Change Management, Fear And Marketing

Director of Marketing at EATEL, a top telecommunications company offering one of the only 100% fiber-to-the-home networks in the country.

Has time accelerated? Did we quantum leap and land in the future? It can certainly feel that way. We’ve been in the midst of a digital transformation and consumer-led revolution for many years, but the worldwide novel coronavirus pandemic has supercharged this movement.

As a marketer, keeping up with technology and changing consumer behavior has been both a challenge and an opportunity for me. Building complex sales funnels, managing explosive amounts of customer data and moving toward digital-first experiences has required two things: change management and courage.

There are many teachings and experiences that have influenced me as a leader in an era of what I consider to be great wisdom and great foolishness. The two core teachings that have resonated with and defined me are the agile methodology and the power of mindset.

In agile, there’s a set of rules we live by: a manifesto. This methodology is not just for software and technology projects. We can apply it to anything. I’ve found it especially appropriate in the fast-moving, experimental, always-changing world of marketing. The credences that bring teams together and build dreams are simple:

1. Make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time. If you get new information, you can make new decisions. Don’t blame each other. Accept that you all did your best with the knowledge you had at the time: period.

2. Value individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Don’t get blindsided by the status quo and limitations of the tools. Choose people first, keep an open dialogue and explore new ideas and solutions.

3. Minimum viable products (or communities): Choose working products over comprehensive documentation. Get it out there, test it, fail fast, make the next version better and keep iterating.

4. Responding to change over following a plan: This goes back to the first principle. If you get new information, you should make new decisions. Don’t stick to an old playbook just because you already approved and agreed upon it.

This sounds pretty good, right? You’re halfway there. It’s going to take one more thing. The second thing you should have to live these principles and truly transform a team, organization or yourself is the right mindset: a fearless mindset. This one-two combo punch can really set things on fire and bring innovation to the next level. First, you should believe you can do it. I’ve been called a renegade. People have called my ideas “science fiction.” I’ve been David in an epic face-off with Goliath. I’ve been successful. It’s because I had the right mindset. I had the right people around me. I believed I could do it. Not everyone will see your vision. Sometimes only you can see it. When that happens, you’ll require courage. You’ll need to be fearless.

How do you become fearless? Welcome to the classic hero’s journey. There are many stories, books, examples and people who have conquered fear and have great lessons to teach. There are many people I admire, follow, read about and channel inspiration through. The most effective teachers are often your own experience and the people closest to you, both personally and professionally. Once you see fearlessness, you can believe in it and achieve it too.

I’ve seen it. A good friend of mine, Rachel Davidson, specifically conquered fear and literally wrote a book on it called Dangerous: When A Woman Becomes Fearless. I’ve found her teachings to be similar to those of Napoleon Hill, Bob Proctor, Henry Ford, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others.

Here are my takeaways on how to be fearless from these individuals and my own experience:

1. Mindset: Stay positive and get into a growth mindset. Never doubt yourself. Never get down on yourself for too long. Just like they say in agile: Fail fast and learn faster. There’s always a lesson and a bigger picture. If you can’t see your worth or the value in your ideas, it’s likely that no one else will either. If you give up, no one will do it for you. Keep going.

2. Purpose: Do you believe in what you are doing? Are you helping people? Are you solving a problem? Are you delivering value? Do you feel good about it? If you don’t, you are doing yourself, your organization and the world a disservice. You are here for a reason; it’s your job to find out what that is and go after it.

3. Knowledge: Some of the best weapons against fear are knowledge and experience. Good news: There is a free-flowing, super-accessible mega-wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. The entry level to becoming an expert at anything has been greatly reduced. You can learn just about anything online, connect with anyone in the world and even drop in on conversations about any topic you can imagine. Use these tools. Build your knowledge. Find your people. Create a mastermind group. Never stop learning.

The future belongs to those who create it. Be agile. Be fearless. Launch your campaigns, build new products, update your pricing strategies, make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time, fail fast and never stop learning.

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?