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Change Management in the TV Ad Industry: 2018 End-of-Year Roundup

December 11th, 2018   ||    by John R. Osborn

In 2018, Videa released its report on how change management affects the local TV advertising industry. The survey revealed fears that digital channels are stealing the show, that jobs may be lost, and that the ad buying/selling process is still too manual and time-consuming. The survey also unearthed some optimism that technology can benefit the business and individual end users alike.

Over the course of this year, we’ve learned a lot about change management from many different angles. Here are some of the key themes.

Each Side of the Industry Has a Role

Heading into 2018, we learned how each side of the advertising industry can kick-start the change management process:

  • On the buy side — Beginning at the testing stage, identify and empower a core team of forward-thinking adapters excited for what the future holds. This team will naturally attract others more leery of change.
  • On the sell side — Use listening and communication to gain company-wide agreement on empirical truths (e.g. “We are in a period of change” or “Halfway through, the process will likely pivot”). Engage middle management first and hire people excited about being in a dynamically changing industry.
  • On the ad tech side — Go beyond teaching the new technology by including the “why.” Discussing benefits like personal career opportunities and job satisfaction can help overcome apprehensions.
  • On all sides — Develop a strong training plan that includes interpersonal change management via communication, transparency, empathy, listening, and meeting people where they are to create a culture that thrives on change.

Individuals Need to Adopt Change

The principles of organizational change are useful beyond any singular project or organization, but require recognition that change doesn’t happen until people adopt it into their own work and habits. Or as Prosci management consultancy suggests, “Organizations don’t change, individuals do.”

Change Leadership Inspires Transformation

Individual and organizational change cannot be successful without organizational change leadership, defined as leading people through driving forces, visions, and processes that fuel large-scale transformation. It’s more than dictating change that needs to happen, but also attracting the energy and commitment of a workforce through modeling, communication, participation, and listening.

Collaboration Is Key

It’s important that industry roles collaborate around technology-driven change through networking, attending industry events, conferences, and training programs, and even exploring other industries’ successes.

Building Talent Supports Change

Tracking, learning, and understanding emerging job skills in the business, both in company-wide training/development and for individuals looking to grow their careers, are essential for supporting continuous change. Local TV roles most likely to require new talent include data, analytics, IT, sales, and programmatic.

Rethink Change Management

Finally, author and organizational change expert Carsten Tams challenges us to “rethink organizational change management” in his 2018 series published by Forbes:

  • Move away from the approach of using consequences to drive change acceptance; that can actually trigger resistance in some valuable employees.
  • Open up to intrinsically motivated support for change, which, according to Tams, is three-fold: Give employees freedom. Invest in their development. Build community.
  • Put tools and models in place for co-creation.

Expect to see organizational change efforts employ more human-centered approaches in 2019. The value of a dynamic, creative workforce no longer rests solely on hiring decisions or top-down management actions.

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