Over the past couple of weeks I have been doing workshops and talks and entertaining people with what I call “the magic quadrant of getting shit done”. It’s this chart of “walkers, talkers, stalkers and baulkers” – the four basic behaviours that people exhibit when presented with some kind of change.
This tends to get people talking – which is great. But more importantly, it provides us with a shared language. It helps us identify, from a 1000ft point of view, what is happening for the people who are involved in our projects – and allows us to name a behaviour. It allows us to identify individuals and then develop a plan to shift their behaviour (or to amplify their best efforts as appropriate).
Now, changing someone’s behaviour is never easy. It requires focus and commitment (from you). It requires a plan and often a great deal of time (also from you). Remember, the person, the organisation or the brand you are trying to change has little incentive to change – so the onus is on you.
While I have worked in marketing for years, most of what I actually do comes from the world of corporate “change management”. It just so happens that brands and branding are a great way of curating an ongoing narrative about change. I learned this early on and continue to bring this into every strategy I produce and every tactic that I use.
When I was recently asked about the difference between “talkers” and “walkers”, I realised that sometimes the talkers actually think THEY are the walkers. This is not just a case of drinking your own kool aid – it’s a lack of understanding of the principles of change management.
The talkers believe that simply identifying a gap or a problem is enough. They may even go so far as to point out a solution (which may or may not be obvious). In some cases they can even provide a connection – a person, a business or a recommendation to help. But this is not enough. Success means that even the most articulate and passionate talkers must at some stage shift mode and become walkers (or at least hire or surround themselves with some).
Saying is momentary, doing is forever. In the words of The King – what we need is a little less conversation, a little more action.