Often, leaders will implement a plan and not pay attention to the “change needs” of their employees. Paying attention to those critical needs can mean the difference between success and failure. In this final part of the three part series, Moving through Change, we will look at communicating change and leading the way through change.
Specify the nature of the change
Make sure that people understand the change and how it affects the areas in which people work.
Communicate the business or organizational reasons for the change.
Explain the change, good and bad
Some people may perceive being negatively impacted by the change. Being open about all good and bad aspects help people manage it.
Develop creative communication
Don’t just rely on one method of communication. Use word, verbal, written, and in different formats; use diagrams; hold discussions.
Manage the negatives
As negatives occur, make sure they are anticipated and managed.
Explain what success looks like
Make sure people can work towards a future vision.
Explain what’s in it for people (WII-FM)
Try to identify what will be a benefit to each individual in the new world. This helps people with the incentive to manage the added work and disruptions that change causes.
People may not be ready for messages the first time they are presented. Follow up your communications with more communications.
Make communication two-way
A key part of people’s motivation will stem from their ability to be involved. Provide the opportunity for feedback, discussion and debate so that people feel included.
Be a change figurehead
You will be communicating with your words and actions. People will look to you for cues, right down to your enthusiasm and perceived body language.
Reinforce employee value and role in the growth and strength of the organization.
You can NEVER over communicate during change!
Leading the Way through Change
- Leaders must make sure that the entire organization understands the business case for the change. Everyone must understand why the change needs to be made.
- Leaders must consistently communicate the business case for the change so that people will believe that it’s both real and urgent. Sometimes people aren’t ready to hear the change message the first time it’s delivered.
- Leaders must be certain that all levels of leadership are on board with the change and are communicating the same message. They need to understand the change impact to effectively communicate it and model the way for their employees.
- Leaders must be properly attuned to the passive resistance to change that inevitably shows up. Examples include missed deadlines will probably be missed and excuses for not implementing.
- Leaders should listen more than talk and they must understand where people are coming from. They don’t have to agree, but they do, at least, need to understand.
- Leaders must recognize, celebrate, and publicize all of the wins (even the small ones), so that the organization can see that movement is being made.