Building Consensus


It would be great if everyone welcomed change the same way, but this is never the case.  How change is implemented can make all the difference in the amount of acceptance and resistance that surface. Minimizing resistance, while always an optimal goal, is more likely to be achieved if stakeholder concerns are identified and addressed early.  To this end, a well-thought-out communications strategy can provide an invaluable tool to help you build consensus.

For example, I worked on one project in which self-service technology gave managers and employees online access to work and vacation schedules for the first time.  Employees loved it, but managers felt they were being dumped on, doing work traditionally managed (manually) by HR.  By understanding the specific concerns of managers, we were able to address their concerns head-on and communicate some of the contrasting benefits of an online system, e.g., speed in execution, online recordkeeping, better management of staff resources.

Here’s a few tips when you are deciding your communications strategy: Make sure that:

  • The scope of changes are fully identified according to stakeholder impact
  • If the change impacts vary, vary the information you communicate, accordingly –  “one size” may not fit all
  • Track and address stakeholder concerns as they surface – communications should be an iterative process to be effective.

By establishing an open and two-way communication approach, you stand a better chance of promoting trust and building consensus across your organization.