Organizations with highly effective communication and change management practices are more than twice as likely to significantly outperform their peers. Here are six activities that influence overall change success.
People fear change. How can you overcome this? Plan to communicate… a lot. Simple, clear messages can overcome the fear of the unknown. Employees need to know what’s changing and when, why the change is happening (and how it fits into the bigger picture, i.e. the business strategy) and the process to execute the change, including a timeline or milestones. Repeat your key messages often throughout all of your various channels. Clarity, simplicity and consistency are key.
Listening to your stakeholders, and letting them know you’re acting on their feedback, is an important part of building trust. You can include listening into your transformation planning in different ways and at different times throughout the process. Hold focus groups, survey or poll employees to support your need for the change and get suggestions for what’s working or what improvements could be made. Test the new process, program or idea with a group of people before rolling it out. And ask for feedback after the change has been announced and/or after it’s happened. What questions and concerns do your stakeholders have? How are you addressing those concerns?
Remember to include measurable goals in your transformation plan — goals can be monetary savings, actions your stakeholders have to take or a culture shift. Make sure to revisit these goals throughout the transformation.
Think about who needs to know what’s happening and who is indirectly affected by the change. Who should be part of the change team, who needs to support the initiative, who needs to be in the know though they’re not directly involved and which external stakeholders need to know?
Some change initiatives are short and fairly simple, and others are years and years in the making. In either situation, adjust the plan as needed. Stay focused on the outcome. Return to your goals. Repeat your key messages over and over.
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