Reetta Rajala: Communications to increase understanding and commitment

In the series Five deadly sins of implementing change I have covered the two first ones. Let’s continue to part 3:

3. Believing that one-way broadcast communications – typically through intranet and mass emails – is enough for complex and big changes

Email, management presentation deck, Q&A, virtual discussion forum. Manager’s info session. They all are good one-way mass communication channels, and many change programs rely on those. But these channels cannot take the communication to the personal level that is needed to create the commitment to the change. Details for each team or each individual cannot be shared via broadcast, and typically messages are at a too general level. Recipients do not understand what is in it for me and thus will not commit.

Every change requires a detailed stakeholder and impact analysis. Communication must be tailored to the each and every group – or individual – to whom the change impact is different. This communication challenge cannot be fulfilled with high-level mass communication only.

Even more important than tailoring messages is two-way communication – in addition to informing, it requires listening and discussion. Big changes require interaction to succeed, preferably with someone you know and trust. Interaction takes time, but without it, the change and the benefits it brings will not materialize.

Previous parts of the column series on the five deadly sins in change management can be found in the Ccea news section.