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Interview

Webinar: Navigate Change Management, with Lauren Livak, Director of the Digital Shelf Institute and Chris Parsons, President of the Americas, Mayborn Group

Anyone who spends their day in the trenches of ecommerce and digital transformation knows that the only constant is change. Not only change within their teams and processes, but driving the changes that must happen across the business in order to achieve maximum growth and profitability. Leaders in ecommerce must therefore also become experts in the processes and politics of change management. This is a podcast presentation of a recent Digital Shelf Playbook series webinar, featuring two experts who are deeply experienced in driving change across multiple organizations. Lauren Livak, who ran North American Digital shelf strategy at Johnson and Johnson and is now the Director of the Digital Shelf Institute, and Chris Parsons, President of the Americas for juvenile product company Mayborn Group. Peter is on board as emcee. 

Peter Crosby:
Welcome to Unpacking the Digital Shelf, where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age.

Peter Crosby:
Hey, everyone. Peter Crosby here from the Digital Shelf Institute. Anyone who spends their day in the trenches of e-commerce and digital transformation knows that the only constant is change. Not only change within your teams and processes, but driving the changes that must happen across the business in order to achieve maximum growth and profitability. Leaders in e-commerce must therefore also become experts in the processes and politics of change management. This is a podcast presentation of a recent Digital Shelf Playbook series webinar, featuring two experts who are deeply experienced in driving change across multiple organizations. Lauren Livak, who ran North American digital shelf strategy at Johnson & Johnson and is now the director of the Digital Shelf Institute, along with Chris Parsons, president of the Americas for juvenile product company Mayborn Group. They generously shared their experiences with the Digital Shelf Institute community

Peter Crosby:
All right, it's undeniable that it's time to start this webinar. Welcome, everyone. Peter Crosby, executive director of the Digital Shelf Institute here. And welcome to the sixth webinar in our 10 episode Digital Shelf Playbook series. Anyone who spends their day in the trenches of e-commerce and digital transformation knows that the only constant is change. Not only change within the teams and processes, but driving the change that must happen across the business in order to achieve maximum growth and profitability. Leaders in e-commerce must therefore also become experts in driving change management. Good thing we are joined today by Lauren Livak, who ran North American digital shelf strategy at Johnson & Johnson and is now the director of the Digital Shelf Institute, and she's the brains in this entire series. Lauren, thank you so much for coming back for the last webinar of 2021.

Lauren Livak:
Of course. I can't believe it. I was looking forward to this topic the most, so I can't wait for this webinar.

Peter Crosby:
Yeah, we were talking about the fact that, really, everything else that is pillar in this whole Digital Shelf series requires really good change management skills to manage across the digital shelf maturity curve. It's a critical issue and it's a really good thing that we are aided today by the change management experiences and wisdom of Chris Parsons who's the president of the Americas for juvenile product company Mayborn Group. Chris, thank you so much for contributing again to the DSI community. We are super grateful.

Chris Parsons:
It's great to be here again, Peter. Thank you for the invite.

Peter Crosby:
Of course. Of course. Before we start, a reminder that throughout the session, please feel free to drop your questions in the Q&A window, and we'll get to as many as we can. And we'll be sending a recording out to you a couple of days following to share with your colleague, or colleagues. You could share with multiple people.

Peter Crosby:
So, I just wanted to, before we dive in, just remind you where we're going and where we've been in this series. So, we've covered really a lot of the early building blocks that Lauren has described as being necessary to getting to those farther edge sides of the maturity curve and process people and team structure, the executive mindset needed to work our way through this, the data and content readiness, education and understanding. So important. And then, today, that tent pole center piece of change management. So, with that, let's get diving right into it, and I'll hand it over to Lauren.

Lauren Livak:
Perfect. Thank you, Peter. So, thanks everyone so much for joining. We are going to jump right in. And apologies if my slides are a little slow here today. But in terms of what we're going to cover, we are going to talk about what is change management? How do we define it? It can be defined in a couple of different ways. Why is it important? To Peter's point, why is it the backbone of the entire digital transformation and everything we've been talking about? What does a change management program look like? And Chris is going to give us a lot of great stories from his experiences. And how to successfully lead through change, because it, like Peter said, is a constant throughout everything digital and everything commerce.

