Confession – I am a big, big fan of TikTok.
I engage with the app from a personal perspective to follow creators who talk about topics close to my heart, and I also love to watch content from some hilarious, curious and slightly crazy people who share their ideas and stories*.
Now TikTok may not be for you. There's an impression that's it's all trendy teenage dances and catchy lip-syncing videos. But I think the deep engagement with TikTok's format (with over a billion users worldwide) can give us some valuable insights for our Change Management practice.
So what are the best TikTok lessons on Change Management?
Sing a duet, not a solo
TikTok demonstrates many people are keen to collaborate and create a 'duet' with you, rather than just consuming content sent to them.
Is your change strategy a solo performance or an opening for a duet?
Keep it small and mighty
With an average video length of 15-60 seconds, TikTok is showing that micro and even nano content is resonating with learners. The #learnontiktok hashtag has more than 374.8 billion views, covering topics of all kinds.
Could you make your change learning more bite-sized, and easy to consume?
Perfection ain't necessary
Even the most accomplished experts are sharing their knowledge and expertise without a pristine video setup and spot on script. Sharing relevant and timely information is key, along with acknowledging when there's been missteps or a change of direction is needed. Is perfection getting in the way of sharing your change?
Make it authentic and human
No matter how serious the topic, or highly-credentialed the expert, breaking down the barriers of formality and seeing the human and authentic side is encouraged. This may be through a more fun and light-hearted approach, or a relaxation of the expected formalities and norms. How can you take more light-hearted or authentic approach to sharing your change, even in a more formal environment?
Forget the Gatekeeping
Behind the scenes, trade secrets, a day in the life – full disclosure is absolutely in and gatekeeping is out. Access to knowledge, not hidden behind firewalls, or boardroom doors, but shared freely and available to all is an attractive idea. How can you be radically transparent in your change, with 'open door' more than just lip service?
Know your disinformation landscape
Unregulated, unqualified information isn't just a TikTok problem, it's an internet problem, but it's also a change problem. False information, shared with confidence undermines the credibility of the whole enterprise. Do you know where disinformation is coming from in your change and how to combat it at its source?
Some of this is not new insight, yet the rise of TikTok indicates that that collaboration, transparency and authenticity are perpetual priorities and yet are still being missed in many change strategies.
It's likely the compelling case for bringing this approach to your change strategy won't come from you sharing with your leadership team that 'it works on TikTok' - but it's hard to deny the success of serious creators (from Bill Nye on the topic of science, Headspace on mental wellness and everything in between), especially in engaging younger demographics in learning, social issues and personal and organisational change.
The lessons of TikTok for Change Management and the huge success of this platform probably won't lead to your people doing trendy dances in the halls, but applying these principles can tap into the underlying desire for connection, opportunity and authenticity. And that's something you can design for in any change.
What do you think? Are you an avid consumer of social platforms and their trends?
Or do you believe this is a flash in the pan that tells us nothing about how we could shape our change learning and practice?
*I know there are concerns at the moment about security of those clicking through to third –party links and thoughts of banning the platform are always in the news in Australia. User-beware when clicking any link on the internet is my advice here.