The Change Agent
I can’t stand status quo. Somehow. I want it sometimes- even long for it. But I can’t seem to stop challenging it.
In my many years of working life, I have always found myself at the center of change. From the time I managed marketing for network center solutions (enterprise level networking solutions- mostly to dotcommers of the early millenium years)- to consulting on developing web apps/sites to the time of starting Digital Media departments in a few agencies- introducing search engine marketing and developing digital marketing frameworks for my agencies- to starting a completely new agency in a completely new country- to dabbling with starting-up and independent consulting.
It was not easy. It has never been. But many of these have been successful stints. Satisfying and I have brought value to the table.
The only common thing with these challenges has been the fact that I was brought in to be- or expected to be- or turned out to be- The Change Agent.
Digital Marketing field is a field where you can either be like a monkey- sitting on a tree and making some noise- or you get into the jungle and ride the tiger.
- There were (and still are) few systems in place- which implies you could establish a new paradigm- or wait till someone else does it.I did it myself.
- You had to learn the ropes yourself. Self learn -take time away from family. Be “always on’. Learn to swim or drink the water on your way down. And let me tell you- I drink a lot of water- but somehow always surface
- New storms are always on the horizon – but you have to keep on chasing the storm- riding the tiger. (Oh yes!- and if you survive- you need to train everyone else how to do it- over a weekend)
As a change agent, I have always been commanding positions yet without directions. Performing various tasks, yet resource deprived. A digital specialist but also a planner, suit, salesperson, project manager, ad trafficker, et al. Always in start-up mode- always on.
But too much change never worried me. What always scared me though was too little change.Perhaps it is the Indian roots- there is a naturally high tolerance for ambiguity. Mix it with the attitude- “I can do this and I can do this better- because I am passionate about this and willing to go the extra mile”- and the concoction would define a change agent.
But I have been a change agent not just for the sake of change- I have been in situations that demanded change. And someone had to bring it. A start-up, a new set up, an innovation- whatever it was.
Many a times, the challenge was to define change itself.
The times demanded change- and it had ‘something to do with digital’. This was the untold directive. What it actually was, how to leverage and how to solve whatever it was, had to be defined, managed and executed.
Thankfully, leading that change and translating it into something meaningful and demonstrating success was something I have been able to achieve. More in some places, lesser in others. Notwithstanding the degree, it did make some difference. And not without the help of friends and colleagues.
In the initial years- the challenge of making everyone understand the logic of failing fast and failing quick- was immense. As a ‘digital’ specialist- you are expected to know what is going on!
Most of the times, the complexity of the change came not from market forces or even defining the change- it came from internalizing/fitting that solution within the existing dynamics of the organization. That is the biggest challenge.
Life continues throwing new challenges- and with them come some wonderful opportunities.
I am finding myself at the center of another big change agent role- and a wonderful opportunity. I have joined Nokia in Singapore- as the Head of Earned media for South-East Asia and Pacific.
I am getting to define, manage and execute change – all over again- and I do hope to get your support, encouragement and tips.
Chasing the Storm continues to be independent of my professional assignments- and will continue to carry personal thoughts (though a little intermittently) on Ideas, innovations and inspirations.
Happy New Year and god bless.