Lauren Livak:
So, to start off with a quote, "Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up." And I think this resonates so much in digital especially because it is a completely different way of working, and it might seem like more work, but it actually provides a lot of value. And so, as we go through this presentation, we're going to talk about messaging, and one of those key message points is to explain the value to the organization about why the change is happening.

Lauren Livak:
And to define what change management is, by definition, it's a set of strategies and procedures used to manage an organizational change and guide people through the necessary transition to achieve the desired result. So, that is by definition, and it can take many different forms. You can have a leadership change, you can go through a full digital transformation. Maybe you are bringing on new systems or you're just changing the way the organization works. Change management is necessary for every piece of that. And no matter what type of change management you're doing, it really is an art versus a science. There are some components of science where you can think about the levers and the methodologies and the techniques that you're going to be using, but it really falls more on the art side of things, because it is so ingrained in the culture of your organization, the people who have to go through the change, and also your company culture,. How does your company react to change? What will they listen to? How will they engage with the change?And it needs to really be driven intentionally and also organically. Because moving an entire organization throughout a change takes all of the people in the organization to be able to do that.

Lauren Livak:
And we did not want to do this webinar without at least stating the reality. We know that change is hard. We know that people are hesitant to change. Every organization is different. It's unique in every situation. But when you think about change, there are some key components and key focus areas that you need to think about, and also define for your organization as you are going through the change. And it's very important to make sure that you're clear that the change is to either improve the organization, to advance the organization to a specific goal, or to adapt to a change that will help the overall success of the organization. So, making sure that you're framing things in those matters are really helpful for the messaging to the organization and to help the employees and the culture throughout that full change management.

Lauren Livak:
And when we think about what is the key to change, we wanted to get a sense from the audience of what you're thinking in terms of what is the key to change. So, you will see a poll come up on your screen, and let us know by voting if you think that the key to change is process, technology, people, or effective communication.

Peter Crosby:
Results are coming in fast.

Lauren Livak:
Awesome.

Peter Crosby:
I get to see it early and it's very interesting. So, I will close the poll in five, four, three, two, one. Oh, sorry. I need to share them.

Lauren Livak:
Yeah. There's a lot of anticipation there, Peter. All right.

Peter Crosby:
I thought this gap was super interesting.

Lauren Livak:
It is very interesting. So, it looks like it's more around effective communication that everyone thinks here, and also people, but also, we had a lot of votes for the process. This is really interesting.


Peter Crosby:
Yeah. I mean, I guess what struck me, and now that I think about it, I think it's right, if you don't get the communication right, it doesn't matter. But I feel like so often people are either the accelerators of change or they are the barriers to change because of mindset. But you can't change mindset if you aren't communicating things in an effective and inspiring way, and that's a constant thing. So, I guess that makes a ton of sense now that I think about it.
Lauren Livak:
It does.

Peter Crosby:
But change is so human. Right?

Lauren Livak:
Exactly. And to that point, what we were trying to get at with the poll is that 70% of all transformations fail because of the lack of support from employees. But to Peter's point, if you're not communicating to your employees effectively, and you're not explaining the purpose behind the change, the reason for it, and also really understanding from the employee's perspective what is going to change in their day to day, that is not going to help with the change overall, as well. So, I can see where the effective communication and the people come together. And I don't know, Chris, if you want to add anything to that, as well.

Chris Parsons:
No, I think that will come through loud and clear, I think, in what we're going to share today, is that all of these areas that you just put upon the poll interrelate in some way, shape, or form, but it does always come back to people one way or the other.

