and promotion. And when executed respectfully, consistently and passionately, really can make a difference. What have you done in the past thirty days to enable the culture and complexion of your organization to evolve?
Add value immediately on a new team
Lower people’s resistance to your creative suggestions
Create a proven history of small successes you can leverage to do larger projects
Stimulate growth on an operational level, enabling the culture and complexion of the team to evolve