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Managing Change is ALL about Communication!

Communicate Often to Engage Others in Change

A quick story for you – I am working with a client who has “difficulty” (her words, not mine) launching and sustaining change within the organization. She is one of the senior leaders within the organization. She tells me that over the last few years, a number of change initiatives have been launched and each one has failed because change has not been sustained over the long term.

In discussing the situation further with her, as she prepared to launch another change initiative, it became obvious that communication about change is very limited within the organization. It usually goes like this:

  • One of the members of the leadership team sends an email to all employees that a change initiative has been launched and explains, briefly, what is expected to happen and when.
  • Around mid-point during the initiative, an email is sent around again updating employees on status and letting them know when the change will be implemented and what needs to be done by employees to work with the change.
  • At the end of the initiative, upon implementation of the change, employees are notified and provided information about training, documentation, etc. to help them work with the change.

Let’s point out a few issues with this process:

  • A communication is sent after the initiative has been started. This does not enable for engagement of employees in the change initiative. They are effectively being told what is going to happen and when and are not provided an opportunity to give input.
  • Employees are not told the why for the change – how it benefits the organization and the individual employees, how it is aligned to achieving a strategic goal or solving a problem.
  • No further communication happens until the change initiative is half-way completed and then the communication is about when the change will go into effect and what employees are expected to do. Again, no feedback is asked for nor would employees feel welcomed to provide any feedback or thoughts.
  • The last communication provides employees with notification that the change is in place and lets them know about resources, such as training, documentation, etc., to help them work with the change. Notice that training is provided after the change has gone into effect thereby not enabling for a comfort and confidence level in working with the change that has been implemented.
  • There is no follow up to gather feedback about the change, and certainly there was no testing of the change prior to implementation. In reviewing past initiatives, the change implemented in many of the initiatives really didn’t work effectively for those who had to work with it and in some cases, the change was actually less efficient.

Abudi Consulting Group is working with the client to more effectively roll out the next change initiative – engaging employees early on and throughout the initiative and getting a number of employees, from across the organization, involved in the planning process. Additionally, training is being provided to leaders on how to lead change initiatives and to employees on how to support and champion change. We are surveying all levels of the organization to understand more about past initiatives so that the same mistakes are not repeated.

While no one really likes change, employees will support change when they are involved in it early on and they are shared why a change has to occur and how it will benefit them as well as the organization. It’s simple really! When we communicate more effectively and sufficiently, we are better able to engage others in accepting and supporting change.

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