Industry Perspectives: Using Video to Communicate Change for Business Success

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Like death and taxes, change is one of life’s certainties, and how companies manage it determines success in both the short- and long-term. As the authors of Global Manifest Destiny: Growing Your Business in a Borderless Economy wrote, "Entire markets and industries from around the world are changing faster than most business leaders can reinvent and transform their companies." But reinvent and transform our companies we must if we want to succeed in the global marketplace.

In this column, I’ll introduce a powerful new approach, ChangeCasting, which promotes the use of focused video messages to expedite organizational change and which can be implemented quickly and easily.

Business information today is communicated primarily through email but also through instant messaging and texting, in phone calls and voice mail, and over intranets, extranets, and websites. As a result, the message is often buried in an avalanche of communications that can be easily lost, overlooked, or ignored. As Jackson Nickerson, professor of organization and strategy at Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School and co-author of the upcoming book ChangeCasting says, "E-mails and phone calls don’t attract enough attention, convey an emotional connection, or lay the foundation for a conversation that builds clarity and trust."

According to a Harvard Business Review study, these communication media as well as improvements in network bandwidth and collaboration software have caused an increase in the use of virtual collaboration and a significant decrease in actual meetings. The advantages of virtual collaboration are inarguable; however, it lacks the efficacy of face-to-face interaction. The key to meeting the challenge of constant change is the ability of business leaders to share insights and visions with those who can turn strategic plans into action and revenue.

With affordable digital video cameras and video-enabled cell phones, almost anyone can create, distribute, and view video. Younger employees have grown up in the digital age, and all things digital are second nature to them. In fact, if you want someone’s undivided attention, nothing supersedes multitasking like video.

Enterprise video is currently undergoing a transformation to a more agile and effective approach. Traditionally, businesses have used contract production companies and in-house media groups to produce video of various events, primarily presentations and training. But these productions can be quite complex and expensive and lack natural spontaneity.

That’s where ChangeCasting comes in. Executives and managers can use ChangeCasts—which are 1 to 5 minutes in length, communicate a single main point, and involve both talking and listening—to communicate with employees on a regular basis. A ChangeCast solution also includes an anonymous feedback mechanism for honest, useful communication, which reduces misunderstandings and uncertainties. ChangeCasts can be viewed live as part of a streaming broadcast or via VOD to accommodate employees’ schedules.

To implement ChangeCasting effectively and efficiently, your solution should work with your existing IT infrastructure. The last thing an enterprise needs is a whole new overlay infrastructure devoted to video. Here are some technical issues to consider with ChangeCasting:

Ease of use—Using a ChangeCasting solution has to be intuitive for the IT staff in charge of implementation, for the executive recording ChangeCasts, and for the employees viewing them.

Video management—ChangeCasts need to be made available to viewers as live streaming video or as VOD, which can be viewed at employees’ convenience. VOD is particularly important in today’s global organizations with distributed work forces spread across several time zones. In addition, it is important to be able to make ChangeCasts available through corporate portals and easily remove them when they become obsolete.

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