How to Better Prepare to Communicate Change

How to Better Prepare to Communicate Change
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Communicating Change Can Misfire Unless You Prepare to Communicate Change
Organizational change can arouse all sorts of negative emotions from fear, to resentment, to sadness if it is not properly handled.  How you communicate change can make all the difference in the way it is perceived by your workforce.

If you mismanage change initiatives from the people side of change, you risk missing your targets.

Don’t make the mistake of neglecting to adequately plan.  You can always expect some resistance to change.  But, with adequate preparation, you can increase the likelihood of meeting goals, and completing the change on budget and on time.

Better Prepare to Communicate Change
Change management consulting experts follow these tried and true tips to better prepare to communicate change.

  1. Take Adequate Time to Practice and Plan Ahead
    You need to prepare not only the content of your communication, but also the delivery, timing, and follow-up. You may choose to make the initial announcement at an all-hands meeting but quickly follow that session with smaller group meetings at which leaders are prepared to answer questions and concerns.

    Giving employees multiple opportunities to absorb and process the news reduces the possibility of their feeling undervalued.

  2. Explain the Rationale for Change
    It’s important that employees understand why the change is necessary and how things will improve once implemented. Share the background of the situation, what’s not working, and your vision of the future.

    Employees deserve to know why they will be going through the disruption and how the proposed solution will concretely improve things.

  3. Be Sure Managers Are Equipped with the Right Message
    When managers are leading smaller discussion groups or one-on-one conversations, they need to fully understand the context for the change and be able to communicate it simply, directly, and with compassion.

    Give them the words and the tools to talk about the change and how it will be carried out at their team level.

    Managers should know how to answer the more personal questions too.  Every worker will want to know how the change will affect them personally.  Will they be able to continue in their role?  How will their job change?

    The more individual attention and support employees receive, the less opportunity there is for anxiety and resentment to grow.

  4. Actively Invite Employee Participation
    Last, but the most important in terms of winning the hearts and minds of those most affected by change, actively include employees as much as possible in the actual execution of the change. Because they are closest to the work, they will have very practical ideas on how to effect the change smoothly.  An added benefit is that they will also become implementers of the change rather than obstructers.

The Bottom Line
Don’t make the mistake many of our change management simulation participants make and sabotage your change initiative by poor communication at the front end.  Thoughtfully consider and practice the people side of change so you give the plan a greater likelihood of success.

To learn more about how to better prepare to communicate change, download 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Change Leadership

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