Change is a necessary – although not always welcomed – facet of business. Organizations of all sizes institute changes — whether by expanding or shrinking resources, changing policies or processes, merging businesses, or introducing new technology or values. Whatever the change, how you communicate it will make all the difference in how it is perceived and embraced by those who will be impacted by it. Here is the first in a series of tips I offer my clients about how to effectively communicating change.
Tip #1: Communicate to all levels of your organization.
Change begins at the top. As the CEO, member of the Executive team, or Business Leader, the business case for a change initiative should be communicated to employees by you first – or at least it should be. When leadership takes a proactive approach in communicating change, implementing that change is met with far less resistance.
For example, I suggest you begin with your direct reports. They should have a clear understanding of the facts and be provided with speaking points and/or presentations that mirror your key messages. Empower them to further champion the change by opening the lines of communication between leadership and employees e.g., creating two-way information flows between you, their teams, and their peers. Encourage the use of every internal communications vehicle available: email, bulletin boards, staff meetings, daily huddles, posters, newsletters, Intranet, voicemail blasts, “lunch and learns,” online chats, etc. – whatever it takes to keep the dialogue going.
If you take a proactive approach in your communications, you can promote a meaningful dialogue across your organization and simultaneously minimize rumors and the prevalence of nay-sayers.
In my next blog, I’ll discuss several ways you can achieve buy-in at all levels of your organization.