Afiniti Insights

Getting the Message Across During Change

You’re trying to explain what change management is.  The person you’re talking to doesn’t get it.  They question why companies don’t simply just get on with business change.  If only it were that simple!

Change management is all about helping people adapt to business change, to minimise resistance and make sure the project delivers what it was designed to back to the business.

Often the people factor gets ignored and resistance means people don’t drive the change forward. Sometimes they may not have all of the vital facts and have no opportunity to get involved and have their say. To engage people and support them in adopting and accelerating the change, you need to communicate and engage with people. Here are some tips for getting the message across.

Connect with your audience

If you’re helping design the future for organisation, you have to put yourself in their shoes.  While the change might be driven by necessity, you’ll need to make the future vision enticing enough for people to want to be a part of.  Therefore, you need to build relationships throughout the organisations, get to understand the culture and the history (which might mean buying a few coffees!)

Repetition and repetition

Once the future vision is defined to you need to stay true it – and it cannot be deviated from.  You will find yourself repeating it over and over again, until it sinks again.  Just remember what are we trying to change, why are we changing and how different will it be?  Repeating yourself doesn’t mean you are going crazy – but if people hear your vision often enough they won’t to need to ask and they’ll begin to believe.

Nice to meet you, again

You’ll have multiple stakeholders to manage – those you need something from, and those who’ll need something from you.  It’s critical that you are able to manage all of these credibly.  Quite often, the change manager will be the ‘go-to’ person if a sponsor wants to get something done, so you’ll need to build a wide network of support and influence.  So dust off that stakeholder management manual.

Anticipate the resistance

There will inevitably be some resistance to what you are trying to do.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise.  You need to decide to press ahead regardless or do something about.  You might find some food for thought here:

Involve people all the way

It doesn’t matter if your project is about changing processes, technology or operating model, the common denominator is that there are people at the end of the change.  And they need to buy into and support whatever it is you are doing.  Neglecting them will increase the risk of your project failing.  Engaging with and involving them will help them want to come along on your journey.

I hope this helps with communicating change.  If you’d like to share any of your own thoughts, please get in touch.

Tom Dennehy
Tom Dennehy
Partner, Principal Consultant
Tom is an experienced change and communications professional specialising in the design and delivery of high-profile change and communication strategies.
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