A universal truth is that effective communication is critical under any mode of operation, as one of my colleagues says, ‘run and manage’ or ‘build and fix’. Case in point, doesn’t every job requirement ask for excellent verbal and written communication skills?
The importance of communication, however, increases exponentially during a change initiative; but why is it that clear, concise communication is so indispensable when it’s attached to a change management initiative and is there a way to ensure that it will take place?
Communication in times of change
The criticality of communication is heightened when change happens, primarily because change in any form can trigger a number of emotional responses. Considering that change becomes an emotional journey that affects different stakeholders in different ways, all communications need to be sensitive to this.
Practitioners of change speak in terms of individually, and sometimes organizationally, travelling through the ‘change curve’ or the ‘human response to change’, based on the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
This model refers to the 7 stages we go through when faced with change:
One of the most effective ways to help move us through these phases is:
- The right kind of communication to the right people,
- At the right time,
- With the right messages,
- And the right engagement strategies.
Since communicating is an essential tool in our toolkit, how can we make sure that we are communicating effectively, in order to help our organization and the individuals involved in this change journey be successful?
There are a number of ways we can do this:
- Educate as many people as possible about why this change is important.
- Build a comprehensive strategy which takes the needs of our audiences to heart; including cultural considerations and applying best practices.
- Develop a right fit communications and engagement plan based on this strategy.
- Ensure we are resourced appropriately to do a great job.
- Wrap accountability, decision-making and governance around the communication effort, so that it cannot fall through the cracks.
By following these tips and adapting our communications plans to suit our individual organization and stakeholder groups, we are able to ensure we’re reaching out in a way that connects with our audience and has a real impact.
To find out more information on effective communication and change management see Change Integration™.
If you would like to know more about organizational change and effective communication, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org