In this video, Bob McGannon explores ways to customize your stakeholder communication by establishing relationships. You will also learn these four critical points: how the change will benefit individuals personally, understanding what success means to your most important stakeholders, aligning the change with the perceived purpose of your organization and framing your critical stakeholder's personal situations to win them over and get their support.
- A popular trend in personal computer manufacturing is mass customization. This involves a manufacturing line that uses repeatable inefficient processes yet still allows you to customize each computer to a single customer's needs. Communication in a changed management initiative is a lot like mass customization. The trick is to take information about your change and communicate with all of your clients while maintaining a degree of personalization for your more influential stakeholders.
Managers certainly fall into that influential group but don't stop there. In areas where your proposed change is most significant find the team leaders themselves. These people can have influence due to significant technical knowledge, personality or both. Once you've identified these influential stakeholders you can seek to customize your communications by establishing relationship, and understanding these four critical points. First, how will the change benefit them personally? In change management circles you often hear the term WIIFM, the acronym for What's In It For Me? We're all heavily influenced by WIIFM thoughts and in an organization that's undergoing significant change those thoughts are in the front of most peoples' mind.
Ensuring that your influential stakeholders fully understand how a change can affect them personally is critical to gaining their support. Second, understand what success means to your most important stakeholders. Your perception of what a change benefit actually is may not always align with each of your stakeholders. Many people are motivated by the nature of their work and not by the promise of that next promotion. All those may want to work with customers or a familiar team.
Any change that alters a person's job environment may not be viewed favorably without significant conversation and understanding. Often, only this level of understanding will influence a stakeholder to be an advocate for your change objectives. Third, does the change align with the perceived purpose of the organization? When I say purpose in this context, as an example, a friend of mine works in a department of human services in Australia, which appropriately distributes aids to citizens in need.
This department's approach and purpose differs greatly in the center of a cosmopolitan city, like Sydney, versus a very remote aboriginal community of 250 people in the middle of the Outback. The needs of people in these two demographics are vastly different, and so is the purpose of the department of human services in the eyes of their employees in each of these regions. Understanding how a purpose is defined can differ throughout your organization is vital in stakeholder management.
Onto my final point, sometimes you need to understand the critical stakeholders' personal situation to get their support. Changes that a person may be enduring outside of work such as a divorce or a sick child could have a substantial impact on how they may receive or support your change initiative at work. Also, some people will draw their sense of being from the power and influence they believe they have in the current organizational dynamic. If your change is perceived as disrupting any of these dynamics, you're unlikely to receive support, and you won't get their support if you don't engage in sympathetic listening.
These suggestions are all based on an understand that an organization is made up of individual stakeholders with individual needs. Keep these points in mind, focus on the stakeholders who are the most influential and know when you have the ability to influence peoples' thinking. Do this with diligence and you can have the mass customization that you need for success.
- Understanding the levels of change management
- Working through the five phases of change management
- Creating a change plan
- Communicating change
- Implementing change
- Managing risk
- Reinforcing change
- Evaluating the change
- Guiding individuals through change