Unsurprisingly, the business leaders we surveyed see their people at the heart of any successful change process. They see gaining stakeholder commitment as a force multiplier of powerful change ambassadors. Essential to creating that commitment are leaders taking their people into their confidence with honesty and courage.
Surprisingly, however, our analysis also sheds light on some blind spots. Overall, contributors focus more on technique than systemic or strategic issues when communicating change. For example:
They (Leaders) lack the ability to motivate or hold people accountable….they do a poor job at this…..lots of saying nothing….People are told, not asked.
Change Communication Blind Spots
Real change requires authentic communication and dialogue across all organizational levels. Although, employee’s resistance and disagreement are unavoidable, contributors show how it can be managed through multiplexed and constant communication. They stress that this only happens when change communication is centered on establishing and retaining trusting relationships. If employees feel fairness, they will trust more and trust is the glue of success.
So, what role does communication play in reducing change mistrust and cynicism among employees? Frequently, it’s people’s sense of fairness. The communication timing, involvement and sequence impact their sense of justice.
Where’s the Requiring Environment?
There seems little focus on improving alignment and change success. Issues like change management, communication, and change measurement were under 6% of contributors’ comments on communicating change.
Looking in more detail, a third of contributors said that they didn’t know of any change related communication or that their leaders don’t communicate enough.
For most contributors, real change is the outcome of authentic communication. They show how change can be managed through constant communication.Contributors often commented that trust in management was the only variable that significantly impacted change resistance.
However, comments on authentic communication and building trust seem to collide with those related to top down led change. Critical contributors point out that top down rests too often on leaders clinging to the belief that power, privilege and success lie in their core group. Whatever blend of top down and bottom up it is clear – one should be be intentional and as one contributor said:
Being solid in the values you hold as a leader that needs clearly articulating and solidifying with your change management team before you start planning.
Our contributors are clear. Lay the groundwork for successful change before trying to carry out the next change. This starts with putting the change management team together before a specific change is planned. Then develop a shared governing set of values and design the change measurement framework.
Implementing Effective Change Communication Processes – A Questionnaire
This 38 question instrument was developed from 755 contributor comments on implementing an effective communication change process. It is designed to engage those involved in change management and leadership in selecting relevant questions and then reaching a consensus on improvement areas.
- Analyzing Change Impacts
- Set-up Change Program with Metrics
- On-going Communication & Training
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