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Change Management Unveiled: Insights From the Recent TVB Webinar

November 9th, 2017   ||    by John R. Osborn   ||    No Comments

A recent Videa-sponsored Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) webinar on change management explored challenges and possible solutions within the evolving business of local TV buying and selling. Here, three participants recap some of the key insights and strategies discussed—and provide previously unshared examples of the strategies that work for them.

The Four Approaches

A review of our recent, four-part change management series for TV ad buyers will provide examples and references for anyone wishing to apply a strategic approach to organizational change.

The articles, in order of publication, are:

What Works on the Buy Side

Nancy Larkin, senior vice president and director of local television at Horizon Media, maintains that the most effective results—beginning at the testing stage—come from a core team composed of forward-thinking adapters, who are excited for what the future holds and are not afraid to speak up. Others will join in based on the core team’s enthusiasm and groundwork.

What Works on the Sell Side

Catherine Badalamente, vice president of digital media at Graham Media Group, believes getting companywide agreement on empirical truths—”We are in a period of change” or “Halfway through, the process will likely pivot”—is a crucial starting point. Listening is critical to ensure each person feels heard.

When hiring, attitude and adaptability are as important as other resume points. Look for people who are enthusiastic about being involved in a changing industry. Change management, Badalamente says, is not for the faint of heart. She also explains that engaging middle management first was the key to success when her company recently transitioned to a robust new customer relationship management platform.

What Works in Ad Tech

Archie Gianunzio, vice president of sales at Videa, points out how a critical motivator for buy-in is lost when people are told they have to learn a new technology without being told why. The “why” includes specific benefits that come from embracing change—like personal career opportunities, where buyers can buy and sellers can sell instead of spending much of their time performing maintenance tasks.

Without this “why,” resentment, apprehension, and fear emerge. Gianunzio believes change management often fails because the organization didn’t plan well enough or clearly communicate the “why.”

Gianunzio led change management efforts at Cox Reps and recalls his experience rolling out a new operating system: He successfully established communication by getting in front of all affected parties early, explaining the “why” (as well as the benefits to them) specifically and personally, and then reinforcing all this with consistent messaging and demonstrating moments of progress along the way.

Where the process slipped up was in the training materials, which weren’t strong enough to teach the system and clarify new responsibilities. Reworking the training and retraining all employees addressed the problem, but months were lost in the meantime.

What Works Everywhere

In the end, Larkin, Badalamente, and Gianunzio agree that identifying, encouraging, and rewarding change agents, super-users, and champions is the key to driving change and bringing along those who might tend to hold back due to uncertainty or fear. (Often, not a fear of change itself, but of loss.)

A confidence gap can be closed with strong training and conscious attention to communication, transparency, empathy, listening, meeting people where they are, and supporting champions—all of which allow the emergence of an organization that not just manages, but thrives on, change.

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