In episode three of the Revenue Rehab podcast, ‘’Out With The Old...Or Not: Change Management’’, Brandi Starr was joined by Tiffany Chisholm Okirika, award winning marketing technology leader, and founder and CEO of Skyspace Global, a...
In episode three of the Revenue Rehab podcast, ‘’Out With The Old...Or Not: Change Management’’, Brandi Starr was joined by Tiffany Chisholm Okirika, award winning marketing technology leader, and founder and CEO of Skyspace Global, a marketing technology firm.
In this episode, Tiffany brings a unique perspective of how to avoid resistance to change within an organization. Tiffany discusses how a lack of communication with the people who are involved with change is often the root cause of resistance. Her recommendations include a four step process when it comes to change management:
Tiffany and Brandi also discuss the reluctance to change to new technologies, particularly pertaining to people who are experts in a certain platform, and who view a migration to another technology as a threat to their job security. Tiffany emphasizes the importance of realizing that change management is not necessarily a rip and replace method - it’s ultimately a method of improvement.
A podcast full of solid advice from a seasoned MarTech pro, you won’t want to miss this episode!
Tiffany’s key takeaway is to ‘’communicate, communicate, communicate’’ when undergoing any change management practice.
The term ‘’digital marketing’’. Tiffany thinks the term is overused and not always properly used; particularly when it comes to people’s jobs, because not all digital marketing is created equal.
Welcome to Revenue Rehab, your one stop destination for collective solutions to the biggest challenges faced by marketing leaders today. Now head on over to the couch, make yourself comfortable, and get ready to change the way you approach revenue. Leading your recovery modern marketer, author, speaker and Chief Operating Officer at Tegrita, Brandi Starr.
[00:34] Brandi Starr:
Hello everyone, and welcome to episode three of Revenue Rehab. I am your host, Brandi Starr. Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to Andrea. We had a great conversation around not being ladylike in the Boardroom and being your authentic self. Our takeaway was around mindfulness, and really paying attention and listening to our bodies. So if you didn't listen to episode two, make sure you check it out. We had a great conversation with Andrea. But we have an amazing episode today. I am joined by Tiffany Chisholm Okirika. I try so hard to get last names correct.
Tiffany is the founder and CEO of Skyspace Global, a marketing technology firm launched in 2018. She is an award winning marketing technology leader, focusing on leadership marketing automation, implementation, integrations and migrations for enterprise and mid-market organizations. Having over 10 years in the space, she is a leader that has watched technology and marketing evolve and serves as a thought leader in the space. Her most recent accomplishments include being named Forbes Next 1000 by Forbes Inc., in December of 2021, which showcases a list of one thousand entrepreneurs, pre-revenue startups and self-funded shops in every region of the country. She is also included as a 2021 honoree in the Network Journal as the top 25 influential black women in business. Tiffany, welcome to Revenue Rehab, your session begins now.
[02:28] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
Thanks for having me Brandi.
[02:30] Brandi Starr:
I am excited to talk to you. Congratulations on the Forbes Next 1000 list, that is impressive.
[02:38] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
[02:40] Brandi Starr:
So Tiffany on Revenue Rehab, I like to break the ice with a little whoosah moment, that I like to call buzzword banishment. So tell me, what industry buzzword would you like to get rid of forever?
[02:56] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
Okay, don't kill me when I say this, but digital marketing.
[02:59] Brandi Starr:
[Gasps] I can't believe! Digital marketing is going into the buzzword banishment box. So given that we are both in digital marketing related fields, why that buzzword?
[03:17] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
I think it's just overly used and probably not properly used; just in terms of if you ask people what they do, everyone says digital marketing and all digital marketing is not created equal.
[03:29] Brandi Starr:
This is true, it has become that generic term to reference. Almost any sort of marketing that's done with technology is called Digital Marketing when that's not necessarily the truth. Now that we've gotten that off our chest, I still can't believe that we are putting digital marketing into the buzzword banishment box, but in it goes, lock the box, throw it away. So now that we've gotten that off our chest, Tiffany, tell me what brings you to Revenue Rehab today?
[04:05] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
I thought we talked about change management and probably that resistance to change.
[04:10] Brandi Starr:
There are so many people, I am one that loves change, which I know I'm an oddball in many ways, but that is one of them. But most people are not like me. So I believe in setting intentions. It keeps us focused, and it gives our audience an understanding of what they should expect from today's session. So what do you want people to take away as we talk about change management?