Lauren Livak:
Exactly. Exactly. And when we think about the change process, we tried to bucket it into a couple of different areas to help you think about either if you're starting a change, you're in the middle of a change, or you're just trying to understand if you captured all of the steps as you're thinking about the full process. To start off, make sure that you're assessing and defining. What is the current state? How are people feeling? Go and talk to the people who are doing the work and are going to have to deal with the change. And really understand what's happening so you can define the reason behind change. Then it really does take planning, making sure that you know what your approach is going to be for specific audiences, how it's going to be executed. Then communicate. Of course, it's incredibly important to communicate, but finding the right ways to communicate within your organization that will be the most effective is also very critical.

Lauren Livak:
Measure. Understand what your progress is like and share that out with the entire organization so they know how you're moving through the change. And then embed that change and that communication within the organization. Because similar to what we've talked about in a lot of past webinars, this is not a one and done type of thing. And Chris will talk about this a lot, but it's not like, "Yay, we changed," and then you stop change. Management is really a continuous process, and you really need to make sure that's embedded within the organization.

Lauren Livak:
And so, now we're going to dive into each of these different areas. So, to start off with assess and define, really, like I said, make sure you're listening and understanding from the people who are doing the work what is important and what they're feeling, and make sure that you define these questions for them. Why will there be a change? When will it happen? Making sure you set clear boundaries as to when you're going to announce things, when you're going to share that change, when it comes into place. Because answering these questions really takes away a lot of the anxiety that people might feel about the change. What is the purpose? What's the value? What's the value to the organization? And what's the value to the individual who is having to go through this change to make sure they understand why they're doing this work within their role? And then, are you changing people, process, technology? Where is the change going to apply? And what changes day to day for the employees that are doing the work?

Lauren Livak:
Again, answering these questions really helps with removing a lot of that anxiety behind why the change is happening and why it's important for the organization. And I'm now going to pass it over to Chris to go through the rest of them.

Chris Parsons:
Brilliant. Well, thank you, Lauren. Thank you for kicking us off today. Nice to be able to share a few thoughts today with the audience. So, as Lauren said, I'm the president of the Mayborn Group here in America, and we've been driving a digital change program in the group for about four or five years now. And so, I've got some great experiences over the process, and I'll share a few of them today as we go through the slides.

Chris Parsons:
I suppose any change program has to start with a plan. I think a couple of points, and I'm not a slide reader, but I'll pull out some of the key points here, which is the first piece of the plan that's so important is to gather that cross-functional alignment. So, as you guys called out in the poll, a lot of that's linked to communication, a lot of it's linked to understanding, to education, but it's the hardest thing. And I think anytime you're dealing with something that's new, which is a synonym for change, it can be sometimes seen in a difficult light. And I think what we have experienced in our journey is the more that you can get that early stage cross-functional alignment, the better off you'll be, and that comes from defining a clear purpose, a clear objective, sharing the roadmap, et cetera. But fundamentally, that's critically important as a start point.

Chris Parsons:
When you then get into the second phase, which is the change itself, this is where it starts to get sticky. You've probably experienced this, as well. But communication, then, becomes most vital because not everything is going to go well, people are, in some cases, being led a little bit in the dark, and they need to know what's happening, why it's happening, where we're going. And then that drives a feedback loop, whether that's process progression or results progression. And some of that will be positive and some of it will be negative. And so, you've got to be able to listen, adapt, and continue to work through that as you change.

Chris Parsons:
And then the future state clearly is then when you are working through the new normal, but the new normal, ultimately, loops all the way back to the current state. And then you go again. And so, I would say we're probably in phase number three of this cycle, so we've started a few current state assessments and moved all the way through. And it doesn't necessarily change the effort or the requirements each time you go through it because your audience might be more knowledgeable and you might have better groundwork and foundations, but to drive that change, it's always going to be different.

Chris Parsons:
And I'll finish on something that came to me across an email the other day, which is a musical reference which is Led Zeppelin who, I guess, 50 years ago today was the first time... not today, but this year, played Stairway to Heaven at a concert, and everybody slow clapped at the end and was kind of bored because they never heard it before and they didn't want to listen to that. They wanted to listen to all the stuff that they were used to. And think about that now, one of their most iconic songs. But you've got to go on that journey to go from current, to change, to future, and good things will happen.

