In order to remain profitable and productive in today's global market, organizations must become proficient in leading change. Today's fast-paced environment forces organizations to continually grow, change, and adapt in order to survive and thrive. New competition, products and technologies force organizations to keep up or fall behind in the market.
Successful organizational change initiatives are founded in a clear vision that is effectively communicated to the masses in a manner which motivates them to make personal changes. A leader must be able to effectively communicate a vision for the future in a way that people will understand and want to follow. People cannot change unless they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and have been given the necessary tools and resources to make personal changes. A communication plan is an important step to ensure that the message is clearly broadcast to the appropriate individuals, in a manner that they will hear, at a time that makes the information relevant. The communication plan should outline who, what, when, and how the change will be communicated to the general employee population.
Who: A lack of communication can drive employees to seek out information from other, often unreliable, sources which can lead to incorrect information, rumors, and uncertainty. Providing information to all employees can help prevent this.
What: While it is important to be honest and not hide potentially negative aspects of the organizational change, information should be communicated in a way that remains motivating and upbeat.
When: Sharing information too early can lead to revisions, whereas waiting to share information can lead to fear or resistance; therefore communication should be constant and integrated into daily interactions rather than spread out over a few large-scale presentations.
How: Communication can take on many forms; select the one that has the most meaning for your organization in order to achieve the greatest impact for your employees.
Proper planning, strategy and execution can help prevent a breakdown in communication during organizational change. When presented appropriately, to the right people, in the most effective medium, crafted in a manner that is meaningful to the recipient, and presented at the right time, communication can make or break a change initiative.
Your Business Coach is a regular column produced by The Persimmon Group, an Oklahoma-based consulting firm that offers practical, results-oriented advice for business professionals of all disciplines and business owners across industries. This week's column is by Sarah Stephens. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.