Organizations with highly effective communication and change management practices are more than twice as likely to significantly outperform their peers. Here are six activities that influence overall change success.
Put together the right team for your change initiative and make sure you have support for top organizational leaders. Here are 10 Principles of Leading Change Management from strategy+business.
People fear change. How can you overcome this? Plan to communicate… a lot. Simple, clear messages can overcome the fear of the unknown. Employees need to know what’s changing and when, why the change is happening (and how it fits into the bigger picture, i.e. the business strategy) and the process to execute the change, including a timeline or milestones. Repeat your key messages often throughout all of your various channels. Clarity, simplicity and consistency are key.
Listening to your stakeholders, and letting them know you’re acting on their feedback, is an important part of building trust. You can include listening into your transformation planning in different ways and at different times throughout the process. Hold focus groups, survey or poll employees to support your need for the change and get suggestions for what’s working or what improvements could be made. Test the new process, program or idea with a group of people before rolling it out. And ask for feedback after the change has been announced and/or after it’s happened. What questions and concerns do your stakeholders have? How are you addressing those concerns?
Remember to include measurable goals in your transformation plan — goals can be monetary savings, actions your stakeholders have to take or a culture shift. Make sure to revisit these goals throughout the transformation.
Think about who needs to know what’s happening and who is indirectly affected by the change. Who should be part of the change team, who needs to support the initiative, who needs to be in the know though they’re not directly involved and which external stakeholders need to know?
Some change initiatives are short and fairly simple, and others are years and years in the making. In either situation, adjust the plan as needed. Stay focused on the outcome. Return to your goals. Repeat your key messages over and over.
For more information on engagement and change programs, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team communication can make or break your business.
Communication is an enabler of engagement, and employee engagement is the emotional and functional commitment an employee has to his or her organization. Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. So… strengthening your team’s communication skills will lead to engaged employees that support a high-performance culture.
To build a strong team be clear about roles and responsibilities, play to strengths, gather the team together daily and know your priorities. For more information about leader communication and communication training, email me at email@example.com.
What is it that makes businesses succeed year after year? Top performing companies have these six things in common:
Focus on the Customer
This should be the number one priority of all businesses and organizations. You can support a “customer first” culture through communications. Customer stories that reflect the company mission or strategy are especially inspirational to employees.
Engage Employees Using Two-Way Communication
Employees receive a lot of information from their manager, function, business unit and corporate — emails, quarterly meetings, team meetings, etc. Listening is key to keep employees engaged. It’s crucial to have formal and informal ways to get feedback, through surveys, meetings or skip-level meetings. And as important as listening is, make sure you show employees that you hear them and tell them what actions were made based on their feedback.
Train Managers to Communicate Effectively
When it comes to making the connection of strategy to getting the job done each day, managers and supervisors can build alignment and deliver results with the essential everyday communication skills that make a difference.
Involve Internal Communicators in Managing Change
Change is here to stay, and to a certain extent, it is always disruptive. The key is to apply communication skills and processes to compress the transition and minimize the disruption.
Measure the Performance of Communication Programs
Goals should be tied to metrics that matter — employee engagement survey scores, the number of employees who have adopted some new system or process, or the number of times articles are read or links are opened.
Brand the Employee Experience
In our experience, an organization has one brand — to be used inside and outside of the business. Remember that often times, employees are customers, too.
How does your organization stand up in these areas? For more information on leader communication, communication training and change and engagement programs, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feedback is a blessing.
Consider this: When you’re shopping for that perfect dress or suit, you have to stand in front of a mirror that reflects at three angles in order to see the whole picture.
In our day-to-day lives, we normally only see the mirror that’s straight in front of us. Feedback provides the side angle view, the perspective that makes our understanding of how we are perceived and how we are performing complete. It compensates for our blind spots and creates opportunities to achieve excellence.
This perspective is key to making feedback a positive experience – whether you are the one giving or receiving.
In other cases, it may be necessary to address broader performance issues. Here are five tips for how to deliver feedback so that it is indeed constructive:
1. Schedule time with your associate and immediately establish your intent. Frame the conversation as an opportunity to discuss development needs and opportunities. This signals that you are investing in your employee’s success rather than being critical.
2. Prepare in advance – you want to stay on point and ensure your feedback is delivered clearly and is understood. It pays to spend some time gathering your thoughts. You may even want to prepare a few bullet points to capture your key messages.
3. Begin the conversation by recognizing strengths and / or successes. After all, it is because your employee is a valued member of the team that you are having this conversation. (Otherwise, you should be having an altogether different conversation.)
4. Next, let your associate know that you want to drill down on two or three (or whatever the number is) performance issues that need work. When introducing these, be crisp and clear. At the same time, avoid being accusatory, e.g., “You did this” or “You didn’t do this.” Ask questions to ensure understanding.
5. Most important: Focus on outcomes.
Here’s an example: We were working with a CEO to create a communication to his organization announcing the sale of the company. As the “go live” date drew nearer, activity (and changes to the plan) accelerated. One member of our team was responsible for capturing all of the changes to the plan and incorporating them throughout all of the many communication channels we were preparing. When it came time to review the “final” documents before sending them to the client, we found some of the changes had not been captured. Naturally, we pulled the team together and got the work done properly.
Then, after the announcement took place, we held a team debrief to uncover what happened. Rather than blame our team member for the last-minute scramble, we asked questions like: How specifically were you capturing the changes – via handwritten notes on your hard copy of the draft? In track changes mode to the Word documents? Electronically in a separate document? We learned that our teammate had been using a combination of these methods, and agreed on one method that would work best in the future.
By focusing on outcomes, you create an environment in which individual performance improves, and the team is open to sharing learnings and best practices. What could be more constructive than that?
For more information on how On the same Page can help you become a more effective leader, email me at email@example.com.