Peter Crosby:
So, Chris, A, I kind of wish it was exactly today because that would be awesome and we would've played that at the beginning, but that's such a great analogy. And one of the things that really struck me when Lauren described this phase or the qualities of this phase, one of the things she had was who is passionate about it? Because when you talk about cross-functional alignment, it starts with some small and probably hardy group of people who have the courage and the vision to take this on. And in some ways, you can think about it as not exactly your day job, like because... I mean, maybe it is, but I think taking on these big projects that are multiyear takes... It's not for the faint of heart, and so I was wondering how you think about that. How do you identify those people? Are they always obvious who they might be, or do some people come out of the woodwork? And do you agree that that's sort of a finding your people in this journey is pretty important?

Chris Parsons:
It's hugely important, Peter. I think we're going to come on, I think Lauren, and a share slide or two on that, as well.

Peter Crosby:
Oh, great.

Chris Parsons:
But I do think that that... I call them disciples. You need those disciples to take a message and share it as broadly as you are trying to share it. This isn't a one person role driving change. You need it to echo and resonate across all areas of the organization. And I think when we think about establishing that clear message to your widest audience, you are looking to try and tease out who's motivated most by this. It's not going to be everybody. It really isn't. And my example from Mayborn's... beginning of the Mayborn journey, is I think were about 18% of our sales were digital, and I remember coming and saying, "You know what? This is going to grow massively, and we better be ready." And a lot of people look at you like, "Well, that means that we've got 82% of our sales are non-digital. Why are we focused on this?" And fast forward to today and it's almost 50% of our sales now are digital, and accelerating.

Chris Parsons:
So, you see that you're not always going to win people over at the start, but there were a number of individuals at that time that said, "You know what? I'm passionate about this, too," they got involved, and no surprise that they probably progressed through the organization faster than most. But establishing that clear message up front will create a clear delineation of who's with you and who do you have to keep working on? And the key working on a group is really important, too, because they're actually the ones that you need to continue to focus on. You can't ignore that because they are part of the fabric of an organization. But making sure that you're always bringing it back to what's in it for them is going to be critical.

Chris Parsons:
And I think if you go to the next slide, Lauren, what I would call the change champions then become super critical to your business. I think there's sometimes a bit of a misnomer on this, which is they have to be brilliant digital natives and have all the technical skill set to be able to be the smartest person in the room. And I don't personally think that that's always the case. Yes. You want them to have a hunger for knowledge acquisition and have a clear baseline capability in digital and be able to recruit great talent, as well, but actually, understanding how an organization works and ticks, having strong EQ, along with IQ, and a constant way of being able to take feedback, build on it, and drive that change through that constant reiteration of people's motivations I think is what makes a great change champion.

Chris Parsons:
And so, at the end of the day, not everybody wants to do this, but everything that I've ever seen is the people that put their hand up and choose to put themselves out with their head above the parapet a little bit are the ones that have the most success. And you don't, as you all know, learn from things unless you fail. This puts you on a pathway to some levels of failure, but the fun that you can have whilst you're doing it and the capabilities that you'll build and the success that you'll have as a consequence, I think, far outstrips any of the risks that you take when you take this on. So, for me, if you have the opportunity to be a change champion in your organization, take it as soon as it's offered.

Peter Crosby:
I love that encouragement, because I think a lot... I was thinking about that as you were talking, that it's best to do... If you're going to be taking on a change manager, it's best to do it as an organization that celebrates failure and knows that the lessons come from that. And testing and learning is critical. And not every organization is like that, and so for those that are in organizations where it might be somewhat change resistant or set back in older patterns, would you offer any advice to people to try and... Is it finding your tribe that you think, well, together, maybe we can change this, or-

Chris Parsons:
Yeah. I mean, I do think that that is a critical part. If you're on your own, it can be a very lonely place, and you can't afford to be a singular voice. So, you will always need to find the right individuals in the organization that are willing to take that chance. As I say, I think they're not always the obvious places. They won't always be the people that love and know digital as part of their fabric of who they are. I think sometimes these are the individuals who are hungry to learn, hungry to grow, hungry to progress, with the energy to support the agenda and the capability to deliver it. And so, for me, I think it's grabbing hold of the people that are there and marching as a group. But you're right that you are also going to run into people who oppose it, and sometimes those do outweigh the ones that support it. But part of the fun of this whole process is that you'll eventually win them over. You will. You just need to know that you will.

