Change is afoot. It’s seeping into every orifice of our lives – both personally and professionally. From a business perspective, how we manage it can have a huge impact on our future success and growth. After all, the very nature of it is unsettling. And in keeping with every aspect of communication, when dealing with a shift within your organisation, your communication should follow a strategic approach.
Change within organisations can take many forms, and can be caused by both internal and external factors. As many of us are now experiencing, it is usually triggered by a need, or perceived need, to respond to new challenges, threats or opportunities. To either, fix something that’s gone wrong, or to make further improvements on something that’s worked.
Whether taking place proactively, or a gradual development, it can have a radical impact on an organisation and its people.
As humans, we’re naturally wary of change. Generally speaking, most people have an innate tendency to ignore, resist or rebel against it in some way or another. So when trying to implement adjustments within your organisation, you’re likely to experience push back of some description. The level of which depends on how you approach it.
There are three simple factors that contribute to this resistance: people don’t understand it, they don’t feel involved in either the decisions or the process, or they feel like they have no control over the situation. During the process of implementing changes, it’s important for you to understand what people’s concerns are. As well as identifying where, how and why they might resist any adjustments. If they’re fearful of the change, it’s pertinent to establish how their fears can be alleviated. And ultimately, secure their support for the amendments to take effect.
Communicating changes using a strategic approach will allow you to move people through the Kubler Ross ‘change curve’ which describes the emotional journey individuals typically experience. To effectively move a person from seeing it as a crisis, to viewing it as an opportunity, three stages of approach can be implemented. The first stage centres around providing facts and evidence, and explaining the overall situation. The purpose of this stage is to counteract their feelings of shock, anger and panic.
The second stage involves listening and consulting with those that are involved in, or impacted by, the change. It’s important, especially at this time, to show genuine concern whilst confirming you are committed to the adjustments that are taking place. Finally, the last stage involves using communication to excite people, and gain their support and commitment. Really involving people in the transformation process can make all the difference to successful implementation.
Success relies on willingness and cooperation from every corner of your organisation. Therefore it’s important that you truly understand the people within it. Establishing ‘buy in’ and commitment from employees is imperative if you want to successfully navigate the path you’re on to reach the goals you’ve set. For the people involved, especially those that will be directly impacted by the change, giving them a level of ownership and control over the change will really make a difference. Make them feel heard and valued; reinforce that they do matter.
Remember, evolution is inevitable and change is a normal part of an organisation’s life – its purpose is to help ensure survival and growth.
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