Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Communicating change, part of Communication Tips Weekly.
- Change is the one constant in organizations today. If you're going to be a successful leader, you must be able to drive change. Let's look at two managers. Both have been asked to get their direct reports on board with a new company approach to sales. Susan emailed her team the following message. - Hi team, I got some news from headquarters today that we have to move to a new sales approach beginning next quarter. It's called a consultative approach, and while I'm not sure what all it entails, it's obviously going to have a pretty serious impact on our day-to-day activities.
I'll let you know more as I know more. Just wanted to give you a heads-up now. Sincerely, Susan. - Janet brought the new sales approach up at her staff meeting, and said this: - Hey team. I got some exciting news from headquarters today. Beginning next quarter, we'll be transitioning to a new sales approach. It's called the consultative approach, and it means that we ask a series of questions to discern the customers' needs, and then tell them about one of our services that aligns with that need.
Honestly, we're already doing many of the steps that the new approach calls for. We'll do some role playing to get used to some of the newer techniques, but I've seen you all in action, and I know this is going to be an easy transition for you. I've talked to some friends using the approach, and I did some reading on it. I think we stand to increase our sales and our bonuses by moving in this direction. - Can you guess who had higher compliance with the new sales strategy? I'm putting my money on Janet, because she realized three important things about communicating change.
First, take out the ambiguity. Change elicits fear in people, often because we don't know what to expect. The unknown is scary. Of course, the very nature of change means that we don't know all the details, but to the extent that you can make things concrete for people, they will be far less resistant to the change. Compare the concreteness of Janet's communication to that of Susan's.
Second, shrink the change. People are far more likely to embrace a change that seems like a teeny tiny step rather than a huge frightening leap. Think about it. If your doctor told you that you need to completely change your eating habits and to start working out three hours a day, you'd feel overwhelmed. But if you're encouraged to drink an extra glass of water and walk an extra 10 minutes every day, you'd probably think, "No problem! "I can do that!" Confidence is boosted when we minimize the change.
Notice how Janet succeeds at building confidence. Finally, Janet understood the importance of pointing to the positives when communicating change. Of course, when pointing to the positive, you don't want to create unrealistic expectations. If bonuses aren't going to increase, Janet would never make such a promise, or even imply it. Yet if you look hard enough, you can almost always find some good in a change initiative, or your company wouldn't be moving in that direction.
Ditch the ambiguity, shrink the change, and point to the realistic positives, and you can become the next great change agent in your organization.
- Understanding introversion and extroversion
- Persuading people
- Negotiating your needs
- Making small talk
- Saying no
- And more…
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