Peter Crosby:
So, Chris, have you been able to walk around, well, Zoom around, I guess, and say to some people, "50%, I told you so," or have you just let that lie there?

Chris Parsons:
You never say it.

Peter Crosby:
Of course.

Chris Parsons:
But it is always reassuring when people say you were right about this, this, and this. No more so for our business than... We had a record year last year as the whole world moved to e-commerce en masse. We were very well-positioned to take advantage of it. I didn't predict that personally, but at the end of the day, sometimes these things are positives that you never can fully predict. So, yes, it's definitely-

Peter Crosby:
It's nice when those people come around. Right?

Chris Parsons:
Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Crosby:
Yeah.

Chris Parsons:
And it will happen. I think that's what you've just got to trust the process, that that will ultimately happen. And then maybe one or two people that just never will, but the organization normally teases them out. So, this next slide is really something that I would want to spend a little bit of time on, and as you guys probably know, too, if you don't have a good data literacy culture within your organization, digital can be hard. There's too many times where you get into a meeting and say, "Yeah, but that's not what I think, and I've been in this business for 10 years and I know how things work. This is the way the consumer will react, so don't worry about it. And I'm going to keep doing this." Data becomes the great leveler. It is critical for people to understand data, how to use it. It's an easy thing to say, "Let's get more data." You need the right data. You need the right systems. You need to be able to operate those systems. And you need to then continue to benchmark the capability of your teams in order to use that data most effectively day in, day out.

Chris Parsons:
And I think what I've learned is, A, I had a long journey on this. I wasn't as data literate as I should have been or could have been, but I continue to learn on it personally. But there's a guy sitting outside my office now who's brilliant at data, so if I can't do it, he can. And we find ways to join the dot. So, for me, as you develop your change programs, ensuring that people have a literacy around data is critically important.

Lauren Livak:
And Chris, I think I'll also draw a connection to our last webinar around education, where the data... understanding where the data lives, why it's important, who owns it, but also the context behind the data. Right? Why are we asking for this data? We talked about that a bit in the e-commerce education side of things to explain why this data is even needed and a retailer or someone is asking for it. And did you find that adding context around different types of data also helped people understand why they needed it?

Chris Parsons:
That's 100% right. Yeah. So, there's a couple of areas here. One is we actually instituted a learning program through a group called Circus Street, who I'm sure some of you are very familiar with, who have a very credible online learning program. And what that allowed us to do is to educate audiences of how data gets utilized most efficiently and effectively, and people could then extract from some of those lessons how to use that in their own specific day job as either digital leaders or change agents. So, I think that certainly made for a fast start, let's call it, in terms of usage.

Chris Parsons:
I think what we've also learned is that as we deploy more advanced data management systems, you can't just say, "Right, I've done X and Y, and here's your dashboard. And this is how you need to manage against it," you need to go back two steps and explain how those systems work, what they're there for. And let people also find their own ways of using it to meet their own specific objectives, to how someone might use data to, say, run their Amazon business might be quite different to the way someone might use it to run their direct to consumer business. But you might still be using the same data systems to inform it, but how you manipulate that is really critical.

Chris Parsons:
And of course, then, there's an escalation to that, which is making sure that people understand what data point means what. Because all of this will come top down at some point where someone will say, "Well, why is your conversion rate off? Go fix by two percentage points and you'll be fine." It's not that easy. We all know that there's a load of data and other initiatives that go underneath that, and that's an output variable. So, all that comes together in various ways, but keeping this top of mind, ultimately, we found to be really critical and we continue you on that journey. We're not perfect.

