Communicating Change

by Rus Slater

Common questions

  1. It is patently obvious to everyone that we need to make this change, so why bother going to the effort of all this communication?
  2. Can’t we just use the normal internal comms strategy?
  3. The boss is going to do a presentation, surely that is enough, isn’t it?
  4. The HR director want lots of dry ice and thundering Wagner, that’ll get the message across, won’t it?
  5. We need to get all the planning done first, then we start communicating, right?

 

1. It is patently obvious to everyone that we need to make this change, so why bother going to the effort of all this communication?

People may know that a change is needed, but they won’t necessarily agree with you, or each other, about what that change should be and when that change should happen.

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2. Can’t we just use the normal internal comms strategy?

There are recommended differences to the ‘normal’ strategy; change is not ‘business as usual’, so an unusual approach is appropriate.

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3. The boss is going to do a presentation; surely that is enough, isn’t it?

You’d be surprised how little value most people put on a senior management/leadership presentation in comparison with some other media. By all means, we can get the boss to do their bit, but we need to be a bit more holistic if we want to get the messages across, both ways, in a style that works.

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4. The HR director wants lots of dry ice and thundering Wagner; that’ll get the message across, won’t it?

Probably not, for the majority of the workforce; people are generally uncomfortable about change, so a slick, theatrical production is unlikely to dispel any fears people might have.

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5. We need to get the planning done first, and then we start communicating – right?

T J Larkin, one of the most influential and respected voices on the subject, disagrees entirely; his research suggests that you should start communicating the very moment you start planning!

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