I love the term “changemakers” used by the authors of “Social Selling“, Tim Hughes and Matt Reynolds (Kogan Page, 2016). We could literally explain it as “the makers of change”, although the most accepted expression is change agents.
Salespeople (salespeople, account managers…) are the business drivers in organizations, together with the executives who make big decisions. But with the fourth revolution a new figure has emerged: the Changemakers or change agents.
Changemakers are informal leaders of organizations who are connected, trained, informed, and who end up making key decisions that were previously made by senior managers (Hughes calls them C-Suites). John Moravec prefers to call them Knowmads, those nomads of knowledge that many believe are always free agents, but that we can also really find them in companies working for others.
From C-Suites to changemakers
Taking risks, making big decisions or managing teams or clients are no longer the sole mission of C-Suites in organizations . Their top priority in the connected economy is to act as changemakers, as agents of change. But why? Why?
Yesterday doesn’t exist, even though the “brand” it has left may affect tomorrow. And the decision, the process of change, must be made today. This temporary gibberish may be the key that justifies these new C-Suites acting as change agents in a difficult environment. We live in shifting waters, where past successes not only do not guarantee future successes but even deny them.
This swamp, made up of atoms and bits (the real and the digital) requires changing the way executives think in order to adapt to unforeseen situations not yet addressed in business school case studies. If we thought that failure is the prelude to success, now we should understand that change is the lever for survival and growth.
We’re full of digital transformation, but that’s not the fuse of change.
The term digital transformation is being used for overuse and misuse. I’m working with a manager of a telecommunications organization. Talking to him, working on his business model, I realize something important:
First, it is necessary to work on the transformation of people and the cultural change of the organization, and from there to the digital transformation.
And that’s where I see the true meaning of change. People first. The organizational culture, later. And the digital transformation, in the end, as one of the lines of change.
The mistake that many executives in organizations make is to try to implement the digital transformation without first having worked thoroughly on a change in people and business culture. Start the house from the roof. We often get carried away by words rather than by concepts and action plans.
Executive branding for changemakers
Executive branding is a process of personal branding designed for change agents, for professionals who must decide and manage the transformation.
Some business schools have already included it in their training plans. But in my modest opinion and based on my experience, an executive branding process is much closer to consulting than on training. We cannot consider an individual who has to make critical decisions as if they were a collective.
Branding for change agents is a very introspective process, in which personal values play a relevant role, and where empathy becomes the lever for the transformation of people and teams. Organizations are their people. And those who run them should print their DNA and thus enrich excessively undifferentiated corporate values.
Executive branding does not only aim to empower C-Suites to develop their personal brand or train them in digital skills. It should be more ambitious and orderly, with the idea of managing a permanent change in people, culture, organization and business development. Only in this way can digital transformation be achieved, a concept that has 15 or 20 years of existence left until millennials and centennials reach positions of responsibility.
The process and the architects
I don’t want to go into futher detail but I will break down the resources needed to carry out an executive branding process:
Since this it’s consulting, it’s face to face process. Not from a consultant to a “client”, but from a team to a client.
The introspective part requires, in my view, a person trained in coaching or psychology. Lately there has been a lot of focus on self-knowledge in coaching.
The strategic part requires two key elements: on the one hand, someone experienced in strategy, and also someone with managerial experience and cultural transformation.
Finally, the communication part requires someone with competence and experience in this area. Someone who can not only develop but also accompany in an action plan that puts the value and change proposal at the service of the organization and its main stakeholders.
In short, I would say that to forge a changemaker you need changemakers.
Have an inspiring week.