Lauren Livak:
And that brings up a poll again. So, we would love to hear from everyone in the audience, does your organization currently have a digital change management strategy? So, answers would be either, yes, you have a strategy put in place; no, you do not; or maybe you have started talking about it, but you have not yet launched it yet. Very interesting to understand from the audience where everyone is at. And it looks like the poll popped up on the screen.

Peter Crosby:
It's coming live. Yep. And so, I'm going to close this out in five, four, three, two, one.

Lauren Livak:
All right. Wow. So, 52% do not have a program yet, but a lot of people are talking about it. That's really exciting. So, hopefully, the information and the stories that Chris is sharing today can help there. But I feel like I hear a lot more organizations starting to talk about it. This is a very popular topic when it comes to change management, how to put an official program in place, so hopefully this will help with that change.

Chris Parsons:
It's interesting, too, because I think sometimes there's trepidation of putting something in because there's an expectation that you'll get it right out the gate, and you never can. And I think that's a critically important point, is that starting something, even if it's relatively small, will pay dividends. And I think that for us was something that when we started our journey, I put together a series of the people that were the key disciples, and we gave a big presentation to the full board. And there was a few head scratches and a, "Why do we need to do this?" and lots of questions, and people didn't really understand some of it.

Chris Parsons:
But that was about four or five years ago. Today, we have three hours every month at our monthly board meeting fully dedicated to our digital change agenda. So, that is a relatively long period of time in business in this day and age, but equally, that is a real reflection of the fact we started from an acorn and we've grown it into a critical driver of our business from a top down C-suite standpoint. So, that is really an important start point, and this slide really outlines that.

Chris Parsons:
But clearly, then, as you get the alignment at the top of an organization, you've got to then build that down through the business to where, actually, everything happens, and that, then, is about really committing and connecting all those messages and finding the joined up ways of working that support the strategy with the right leaders, with the right resilience built through it, that then works across departments. And what we found is that our business probably was more regional owned, and therefore you could get on with it intra region. When you start introducing digital change agendas, it tends to crossover on a global parameter. And I think where we've had the most success, but also the most challenge, is you try to break down some of the historical siloed ways of working in order to create a much more cross-functional global center of excellence driven model which allows you then to make progress everywhere equally as fast. And I think that, to us, has been the right way to do it from our experience.

Chris Parsons:
And so, I think this does go back to some of the things that we've talked about earlier in terms of the way that you create the conditions for change, certainly templates, which I know is sometimes a dirty word, does help, believe it or not, not too many of them, but it does start to get people's framework of thinking a little bit more specific to the digital journey and people kind of... Repetition helps, especially as you're educating the uninitiated. Learning groups is clearly a part of this, as well. We call a lot of team briefs within our organization, so we brief the entire globe at once every month or so, and every two or three of those we do a digital update as to how we're getting on, and what some of the key areas are. And we find that we get a lot of great questions coming out.

Chris Parsons:
And one of the benefits we've seen of things like the Zoom culture is that people are happy to use chat when they weren't always happy to raise their hand and speak up in a multi-person webinar, so definitely use that as a tip. We talked about Circus Street being critical and Change Champions. And then I was sharing this with Lauren the other day, but in the first 18 months of our digital change agenda, I used to write an email out to the entire organization called Friday Digital Notes, and it was really my personal reflections on what's happening in digital, what we needed to do, somewhat personally related to the stories and the learnings that I was going through. And they resonated. They personalized the journey a little bit and allowed us to be able to get people to understand that this was around them and something that they needed to support. And so, even the things that are not always obvious from a communication standpoint do seem to have a positive effect when you add the cumulative benefits.

Chris Parsons:
This is probably the most critical area of a digital change program, is the cultural shift. It's hard. It is hard. And it's dead easy and loads of people say, "Oh, it's okay to fail. We celebrate failure here, and it's great," but actually, do you? And I think there's always a question around where the start and stop of that are. I think we've tried to define it a little bit more precisely. There are some things where you can't afford to fail, and therefore... and you shouldn't be expected to, so therefore, don't. But the things that you're trying out, those are okay if they don't work quite the way that you've thought. We've had some really good experiences where things have not worked, but we've learned from them. We've not had major repercussions from them, and we've gone on to use them to our benefit that's progressed other areas quite specifically.

