Sunday, September 15, 2013

(Small) Change Management

Two years ago (October of 2011) I had a chance to Skype with Ian Alexander of EAT Agency. We talked about content strategy in great detail, and he mentioned change management as a core aspect of his process. It was the first time I’d heard the term used in reference to content strategy. But Ian is a smart guy, so I made a note to investigate further.

In retrospective, it’s pretty damn obvious how important change management is to content strategy. When Rahel Anne Bailie spoke at the June 2013 gathering of the Toronto Content Strategy Meetup, she went into explicit detail about how the City of Vancouver website redesign was in large part a change management exercise.

Photo by Rob Elliott of Swizzle Studios

When I was at Nurun, one of my co-workers pointed me to the Formula for Change. It multiplies dissatisfaction with the status quo against the future vision and the concrete steps required to execute that vision. If those three elements multiplied creates a number higher than the resistance to the proposed change, you’re in good shape.

For the last year I’ve been experimenting with change management in various ways. My favourite example involves actual change (of the spare variety). Inspired by some friends/relatives in Montreal, I started saving all loonies and toonies. At first this approach can cause a bit of a shock – if something costs $15.50 and I hand over a twenty, that’s four dollars I no longer have access to. Every day when I come home, I put these coins in a jar. I use that money for very specific things – buying transit tokens, the car wash and parking money. It’s a neat little budget hack.

The only problem with this example is that we’re moving toward a cashless society. So my example might not resonate for everyone. But I also signed up for a service through TD that deducts 75 cents from every debt transaction I make and transfers it into my savings account. I think of this as invisible change management which can also be highly effective.

If my blog accepted comments, I’d conclude by offering a penny for your thoughts on change management.