Organizational Leadership and Change in 2010


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I recently attended a faculty meeting to kick-off the New Year. One of the presentations disclosed enrollment trends that did not surprise, but none the less disappointed some of my fellow faculty. An increasing number of students are enrolling in online as opposed to on-campus courses. In short, the online modality more closely matches many students desired method for consuming education. Although most of the faculty can teach both online and on-campus, their traditional teaching backgrounds creates a comfort level and natural desire to interact with their students in a class room environment. The shift from a class room setting to online just doesn’t feel right to some, and that can make it difficult to embrace change even when the data states the obvious.

Shifting business environments make change necessary, but it doesn’t mean it will be easy. In my role as VP of Marketing there are always struggles to keep new initiatives on track even when the data indicates that the change is not optional. Strong feelings to revert back to the old status quo are often lurking just below the surface. For example, a shift in our media planning recommendations away from traditional media products and into earned media programs at times creates fear, uncertainty and doubt within parts of our organization. You can just imagine the questions swirling:

· What will our traditional customers think if we’re recommending media they’ve never tried before?

· How will our competition, not to mention our media partners, react to our strategy changes?

· How do we know for sure that these new media channels will deliver results?

Change has no conscience. It doesn’t play favorites, or take prisoners. In fact change ruthlessly destroys organizations that don’t adapt. So, from a leadership perspective here are three traits I intend to embrace this year:

1. Take the initiative by putting my team in charge of problem-solving. If I make them (or let them) wait for hand-feed directions I’ll slow down the process.

2. Take more risks and be willing to break with the past. I’ll ask my team to mitigate risk when possible; but make no mistake … both my team and I will need more nerve in 2010 in order to keep our new initiatives on track.

3. Maintain faith in the new initiatives. As soon as change starts throwing off sparks, people become preoccupied with all the headaches, aggravations, and fears. I know there will be dark days; however, I’ll challenge my team to join me helping our entire organization look beyond the bleakness of the moment, and envision the possibilities of tomorrow.

I’m really looking forward to 2010’s opportunities and challenges. How about you?

Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


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