Chris Parsons:
And we launched a program. One of our key icons in our business is a star for one of our brands. We launched a program called Shooting Stars, which allowed us to create these agile teams that could pitch for ideas that then they would go off and run over a three to six month period and come back with results without necessarily putting too much over scrutiny on it, which has definitely helped us to move the ball forward in quite a few areas. Some success, some fail, but ultimately, a good way to do it. We obviously look at KPIs, we try to keep those at the macro level, but clearly digital is in the detail,

Chris Parsons:
And so the right people seeing all the right objectives across each of those areas is important. And the other thing I'd pull out from this slide is HR plays a role in this. HR doesn't necessarily always know everything about digital, but they do know a lot about people, and as Lauren said at the start, people are what's most critical here. And so, as much as you can incorporate them into this, the better they are. My wife, as it happens, is an HR executive that does change program management, and it's hard, too, for them, but it's equally something which they can provide a much more credible third-party voice when you've got bridging the gap between what people want to change and what people want to stay doing that they're much more familiar with.

Lauren Livak:
And Chris, I found this point to be the most interesting when we were preparing for this, that HR also comes into play because someone's role might change slightly. Right? Like when you're changing an organization and you're adding a new system or you're requiring them to do more work, it's really important that you involve HR because sales versus marketing, roles might mix together and responsibilities might need to be changed. So, I thought this was a really important piece that you brought up where it's not only about them helping with the change, but the people's roles are also changing, which is connected to HR, as well.

Chris Parsons:
Hugely important. Some of my best conversations with HR are when they say, "Well, I don't understand this, so if I don't understand it, no one else is going to understand it." And they're a very good conscience to you, and so using them as that multifaceted support function, I think, is really crucial. And if you say, "Well, our HR people don't understand digital," you'd be very surprised because ours has learned it very, very quickly because they're so intrigued by it and they've been able to really get to grips with a lot of the areas around what happens and what needs to get done. They also can go off and talk to their HR peer groups and other companies and find some really great nuggets of how people are winning in the space, too, structurally, organizationally. So, definitely your best friend in the cultural shift journey.

Chris Parsons:
Right. Last couple of slides here. So, measuring change is obviously critically important. It's certainly linked to business goals and objectives, and they can be, again, good and bad. I think what we've learned is don't hide anything. Face up to where you've got problems and dive into the solutions. But equally, where you've got real positives, make sure you're using those to sing from the rooftops and accentuate those to show people that the impact of the change is meaningfully different and positive. We've talked a lot about training, but that's really important. We actually scorecard and league table how people do against our Circus Street program, and relatively competitive individuals like to be on top so it's definitely helped to get people committed to that program.

Chris Parsons:
And then from an adoption and culture standpoint, we do quite a few frequent surveys amongst the organization. Again, through part of our digital change program is we do digital led dips into temperature of the organization, and so we get quite a lot of good feedback, both through quant, but also more importantly through comments and qual, of how people are feeling about the change and where they see some of the opportunities and some of the successes. So, that definitely comes through, and I would highly encourage organizations to do a similar pulse survey because you can get more than just digital change from that, you can get a lot of other great things that can help power the organization in general.

Chris Parsons:
Of course, it's a careful balance as you change organizations. You have to agitate, you have to be the individual and the group that goes off and pushes people to a place that they're uncomfortable with. And it can be lonely sometimes because not everyone wants to go there and you set your own expectations as a consequence, but it's great when it works. And I think we'll talk a little bit more about that on the next slide. But you're also trying to inspire, and this is where I think reinforcing the wins, listening, showing you're listening, acting on the listening, getting in the right support from all the right support functions, that inspiration is uniquely important in this area, and so balancing those two is part of the leadership role that you have when you are part of the change program.

