Change is one of the toughest things to implement and this is where good leaders get to get to show that they are great.
One of the key drivers to implementing change is Communication.
We need to be able communicate: why we are implementing the change; what the change is; and by when, how and by whom it will be implemented.
When communicating, more important than what we are saying, is how we are saying it. People always remember the way we said things, much more than the details of what was said.
If the change has a people impact then the communication has to be perfect.
We need to be clear on the impact, don’t hide it, people aren’t stupid, they are able to read between the lines and understand whats really being said, even if we try to hide it. We need to provide a clear timeline of when everyone will be informed of their impact and the options available.
We need to be sincere and honest as this creates trust, and trust is what allows people to believe the messages being communicated and increases their buy in. This cannot really be faked, people can spot a fake from a mile away.
One of the biggest issues when dealing with change, is anxiety and this comes from peoples uncertainty and a lack of options. People feel trapped.
If we want to reduce the anxiety, then we need to provide certainty, even if it has negative consequences, and then we need to give people options.
If I am afraid I will lose my job, and no one communicates anything to me about how the change will impact me, then this will increase my anxiety and frustration due to a feeling of powerlessness..
I’d much rather know quickly about being impacted and what my options are, as this then puts me back in control and the powerlessness reduces. Now I have certainty and choices, I might not like the choices, but at least I am back in control.
Any major changes I have been involved in, which haven’t gone as well as planned, nearly every time the reason was poor communication.
The more time we can focus on communication: planning it, preparing it and delivering it the better the overall change will be. We cannot put to much time into planning.
Great leaders are always great communicators, and if you want to move from good to great then focus on your communications skills, not just what you say, but also on how you say it.