[04:37] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
Probably just understanding how to avoid that resistance to change overall within an organization.
[04:43] Brandi Starr:
Okay, so let's jump right in my first question. I know, you know, you and I have been in this industry for a long time and going through implementation and migration projects can get interesting. So any examples of situations you've been in, projects you've had to lead, where you've had to deal with people who were severely resistant to change?
[05:11] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
I wouldn't necessarily say projects overall, but I would say more so processes; either with leadership changing, as well as just processes.
[05:25] Brandi Starr:
Okay. And why do you think the resistance to change exists?
[05:31] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
I think it's more so a lack of communication with the people who are involved with that change in itself.
[05:39] Brandi Starr:
So the people who are making the decisions, you don't feel are fully communicating with those that the change is impacting?
[05:51] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
That's correct. I think a lot of times people are either thrown that change, and it's at the last minute, when people are understanding that the change is actually happening. They weren't involved in the planning, they weren't involved in the implementation and it's at that moment, it's like, we're changing this. And that's kind of what it is.
[06:07] Brandi Starr:
You know that makes me think of an example, this was probably four-ish years ago, I was doing a marketing automation implementation. And the first step for us is we do a kick-off call, we invite everybody who's going to be a part of the project to that call, we go through - here's what the scope is, the timeline, the expectations, the first steps, like really level setting with everyone around, this is what this project is going to look like. And I had the VP of Marketing, who I had been talking to through the sales process, I had been working with their sales rep at the marketing automation platform, and the two marketing managers. So we go in, and I'm talking about the timeline, I got my whole spiel, and we took a break, and the VP stepped out, went to the bathroom, and before I could go to the restroom, one of the marketing managers pulled me aside and said, could you show us the product? And I was like, come again? Like, what's happening here? And he was like, we're starting implementation and we've never even seen the technology. We don't know if it meets our needs, we know nothing about it, other than we bought it. And I think that is a perfect example of where things are not communicated. Because they were super resistant to everything that we needed to do, because they were not bought in. And they were the ones who had to use it.
[07:54] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
[07:55] Brandi Starr:
So given that our audience is primarily CMOs and Head of Marketing, why do you think situations like this happen? Because it's not an isolated incident, it's probably the worst, but not isolated. Why do you think that happens?
[08:13] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
Primarily, it's just a lack of communication overall. As well as that understanding and helping teams understand why the change is actually happening. But I think that communication piece, undeniably, that is the biggest reason.
[08:31] Brandi Starr:
Okay. I've also seen scenarios where those who are a part of the decision committee, also are change resistant. Have you seen that? Why do you think that happens?
[08:47] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
I see it sometimes, but as far as the actual committee, the people involved, I think it's more so it's either they think the old way is already working. So they're not understanding why the change needs to happen in itself at all. So I think if the people who are part of that committee are resistant to it, that's usually the reason why they don't agree with the change.
[09:08] Brandi Starr:
So it sounds like what's necessary in order to be effective is first, someone who is going to kind of own the driving of what the business case is within the group that makes the decision. And then beyond that, making sure that the right people are brought in and that communication is happening.
[09:35] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
[09:36] Brandi Starr:
Okay. So what do you generally recommend? Do you have a process or a formula or what advice would you give for those who are, they themselves resistant to change or are dealing with people who are resistant to change?
[09:52]Tiffany Chism Okirika:
So I think generally, it's a four step process when it comes to change management. And it's number one, making sure that the organization understands that change. Number two, once that understanding comes into fruition, it's being able to plan that change and include everyone who that change is going to affect. I think that's a good starting point. Number three, implementation. So implementing that change in itself. And again, making sure that everyone the change affects, they're involved with the implementation either from the top down. And number four is that communication piece should actually be last, when the change is actually implemented.
[10:36] Brandi Starr:
So we want to start with making sure that everyone is aware of why this is happening. We want to plan for what the change is going to be and make sure we have all the right people included, we want to actually make the change and then do further communication.
[10:53] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
That is correct.
