The more things change, the more they stay the same. This phrase is often uttered with a negative connotation, but incidentally, it also represents an aspirational ideal for B2B marketing managers and leaders.
In an environment that is constantly shifting, brands and agencies are tasked with navigating uncertainty while remaining steadfast in their pursuit of the same ultimate goals: engaging prospects, building relationships, driving business results.
As such, change management becomes a key aspect of the job, particularly for those in leadership positions. Focusing on “how to help employees embrace, adopt and utilize a change in their day-to-day work” (as defined by Prosci), change management is oft-overlooked but clearly essential for a profession where one day can look drastically different from the last.
Carol-Lyn Jardine, who now serves as Vice President of Marketing Operations and Productivity at Alteryx, says she’s had the opportunity to enter new organizations multiple times in recent years, and one of the consistent themes she encounters is that employees are unsettled by the amount of change happening.
“As I have kind of unlayered that conversation, what really comes out is that they’re not necessarily saying that they’re unhappy with change, what they’re actually saying is that they’re unhappy with how change has been rolled out.”
Carol-Lyn has experienced plenty of change in her winding career journey, which crossed paths with Heather Hurst at Workfront a few years back. Heather, now Senior Director of Digital Engagement at Vivint Solar, has also witnessed a substantial amount of change — and the pains it can bring about — during her career.
“I think we tend to forget that the first question that an employee is really asking is, ‘How does this impact me?’” Heather says of major organizational shifts. “They are concerned with their place in the company.”
Heather and Carol-Lyn were kind enough to join me for the latest episode of Break Free B2B — our first with multiple guests! Getting both of their varied perspectives felt fitting for the topic. Scroll forth to uncover them.
Break Free B2B Interview with Carol-Lyn Jardine and Heather Hurst
If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.
- 02:53 – Managing change in marketing
- 06:18 – The evolution of change management
- 08:40 – New roles, new perspectives
- 10:41 – Big data and change management
- 12:50 – Communicating around change
- 16:20 – Barriers to efficient and effective organizational change
- 21:16 – Aligning work with personal values
- 24:23 – Breaking free in change management
Nick: What do you think are the sort of the most pressing, urgent changes that you’re seeing in the industry?
Heather: We talk a lot about trends in the way that we market and in the way that we bring products to life. I think one of the elements that we miss a lot in that conversation is the impact that change has on the employees. Whether you are a new leader coming into a department or whether you’re making another change, another shift within the organization, it’s really, really important to help lead and manage a group through any change.
And, this is something Carol-Lyn and I are both really passionate about. How do you either come in as a leader managing change or how, as an employee, do you embrace change as well? I think that’s one of the biggest things that we overlook… leadership in marketing can have a pretty quick turnover sometimes. And you know, you forget what the impact that can have on employees. So we were really excited at the opportunity to talk about how you lead through change.
Carol-Lyn: I’ve had the opportunity to go into new organizations a couple of times over the past few years. And one of the consistent themes that I hear from especially employees is that they’re unsettled by the amount of change that’s happening in their organizations … I look at them, and I think, Wow, we work in technology. Why are we surprised that there’s change happening?
So change is inevitable. And as I have kind of unlayered that conversation, what really comes out is that they’re not necessarily saying that they’re unhappy with change, what they’re actually saying is that they’re unhappy with how change has been rolled out.
That’s something that I’ve really thought about: How do we roll out change? How do we hope people understand why we’re changing what the impact of changes and how those changes actually affect each individual employee? And are we being clear about that communication to help them see that vision?
Nick: What is an insight or recommendation that you have about breaking free?
Carol-Lyn: When it comes to change management and kind of breaking free, I think there are a few things I would keep top of mind. One, assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors. I always try and make sure that when I’m going through these things, I assume good intent until it’s proven that I can’t—but by and large, people don’t disappoint me in that way.
Heather: I think that we can tend to get really sucked into work … I will completely echo the good intentions piece from Carol-Lyn. But I think also considering how we spend our time either at work or outside of work and how that time aligns up to our values and where we want to spend time. I think that some people—especially in marketing— we can become workaholics a little bit.
So, are we spending our time on our hobbies or family or all of the places where we want to spend it? So we do become more. I think we’re better rounded employees if we figure out: What do I value? And then what does that equate to in the way that I spend my time?
Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite: