Communication Steps for Organizational Change is A Necessity
Changing direction in an organization is never easy. Just ask any change management consultant or leader.
But as a leader you have the responsibility to set the course for organizational change and marshal employee support and commitment for reaching the desired destination. There are all sorts of programs and books that can show you in detail what is needed from leadership to successfully implement an organizational change initiative.
The Three Simple Communication Steps for Organizational Change
But our experience as change management consulting leaders has convinced us that it all boils down to three simple communication steps:
#1. Communicate the Why and the How
The best leaders know how to paint a clear and compelling picture of the desired end game. What will it look like when the change has been achieved and why will life be better for the organization and for the individual employees? It is critical that employees understand the rationale for change before they can commit to the work it will take to achieve it.
In order to accept and buy into the common goal, they will want to know what is needed of them. Will there be training involved? Will they have to follow new procedures? Will they transition into new roles?
Be open in presenting both the good and the bad news. It is better to be truthful upfront than to lose the trust of your workforce by ignoring the hard work ahead and the sacrifices that may be needed. Make sure your employees believe that their contributions are critical to the success of the organizational initiative and that their questions and concerns are welcome and will be addressed at any stage of the process.
#2. Set the Example
Few leaders recognize how closely they are observed. This is only magnified during times of organizational change. Employees look to their leaders for proof that the change will come from and be supported by the top.
More important than what you say is how you behave because actions do speak louder than words. When your actions are aligned with what you say, you will earn employee trust. When you show that you mean what you say, they will follow your example.
#3. Encourage and Recognize Desired Behaviors
Organizational change is difficult at the beginning and hard to sustain over time. Constant reinforcement is what can keep everyone on track. Acknowledge and celebrate progress. Recognize the efforts of your workforce and show your appreciation in meaningful ways.
The Bottom Line
Successful organizational change requires a focused effort from the entire company. Leaders at all levels are the ones to create the future vision, enlist employee commitment, model the new behaviors and reward the new ways of working.
Corporate Change Is Personal
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Vice President, Human Resources
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Kim Silva, CFO
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Senior Vice President
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