How to Communicate Change in a Way that Engages Stakeholders

How to Communicate Change in a Way that Engages Stakeholders
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Inspiring Change
Once you have made the decision that organizational change is necessary for your team to survive and thrive, you need to communicate change in a way that engages your workforce. As you well know, change can be guided by leaders but cannot be accomplished without the active and aligned efforts and support of all stakeholders.

And any change requires more than just simple persuasion. To achieve real change at work, you need to inspire and engage both the hearts and minds of those who will be affected by change.

Effective Change Communications
The best change leaders have perfected a communication model that conveys a compelling message – a clarion call for commitment to and work toward the transformation goal.

Here are five pillars of how to communicate change in a way that truly engages stakeholders from top change management consulting experts:

  1. Articulate the Rationale
    It all starts with a clear business case for change.  Be clear in your own mind as to why the change is necessary. Develop a powerful, authentic, and simple message that will resonate with employees at every level. Share your thinking about the goal of change as well as what could happen if things remain as they are.
  2. Focus on the People
    Rather than a long-winded series of statistics on why you think the change is needed, focus on the feelings of those who will need to sign onto and implement the change. Try to understand what about the change might be threatening and what might hold appeal.

    Why should it matter to them? What concerns might they have about upsetting the status quo?
  3. Solicit Input and Feedback
    Do not simply “announce” change plans; instead work toward actively involving stakeholders at every stage of the effort. Listen carefully for their ideas on why it will work and why it might not. Explicitly include their inputs and feedback in your planning.

    After all, execution is ultimately their role. You can inspire, you can plan, and you can oversee the effort, but it is your workforce that must do the day-to-day cranking of the change engine.
  4. Break It Down
    Work with team leaders to make it clear to how each individual can contribute to the initiative. It’s all well and good to accept the overall program but the more each employee understands their part in the change effort, the more they will be engaged.
  5. Share Knowledge
    As the change progresses, there will inevitably be questions about next steps and about how to handle unexpected problems. Be as transparent as you can as soon as you can about what you know.  Knowledge vacuums can be filled by unfounded assumptions and rumor mills, both of which can sabotage success.

The Bottom Line
Can you check off all the above tips on how to communicate change so that stakeholders are committed and actively engaged? If not, your change effort may join so many others that have languished and failed.

To learn more about how to communicate change in a way that engages stakeholders, download How to Mobilize, Design and Transform Your Change Initiative

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