If you can’t handle some rough-and-tumble adversity, you are not ready to manage the implementation of a new content strategy.
Implementing new processes of any kind is rarely a pleasant experience. Even the most meticulous planning won’t eliminate every bump (or enormous sinkhole) in the road. HR consultant Bruce Clarke says:
A normal person sees struggle or failure and averts their eyes. They want neither to be a witness nor part of the cure. They are simply grateful it was someone else.
That means you need to be one of those abnormal managers who is willing to address struggle head-on, even when it is tempting to take the easier route of avoiding difficulty or conflict.
What’s your biggest adversary in the ring of content strategy implementation? New tools and technology are certainly formidable challengers, especially when you’re just learning about them as you are evaluating them. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with tools, but you can rely on the advice of a consultant to coach you through the tool rounds of your content strategy fight.
As tough as new technology can be, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that tools are your biggest challenge. People are.
In general, people in professional environments do not like change. They become proficient in the current processes and comfortable with routine. So comfortable, in fact, they often can’t see how the inefficiencies of current processes do not support the greater business goals of the company.
Managing people’s resistance to change is by far the most important thing you will do during your content strategy implementation; conflicts will inevitably arise as changes are discussed and then put in place. You can address those challenges with:
- Targeted explanations on the value of the new content strategy (there isn’t a one-size-fits-all explanation for all groups at your company)
- A good training program
- A willingness to modify your strategy when those affected raise legitimate concerns
If you go into the ring without these things, you’re going to find yourself knocked out in a very early round.
Years ago, a coworker at another job said to me, “People! Who needs ‘em?!?” after witnessing some colleagues behaving badly. Well, as the manager of an implementation project, you need people, even if their behavior is sometimes less than stellar. Your colleagues can become your biggest advocates and evangelize process change to those who don’t buy in early on.
With additional advocates communicating about—and fighting for—the implementation, you can more easily overcome resistance and win your content strategy fight.