How to be a change maker according to Mad Men’s Don Draper
Mad Men's main character Don Draper can be a savvy business man with the know-how to take charge of change. Contemplate the following two quotes by Don Draper and the lessons they hold for how to take charge of change and develop in your professional life.
"Let's also say that change is neither good or bad. It simply is. It can be greeted with terror or joy – a tantrum that says 'I want it the way it was,' or a dance that says 'Look, something new.'" (Season 3, Episode 2)
This quote reflects how important it is to have an accepting attitude towards change.
Successful business transformations are in part achieved by getting employees to accept that change is inevitable. McKinsey and Company found that a whopping 70 per cent of change programs fail to do what they set out to do mostly because of employee resisting getting out of their comfort zones. More effort needs to go into reassuring employees that change can be a good thing and, while changing a business has its risks, it is necessary to stay competitive.
Communicating the reason for a change to employees at all levels in the company is important, especially considering that only 68 per cent of senior managers feel they do not fully comprehend why a change is being made, according to Towers Watson.
This is why a good leader most of all needs to have the right attitude and the ability to explain the reason for change. It makes a difference if the person that everyone looks to can show confidence in change.
"I have a life, and it only goes in one direction: forward." (Season 1, Episode 5)
It is a great coping mechanism to keep focusing on the future rather than getting bogged down in past failures.
Kate Sweetman and Shane Cragun, both founders of SweetmanCragun, wrote in Harvard Business Review that companies should apply this forward thinking to digital technology, for example. They give the example of Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO since 2014 who, within 24 months, became a leader in cloud computing. Before Nadella, Microsoft was lagging behind in the cloud computing market, but Nadella didn't look back at the company's past failures to adapt and instead just kept moving forward.
Although the character Don Draper is a far from perfect person in Mad Men, he certainly has some words of wisdom on the need to embrace change. To learn key skills on how you can make changes in your professional life and go forward with the right attitude, take Implement Online's free Taking Charge Of Change class.