Learn how to determine the change vision message you want others to take away. In this video, Bob McGannon takes you through the steps to communicate change including - how to determine your information gathering process; building a business impact analysis template; how to support dialog amongst the management team; sharing senior management directions with staff and integrating management directions into staff support processes.
- When it comes to crafting change management communication I have one thought in mind, determine the message you want others to take away. This is often easier said than done during a change initiative because, typically, there are a lot of different activities in progress. However, it can be accomplished if you focus on communicating change by using these steps. First, determine your information gathering process. As a change initiative has many moving parts and key players, initiative status and current direction can change frequently.
As a result, it's very important that you establish a consistent and accepted approach for getting the latest and greatest information to your clients. Be diligent about this and you could avoid difficult explanations about why what you said last week was inaccurate. Second, build a business impact analysis template. This is a critical document that captures the elements of the change you're intending to make. At a minimum, it should include the business area or areas that are impacted; the roles impacted, for example the buyer or help desk agent; the level of impact, small to large; the nature of the change required; the strategy to implement the change; and finally, who'll be responsible to monitor the outcome of the change.
In the exercise files, I've included a sample business impact analysis template that you can download and use on your own change initiatives. My third step towards successful change communication is to support dialogue amongst the management team. This dialogue should be focused on evaluating and responding to business change proposals. Using the business impact analysis document I just reviewed with you is just the start of a process not the end. The managers you work with must embrace the strategy for enabling each change along with the way success will be measured.
This isn't always easy and may require significant dialogue. Be sure you follow up on any business impact analysis document you create and edit the document as you participate in discussions with managers. As they may have other ideas for making your changes a reality, it's vital you capture and evaluate their thoughts. The fourth step is to share senior management directions with staff; however, you don't want to do so prematurely. The dynamics of changing an entire organization are complex.
Ideas and directions that come from senior leaders often will get adjusted as they're reviewed by trusted advisors or key middle managers in your organization. Experienced change managers will wait to communicate those directives until adjustments are appropriately put on the table and evaluated. And my last step for change communication is to integrate management directions into staff support mechanisms. One of the most damaging things that can happen on a change initiative is for people to have a question, contact your support team, and get a different answer than they just heard in a change status presentation.
Change is stressful enough for your clients without having to deal with mixed messages. Ensure you take time to incorporate messages from confirmed senior leadership direction into your support team scripts. Also, it's a good idea that your support team members have direct access to any finalized business impact analysis documents. That way your team will have the most up to date information when working with your clients. So, those are my five steps for successful change management communication.
Follow these steps carefully and the message that others take away will most likely be the one you intended.
- 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