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Making Change Happen

Many of the companies we talk with don’t have a clear structure for enabling powerful change to happen quickly. After years of being in the hot seat of transformation, we have observed a common set of change qualities within the organization itself that increase the odds of success.

  • There must be a culture of risk-taking and openness to doing things differently
  • There must be healthy respect for other points-of-view
  • There must be a sense of urgency and a commitment to velocity
  • There must be a relentless focus on the endstate. Any distraction will cause confusion and inefficiency.
  • There must be a structure that enables alignment between product, sales and marketing. Most often, everybody operates in their own little world and, some times, at cross purposes with one another. This kind of integration isn’t easy. Getting it done requires focus, discipline, and a game plan that demands real-time collaboration.

As you look to undertake your internal change initiative, start inside first. Then beware of the three forces that will always test your mettle. One, the dynamics of change often stress even the strongest of cultures. Two, inertia is very, very powerful. Three, there is an ever-present tendency to blur the lines, compromise and soften the edges of bold thinking.

The organization that is organized for — and committed to — change, both mentally, and structurally, is the organization that has the best chance of remaining focused, moving quickly, and, ultimately, winning.

Share the change dynamics that work for your organization — and those that get in the way.


  1. Doug Macdonald says:


    All great points that are essential for the change agenda and bold thinking you talk about.

    I'd add another – which is a deep understanding of the impact of your product/service on the market. My personal experience is in enterprise software, so my comments come from that perspective.

    Too many (way too many) marketing people don't know enough about their products or their customers. As a consequence their approach to mariketing is often "soft", and incremental, rather than deep, impactful and game-changing. The result is failure to connect with and energize the target market.

    I think you are on to something – power to you!

  2. Tom Butta says:

    Hi Doug,

    I absolutely agree! Most marketing and many product organizations take an inside-out view versus the much more powerful and way more relevant outside-in perspective you're advocating for. Customers in complex industries need people who can help them make sense of their issues in as smart and simple a way as possible. The only way to become that trusted guide is to sit in the customer's shoes as you suggest.

    Thanks for sharing. Good thoughts. Tom

  3. Jim Mancuso says:

    Focus on the end state is the key. But change is like the addicted person. They just don’t wake up and change. They have to make that decision consciously one day and then renew it every day thereafter.

  4. Tom Butta says:

    Amen, brother.

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