Develop a stated objective, or message, and stick with it. The vision communicated must be clear and the reasons for the change must also be communicated. Information must help people understand ‘why’ the changes are necessary in order to reduce anxiety and resistance to change. It is not easy for people to change. It is even harder to change when there is no clear incentive for doing so. Change managers must link individual success with corporate success. In other words, tell employees what is in it for them as well as how it relates to the business.
Get the information out to all employees, even those who were not directly affected by the new technology. Different audiences respond to different media, so be prepared to disseminate your message using a number of forms of communication. Devise a communications plan including options such as weekly meetings, an Intranet newsletter, and an internal television network to broadcast daily updates in public areas and e-mail broadcasts to keep everyone abreast of the project status and goals. Also consider various pilot-testing options such as user-trial sessions demonstrating the capabilities of the new technology.
Identify key champions, preferably first-line managers/direct supervisors, and use them to lead the changes where appropriate and to test internal communication strategies before going company-wide with them. People automatically distrust euphemism and jargon. When you say ‘rightsizing’, employees hear ‘lay-offs’. When you say ‘high performance partnerships’, people hear ‘more work, fewer resources’. If you are going to establish trust, say what you mean, and mean what you say. Speak to people in the language they understand. Use your champions to test your language. Finally, remember effective communication is a two-way process. You must do as much listening as talking, and you must be prepared to deal with what you hear. Your champions can be your eyes and ears.
KeywordsTechnical Change Emotional Intelligence Communication Strategy Chief Executive Officer Transformational Leader
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