Organisational change communication – 3 stages

70% of corporate change initiatives fail – that’s fact proven by research*. Nowadays, organizational changes are connected with investment in IT infrastructure – needles to explain the reasons behind that – from most advanced like IoT, AI and AR** to what becomes common facilitation of daily duties. Another proven fact is that 70% of IT investments also fail to deliver anticipated results. Why? Due to lack of investment in people***, which can be also understand as a failure of change communication.

In our article on Kubler-Ross curve we already explain the spectrum of reactions to organisational change and what company could make to avoid or mitigate the negative ones: it’s essential to make sure employees feel the change is done with them, not to them. But how to do it?

Through essence of change management – communication, repeatedly going through stages of listening, understanding, acting & reacting.

 

CHANGE MANAGEMENT – COMMUNICATION

Simply saying, the process of change adoption has to be based on the communication with your employees. The most advanced technologies, the most innovative ways of working, the most efficient solutions won’t be as advanced, innovative and efficient as they could be without people behind them. Getting people involved is the best (and, frankly, the only one) way to make project succeed.

Communication circle - Listen, Understand, Act

 

Listen – what they say about the change

It is obvious, but more than often forgotten – communication is the exchange of information. Therefore, one-way communication is an oxymoron, to name information flow “communication” it has to be bi-directional.

Driving the organisational change, you have to listen at the first place. Listen to anyone affected, and even seemingly non-affected, by the change. People matter and their opinions as well – on their thoughts and actions depends the success. And you can influence their thoughts and behavior by executing right change communication.

 

Understand – what they feel about the change

Receiving information is not enough, obviously, the key is to understand them. To understand the information, understand people, understand motives. Often people say one thing meaning something close to it, but sometimes meaning something completely different. It happens for many reasons: insecurity, lack of knowledge, shame, lack of confidence…

Understanding what really stands behind the words is crucial – only then you can act to address people’s true concerns, explain what they really ask about and genuinely influence on them.

 

Act & React

Having the understanding of the situation – picture drawn by your employees – you can plan actions and reactions. Of course, proactive approach is more than valuable; to address all concerns upfront and deal with potential issues before they occur, but you shall not forget about reactions. The change itself is a dynamic process, evaluation of your actions and monitoring situation will help you to be truly in a driving seat of the change processes.

You may ask – why actions and reactions are in the communication circle? Let’s think: aren’t your actions also sending a message?  

 

Above communication circle is generic and obviously simplified. In fact we could draw many circles within each stage

Change communication - closeup

What’s more, we could draw as many circles as we have identified groups of stakeholders. For each of them actions shall be different depending on various factors – stakeholder influence on the project, impact of project on a stakeholder, identified engagement level, understanding of the project…

The universal and common for all situations thought should be one: this is continuous and ongoing process, which doesn’t end even when the change programme is ended.

 


* Pellettiere, Vincent, “Organization Development Journal”; Nr 4, 2006
** IoT – Internet of Things; AI – Artificial Intelligence; AR – Augmented Reality
*** The Standish Group, “THE CHAOS Report “; 1994

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Organisational change communication - 3 stages
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Organisational change communication - 3 stages
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What is most important during the organisational change implementation to make sure that employees feel the change is done with then, not to them? Proper creation and execution of change communication.
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Atos GDC Polska
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Andrzej Okrasa
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Andrzej Okrasa

Senior Digital Transformation Consultant at Atos Global Delivery Center Poland
Open-minded digital transformation consultant.

I have 7+ years of experience gathered in various branches, helping organisations on different levels of their Digital Journey. My professional interests cover CRM, Change Management and Change Communication, Marketing Automation (Hubspot certificates, Salesforce trainings) and analytics (Google Analytics Individual Certification).

I like to spend my free time with my two dogs - silly but adorable english cocker spaniels. And books - I couldn't live without at least one new book per week.
Andrzej Okrasa
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