Communicate Change to Stakeholders — Your Plan for Change Success
Corporate change statistics are discouraging. Reportedly, only 30% of corporate change initiatives succeed. When we investigate the reasons for so many change failures and review our change management simulation data, the main culprit is how we communicate change — there is a lack of understanding, commitment, and alignment.
Effective Change Communication Means Active Stakeholder Involvement
Many change leaders believe that they have put together a workable plan for change, but they neglect to actively involve their key stakeholders. And it’s not so much the “what” of the change message that is misunderstood by employees, but the “why.” When employees don’t “get” the rationale for change, they are likely to resist.
Prepare and Plan for Resistance
It’s only human nature. The status quo is familiar; change can be threatening. For successful change to occur, companies need to get all key stakeholders on board. Whether the change has to do with organizational restructuring, leadership shifts, mergers and acquisitions or changes in regulations, you need the support and commitment, rather than the pushback and resistance, of your workforce to make it happen.
How to Do It Right
One recent survey of over 500,000 employees found that almost 1-in-3 did not understand why the proposed organizational change was happening. Don’t let that happen to you and your team. Actively involving key stakeholders early and often and then follow these change communication best practices.
Inspire the workforce with a clear and compelling vision for change of a better future, the agreed upon reasons that the status quo is dissatisfactory, and the practical and thoughtful business case for change.
Be honest in your answers. When you know, be clear and consistent. When you don’t know, say so, then find out and share the answer.
And be sure to make change communications personal. Employees will be most interested in how the change will affect them personally. Will their role be changed? Will they have to learn new skills? Will their team be left intact or shuffled?
Their acceptance of the change trickles down to managers and then cascades to employees. When this happens, change is five times more likely to be successful.
Employees who receive positive feedback for their efforts are more likely to support the change, and even advocate for it.
The Bottom Line
Change at work is rarely easy. It requires active involvement, careful planning and clear, compelling, regular, honest and open communication. Are you up to the challenge?
To learn more about how to communicate change to stakeholders, download 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Change Leadership
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