4 small steps that can lead to culture change leap


A colleague said to me recently, “Sometimes a bad decision is better than no decision.”

I’m not sure why, but I find comfort in that truth.

We’re not always going to make the right call, but as long as we’re trying and willing to take risks, we won’t have regrets. We might regret the decision we did make, but at least we’ll have chosen a path.

Particularly in new media, as we’ve come accustomed to calling most things that are not “old media,” we must take risks to create new things. This blog is about innovation in advertising (although it often certainly applies to all departments), and no innovation takes place without risk.

Risk inherently and inevitably comes with a likelihood of failure. New ventures are not all going to work out, and often we'll learn more from the failures than we will from our successes.

Think back to your early education days or early in your career when you made a mistake or failed a test. Didn’t you come away from that experience determined to not have that feeling again? Determined to learn from that mistake and ensure that next time, next time you’ll get it right?

It seems the industry has graduated from the “go all digital” conversation to a question: “How do we maintain balance and not kill off print before it dies of natural causes?”

Many of us not quite in the “digital first” zone just yet, however, are still struggling to push the envelope on true culture change.

Sometimes, though, big changes occur from small efforts, including symbolic ones. In the culture change battles, small victories are important.

To the culture change agents:

  • Initiate a change in regular meetings by including a digital (or substitute your change area of choice) informational update in each meeting.

  • Update your colleagues on industry trends to open their eyes, providing printouts of newsletters, reports, etc.

  • Add a physical element of change — something your colleagues cannot ignore that either reminds them of the new reality or alerts them to the fact they need to pay attention.

  • Find the biggest naysayer on staff and go to lunch. Be honest and listen. Then state your case. Follow up six months later with a similar conversation; that part is important.

Good luck, culture changers.