I would advise others trying to drive change to make communication with employees a top priority. Engagement of employees at all levels through effective communication is essential to drive change. Employees need to be able to trust those leading change. Trust can grow through open, direct and truthful communication that is delivered often. I suggest using the following guideless when crafting messages that are intended to gain support and drive change:
T -- TELL employees messages that are clear and easy to understand. Be direct. Take a thoughtful approach when designing talking points. Explain how change can impact the long term success of the organization. Link messages about change to achievement of strategic business objectives.
R -- Have REALISTIC expectations. Change is difficult and employees often feel threatened and stressed even by the simplest changes. Expect that initially there may be resistance. Anticipate, embrace and discuss concerns with employees. This will demonstrate that you are employee focused, and that everyone in the organization plays an important role in driving change.
U -- UNDERSTAND the content of your message. Be a credible speaker. For example, if change could impact the structure of the organization, the design of a process, or the future of a product/service, be prepared to speak to what is being considered. Invite experts to deliver communication with you in order to strengthen your message and credibility.
E -- ENGAGE your listeners. Be prepared to encourage dialogue, questions and follow up. Invite employees to participate in focus groups, idea generation sessions and work teams. Employees are wonderful resources for gaining feedback on the design and clarity of messages. Finally, invite employees to communicate success stories and project outcomes.
What one thing has helped you the most in driving change in your organization?
Working with leaders who are innovative and willing to take risks has helped me the most in driving change. Leaders who embrace new ideas energize members of the organization, from executive management to front line employees.