Change for the Better

Big, big plans.  That’s what media and entertainment folks have for their digital assets.  Several folks I’ve talked with are working on big changes with what they do with their websites, their social media … all that new digital stuff they have.

Even on the phone, I can hear peoples’ eyes glaze over as they think about taking on these projects.  We’re all so busy; and there’s some real fear or concern about the initiatives we say we want to take on.

Here’s a concept for you.  One of my previous general managers, David Meszaros, taught me about this word.  It’s a Japanese concept:  Kaizen.  Whole books are written about it, but basically it means continuous improvement.  Using Kaizen, each day we consistently and thoughtfully evaluate what we are doing, and make regular course changes as a result.

How Kaizen Works

This is a much more human, realistic way to make big changes than to plan, plan, plan … and then execute huge new strategies all of a sudden.  What really makes this brilliant is that we all know how resistant large groups of people are to making changes.  When change is something that everyone consistently takes part in every day, a lot of the fear and trepidation about change is taken out of the process.

I find that it’s possible to embrace new digital initiatives with a lot less fear and trepidation when you ease into them.  Start small.  Take small steps to execute and evaluate what you can to start with.  Once you do that, and you get a little experience under your belt, you’re more knowledgable and have more perspective to take bigger steps.

As tennis great Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can.”

Sure, you could wait ’til you have all the tools to do everything perfectly.  But you’re forgetting something.  You.  Your learning curve ramps up the more you work with new tools and theories.  And I can guarantee you … just because you know the media you’re working in now, that doesn’t mean you know diddly about digital.

So make things easy on yourself and your co-workers and your staff.  Work cooperatively to get your new initiatives started in a step-by-step, collaborative way.  Wait to take on the big stuff until you’re even smarter about the small stuff.

But work on it every day!  Send the signal that what you are doing in the digital realm is important, by working it every day instead of just suddenly throwing the switch on a huge new project sometime in the future.

By the way, if you’d like to know more about Kaizen, you should check out this book and this book, too.

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