Insufficient communication is second only to fear of change or failure as a major stumbling block to successful change in organizations. According to a global survey of nearly 1,100 managers conducted by New Catalyst, LLC, it’s essential for leaders to “constantly communicate” before, during and after attempting to implement a significant change.
Constant communication is the way to gain “employee support and trust,” which is essential for a change “to stand any chance of success,” say the authors of the survey, Kelly Nwosu and Nick Anderson. I totally agree. As I emphasize to clients during my speaking and consulting engagements, it’s more important than ever to communicate regularly–even daily–during times of change and any other period that might be described as a crisis.
New Catalyst found that there are three primary messages for leaders to focus on in order to gain employee support for upcoming change. Those three messages must be clear explanations of the why, the how and the benefits of the change.
As a participant in one of my storytelling workshops for sales managers observed, “People aren’t afraid of change per se; they’re afraid that they aren’t prepared for change.” When a leadership repeatedly reassures everyone by explaining 1) the reasons for the change; 2) how it will be accomplished (including the specific role for each division, and cascading down, each person); and 3) the benefits of the change for the organization and everyone affected by it, the odds of success skyrocket.