One thing we know for sure from change management training and consulting, change is difficult.
Employees tend to hang on to what they know how to do and they resist, often out of fear of failure or incorrect assumptions, adjusting to the new behaviors or circumstances. And what allows these fears to take hold and sabotage any change initiative?
Often it is ugly rumors that are allowed to circulate and reinforce the negative emotions. We define change rumors as unverified information (not opinions) that are in circulation among your key stakeholders that answer significant questions that people want answered. Rumors basically fill in the gaps and help people understand an unclear situation. And when it comes to change rumors, the information is almost always negative.
Just as these kids with tin cans will have to learn to be really clear with their communications if they want to be fully understood, so do business leaders need to learn how to manage communications if they want their change plans to be fully implemented.
Unfortunately when it comes to major organizational change, rumors begin almost immediately after (if not before) the change is announced. From person to person, unverified but compelling statements are passed along. And the untruths build as worker’s fears and insecurities grow. Employees naturally worry about how the change will negatively affect them. Will I lose my job? Is the company going under? Will I be able to switch to a new way of doing things without losing status and pay?
When it comes to effectively managing organizational change, it is critical to stop unsubstantiated rumors in their tracks. Here are four keys to combatting workplace rumors effectively and giving your change program a chance:
Effective change management training and consulting relies to a great degree upon managing the communication around change. Anticipate rumors and be ready to counter them in a straightforward manner with the facts.
To learn more about organizational change, download The 5 New Lenses of Change Leadership Whitepaper
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