[10:55] Brandi Starr:
Okay, I like that. So one of the things that come to mind, like if I think about situations that I've been in, where I have had one or more people who are resistant to change, there is also a component there, that is a little more internal to the person that I don't know that anyone really addresses. And so what I mean by that is, again, using migrating marketing automation platforms as an example, one of the things that I've seen why some people are resistant, is staying on their old system, the system that they are an expert in, makes them feel like there's some job security. That they are the go to, they are the person that knows the platform inside and out. Likewise, I have also seen people push for certain technologies, because they felt like that gave them a leg up in being able to move to another organization, that they could command more money somewhere else, or they were a lot more jobs using a particular technology. And so in some cases, you have those blockers of change, that are really not blocking, because they don't understand why change is happening. Or that communication is not there. But that they have some personal reason why this change or why they believe that this change is not good for them. How have you seen that? How have you dealt with that?
[12:39] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
I've actually seen that a lot. And I think a lot of times, it's providing that training, if they are doing a migration. I've seen migrations happening, but it's also ensuring that the team that's already in place, that they do that training for the new platform, if they are migrating to a new platform. I think that's usually the best way to do it, is just making sure that the team is trained on that new platform, and it's not a rip and replace. Because a lot of times you with marketing automation, those skills are transferable when you think about it.
[13:10] Brandi Starr:
I mean, I would agree, but I have seen people that have had -- like I had a situation where I was recommending to the CMO that they migrate platforms because what they were on just really wasn't working. And we do a lot of stakeholder interviews just to give people a one on one channel to be able to express whatever they're feeling or thinking in a safe space. And when we had this conversation with one of the marketing managers, she said flat out, I don't want to change, and she was near retirement age, because I am too old to be learning something new. So she very much was like, yeah, I'm not. And I've run into that multiple times, and that's just one example, it's not always like an age thing. I've had people doing the opposite, where they're adamant that we need to get this thing because that's what's hot in the marketplace. And they know that with that skill set on their resume, it looks great. So what I would say is, talking about our challenges is really only the first step. Like if we're talking about change, but if nothing changes, then nothing changes. So, what I would like to have you share is with our audience, what are your key takeaways for the heads of marketing that are listening to this podcast around change management, and then what is the one thing, we always like to give our listeners one thing that they can do as immediately as possible, to be better in this area?
[15:03] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
So one key takeaway I would say is communicate, communicate, communicate. And I think the best way to manage just overall change in itself, is understanding that change is not necessarily always a rip and replace method. It's more so a method of improvement. So we have to look at change as a process of improving upon either the strategies, the methods, the technology that's already in place, and then more so just look at it from an improvement standpoint.
[15:36] Brandi Starr:
Okay. And so what's your one thing that everybody listening can do to move the needle and be more of an agent to change as opposed to resisting change?
[15:48] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
Making sure that change is understood overall, and as well as, again, I'm going to say communication. I know I've said it so many times but I think for me, that's the number one important thing, is making sure that we're communicating with either the organization, your teams, because I think most of that resistance is coming from either the teams that are going to be using the new processes in place or that technology.
[16:17] Brandi Starr:
Awesome. Well Tiffany, I have enjoyed our discussion. But that's our time for today. Thank you so much for joining me. And thank you, everyone, for joining us today. I hope that you've enjoyed our conversation with Tiffany. Tiffany, where can guests find you if they want to keep in touch?
[16:34] Tiffany Chism Okirika:
You can actually follow me on Instagram or Twitter at Tiffany31_31, as well as on LinkedIn.
[16:41] Brandi Starr:
Awesome. Well I can't believe we are at the end already. Thanks everyone, for joining us, and we will see you next time.
[16:49]Tiffany Chism Okirika:
You've been listening to Revenue Rehab with your host Brandi Starr. Your session is now over but the learning is just begun. Join our mailing list and catch up on all our shows at revenuerehab.live. We're also on Twitter and Instagram at Revenue Rehab. This concludes this week's session. We'll see you next week.
Tiffany S. Chism Okirika is Founder and CEO of SkySpace Global, a Marketing Technology firm launched in 2018. She is an award-winning marketing technology leader focusing on leadership, marketing automation, implementation, integrations, and migrations for enterprise and mid-market organizations. Having over ten years in the space, she is a leader that has watched technology and marketing evolve and serves a thought leader in the space. Her most recent accomplishments include being named Forbes Next 1000 by Forbes Inc. in December of 2021, which showcases a list of 1000 entrepreneurs, pre-revenue startups, and self-funded shops in every region of the country. She was also included as a 2021 honoree in The Network Journal as the Top 25 Influential Black Women in Business.