Evaluate Organizational Readiness for Healthy Business Change

As I step into a new year, I like to level set. This shows me areas where I should stay the course and where I should course correct. Once I learn these things, it’s important to act as soon as I realize the need for change, as the old Chinese proverb says:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

But before I take any action to change, I take one pivotal step — I assess my readiness for personal change:

Do I have a plan? Have I defined what success or satisfaction looks like? Do I have the tools and support needed to be successful?

Assessing readiness of cross-channel marketing efforts

For digital marketers, it’s the same. It’s common for such evaluations to lead to the desire to centralize cross-channel marketing efforts and course correct on current cross-channel strategies (or further incorporate cross-channel into overall digital strategy). Regardless, the question one must first ask is, “Am I ready?”

Many marketers think they are. They understand what is needed to support an effective cross-channel strategy — content management; a centralized cross-channel platform; a single, accessible view of the customer; analytics tools for data mining and attribution; and a team to bring it all to life. However, understanding these cross-channel enablers is one thing, being truly ready and open to change is another.

Last year, I was fortunate to present at Adobe Summit, as well as on a webinar with Cathy McKnight of the Digital Clarity Group, where the topic was organizational readiness for cross-channel marketing. Here’s part of Cathy’s talk track that struck me:

“The companies most likely to succeed are those that see changes in processes, technology, or trends as opportunities to evolve their business rather than individual events that need to be managed. To embrace this approach means understanding your organization’s skill sets, technology, and goals and how each impact the other. Knowing where you are today helps you plan and be ready for what tomorrow might bring in this era of digital disruption.”

In today’s world, delivering relevant and meaningful experiences in every interaction with customers across all channels is about capitalizing on these opportunities, continually asking as an organization, “Are we ready? Are we prepared?”

Making it happen

To help marketers assess their readiness for cross-channel marketing, we worked with Cathy to create tools and checklists to help determine readiness and preparedness that will help marketers understand whether their processes are optimized for efficiency and effectiveness, as well as readiness for a technology change. The tools are split into three sections:

  1. Organizational Readiness: Criteria for a company’s readiness to implement a campaign management solution.
  2. Adoption Readiness: Status of core activities that point to a company’s readiness to adopt and evolve its use of a campaign management solution.
  3. Action Readiness: Current state of marketing and organizational activities that are indicators to a company’s readiness to leverage a campaign management tool to mature in its customer experience delivery.

Cathy’s advice is that if you decide to use these tools, you should share the checklists and grids with stakeholders across the organization who have an interest or are/will be impacted by a campaign management solutions. Have the various stakeholders and/or stakeholder teams identify — via highlighting or circling — the points on the grid that they feel best reflects the current situation.

Responses should be reviewed by the individual teams, as well as in comparison to other teams, and as a collective to get additional insights into where there are synergies and gaps among the team members’ perceptions of available skills, strategy, and technology.

Then, share the results with:

Once the assessment has been complete, teams can look to the next stage across the rows to see recommendations for what is needed to attain the next level of preparedness. You’re then prepared to make wise decisions on which areas to change and how.

Then — and only then — are you ready to act.

Whenever you decide to embark on a cross-channel strategy or take the next step with your current one, start with assessing your readiness. Doing this will help you and your team align on vision, strategy, and goals. It will also set you up for success in your teams, processes, and technology. As Cathy says, “When done right, it will result in a business that is more aligned with customer demands and resilient in the fast-moving digital future.”