Are You a Change Maker?

How do you push past your comfort zone, through to your learning zone, and finally into the “magic” zone that allows for real change to take place? I watched this video the other day and found it quite interesting. Aside from how the wisdom in this video can be applied to one’s life from a personal perspective, it also has everything to do with marketing, as well as business in general:

According to the grandfather of modern marketing, Peter Drucker:

Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.

Therefore, the ability to make learning a continuous habit, create change, and adapt becomes a required and necessary approach for today’s modern marketing function (whether that process begins with the individual, the marketing strategy, or the business itself).

Change Begins with You

Contrary to what you might think, sparking change within the organization begins with YOU. According to marketing futurist Brian Solis, author of  The End of Business as Usual and What’s the Future of Business, the future of business begins with you. He writes:

We live in an era of what I refer to as Digital Darwinism, a time when technology and society are evolving faster than the ability of many organizations to adapt. Over the years, I’ve studied how disruptive technology affects consumer behavior and decision-making. I’ve also researched how businesses react (or don’t) to these changes … The future of business lies in the shift from a culture of management to that of leadership, and it begins with you.

In this post he shares an infographic containing list of shuttered corporations from the past 12 years that drives home the point about the need for creating change in order to remain relevant:

Shuttered Companies

In terms of defining a marketing strategy that can keep up with the needs of our time, it is now common knowledge that consumers have changed the way they approach their decision-making processes (see Google’s ZMOT theory). Rather than following a linear course to purchase such as through a mail order catalog, to dialing in a phone order, and receiving a shipment in the mail, customers now conduct a variety of research through a plethora of different channels before making a decision about what they’d like to purchase next, sometimes before they ever come into contact with the company selling that product. What to do?

There are many ideas and opinions. But chief among them is the fact marketing needs to swiftly encompass the digital realm. To this point, Mark Schaefer recently talked about the fact that marketing executives are falling behind the digital learning curve. He writes:

Many of today’s marketing executives grew up in a less-complicated and relatively mature world of TV and print advertising. Not only are they not digital experts, they may not even know enough to ask the right questions that will lead to a successful strategy … Some companies aren’t making it.  Kodak, the dominant market leader for decades could not make the transition to digital and is bankrupt … I think all of this activity confirms one of the themes of this blog — social media success is not going to be a function of marketing vision or budget. It’s going to rely on radical organizational transformation.”

In short, in order to learn more about how to keep up with change and remain competitive from a personal perspective, watch the above video. From an organizational perspective, this translates to the idea that companies should not only become “learning organizations,” but innovators.There have been countless books and articles written on these topics including Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, as well as this fine article I came across yesterday entitled “10 Practices from the Most Innovative Organizations.”

Now it’s your turn: how do you or how does your company keep up with learning? What types of activities do you engage in that force you to live outside of your comfort zone, that result in positive impact?

(Photo Credit 1); (Photo Credit 2)

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