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Want Organizational Transitions to Succeed – COMMUNICATE!

Want Organizational Transitions to SucceedCommunication – Communication – and more Communication. That sums it up as the how to prepare for organizational transition. Sounds easy; but rarely is there enough of it! Ensuring that employees are engaged in organizational change/transition is necessary for long term success. But organizations can only engage employees when communications are frequent, honest and enable for two-way conversation.

Certainly ensuring that there is a cross-functional representation of people from throughout the org at all levels involved in the effort in some way or another is essential. This diversity enables for such a wide variety of perspectives, input, ideas, etc. in moving forward with organizational transitions/changes. Think about it – if an organization wants to understand why customers are leaving and need to change how they engage customers, they need to first engage the employees – those closest to the customer – in understanding what is happening and why.

Let me share a story of my own. I had a client (a small organization of about 100 people) that was going through significant org change/transition. They were being acquired by a much larger organization. The larger organization was acquiring them because my client was in an industry the larger organization had not tapped into previously, and the smaller organization had expertise the larger one did not. I worked with the CEO on the plan to communicate what was happening and help the staff to adjust/adapt to change that was coming. He was concerned about his first all staff meeting because he truly did not know what to tell them about what would happen when the larger company took over. He knew they would be concerned about their jobs. We discussed the best approach was a straightforward honest one! He did not have to know it all!

To make a long story a bit shorter – he shared with the staff that while he didn’t know exactly what would happen, he did know they would be OK for at least 6 – 9 months and added that this company did something the larger company did not do and they were being purchased for their expertise. He also shared personally that were there were redundancies (like HR and finance and some of the IT folks), he would help them find jobs when the time came and would support them in any way he could (such as writing reference letters, etc.) He thought that people would leave the meeting being even more concerned but they did not. Many told him they appreciated his honestly and that he was so forthright.

He continued to regularly communicate with the group, sharing what he knew and telling them when he was unsure of did not yet have information he could share. His honestly enabled for him to keep the organization moving forward through all this change. All of them stayed with him through the transition and beyond. And he held up his end, when redundancies were found and needed to be eliminated, he helped everyone impacted find their next opportunity.

Communications – early on, frequently and continuous – are essential to the success of organizational transitions/change initiatives.

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