The Secret To Successful Change

I recently spoke at a Conference Board workshop on the topic of change communications and shared a not so "secret" secret with the audience.  Communicating during times of change is critical - one of the biggest mistakes you can make during change is to not communicate.  Your role as a communicator within your organization when you find out that change is coming, whether it’s an organizational change or a shift in strategy, is to throw yourself in front of that bus and get the organization to agree to a robust change communications plan.

Communications can be used as a tool to not only share what change is happening, but to help shift mindset with your key stakeholders such as employees, customers and vendors. A successful change communications plan will mobilize support for the change and ensure that your stakeholders are both prepared for it and, more importantly, support it.

Key elements to consider when developing the plan:

  • Define the Situation & Scope
    • Understand the business impacts, including the challenges and priorities. Get an overview of the desired change, current environment and shift required as well as opportunities and challenges
  • Analyze Your Stakeholders
    • Identify your priority stakeholder groups and the changes impacting them; as well as actions required to influence.
    • Outline who is responsible for communicating with each group
  • Develop Your Plan
    • Identify your specific audience needs, messages and senders and channels as well as feedback channels
  • Write Your Messages
    • Provide a concise and compelling set of messages to ensure consistent communication
  • Report Back
    • How will each stakeholder group know the change has been a success?

Change in any organization is inevitable. The more prepared you are, and the more you leverage communications to engage key stakeholders through the process, the more successful the change will be.

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