Chris Parsons:
But it does sometimes not work, and we know that, and you should expect it. And I think this is probably one of the hardest things, particularly in performance-driven cultures, which you've got to make sure doesn't become a barrier to further progression. And I think certainly don't jump ship is critical, and hopefully nobody would. But you've got to keep an eye on what the very near term goals are, but also very specifically what those long-term goals are. So, why are we doing what we're doing, and where do we want to get to? And how do we want to get there? And don't let a weekly bad result on a conversion rate become the be all and end all when, actually, what you're learning in your own D2C environment might be that you need to do 10 more things in a different place that you need to get the attention on which will solve the near term problems.

Chris Parsons:
So, that final point of not panicking can be hard, but know that it happens. I think as long as you know that people will do that... Part of the change leader's job is to calm people down and stay focused on that midterm, longer term process, and I think once you do that, people will get comfortable, that you can take on little speed bumps here and there without feeling like you're going to get shifted off the entire road. So, for us, this has been a really important part of our journey. We can still do more on it, but it drives us on, as well, and keeps us on our toes as much as anything else.

Peter Crosby:
Hey, Chris, when you started... I know we're running up against time. But I did just want to ask, you talked about it being in your phase three, did you know what phase three would be when you started out? Did you have them mapped out to some extent? Or did discovery drive those phases?

Chris Parsons:
Yeah, they evolved. I mean, nobody can really tell you what your phases are going to look like because you have to almost personalize it through the organization. So, for me, Peter, it was as we went. You bring in capable people halfway through each phase, and so you end up getting their learnings and understanding and integrating that into what you're doing. So, you end up with people helping you to guide you to almost that next phase, whatever it might be. And I can see, if you ask me what four and five might be for us, have somewhat of a view, but I'm sure that it won't be exactly what I think it is today, or it will evolve even further as we get closer to those points in time.

Peter Crosby:
Great. Thanks.

Chris Parsons:
I mean, I'll finish with this, but I think without reading through what's on the page, it's a combination of motivation, alignment, clarity, culture, objective setting, and adaptation. If you take the essence of these six boxes that ultimately comes together to make for a great change program. Today, even still, when we're four or five years into this journey, every week, something different comes up. But I would tell you that it's the best part of what I do because it's new, it's different, it's challenging, it's never dull, it's progressive, and it's measurable, so you can see where you're heading and most of the time it's in a positive direction. So, for me, remember this is hard, but it's fun. And it's where I think if you're leaning into this in your organization, you're going to have the most success and grow the most, which is why I love it. So, that's how I'll finish. Lauren, back to you.

Lauren Livak:
Thank you, Chris. And just to close out, the similar way that Peter opened us up as, the only constant and digital is change, and so that's why change management is really so critical. And I know we are at two minutes over time, Peter.

Peter Crosby:
I know. And I unfortunately will have to leave the questions for another conversation. But I wanted to thank both of you, Lauren and Chris. Thank you so much for closing the 2021 sessions of the Digital Shelf Playbook series. Now, as we head towards the holiday, I want to share the Digital Shelf gift that keeps on giving, the link to our Playbook series page, where all the episodes, current and future, will be found anytime. That's at salsify.com/digital-shelf-playbook-webinar-series. And if for some reason you can't remember all that, it'll be in the recording. But also, you can reach out to Lauren or me on LinkedIn at any time, and we're happy to share with you. It'll be in the followup email, as well, which will include a recording to this webinar. So, thanks for joining us. We wish you all the best holiday seasons for you and your organizations as we head into the holiday shopping season. And we will see you back at the Playbook series in 2022.

Peter Crosby:
Thanks so much to Lauren and Chris for allowing us this crossover episode of the Digital Shelf Playbook series. If you would like to see or share the original source webinar, we have the link in the show notes, or go to digital shelfinstitute.org/digital-shelf-playbook. All the webinars of the Digital Shelf Playbook series will be posted there over the coming months. If you have questions about any of this or hate using show notes, you can reach out to Lauren Livak anytime on LinkedIn or at lauren@digitalshelfinstitute.org. Thanks for being part of our community.