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Communication Strategy for Leading Change

Communication Strategy for Leading Change

Communication Strategy for Leading Change Program Transcript SHERYL THOMPSON: One of the largest potential roadblocks that leaders of change in organizations will encounter is resistance to the proposed change. This resistance can negatively impact the change process and may very well impede its progression if it is not handled appropriately. Employees may resist change for a myriad of reasons, including fear of job loss, function, or role. Therefore, it is important to understand the psychological effects of change and employ sensitivity in dealing with employees’ reactions while allowing them the necessary space and time to move from resistance to acceptance, then commitment to the change. It won’t be a linear transition for employees to move through these phases. This means that one of the key roles for leaders of change is to support and encourage individuals throughout the change process. Those that are impacted will oscillate between accepting the new state and missing the old one. The change leader needs to accommodate this reality, as well as anticipate different reactions to change. Furthermore, they need to use communication, listening, and coaching skills to identify and support people, both as individuals and as a group, so they transition as quickly and effectively as possible. The importance of developing a well-thought-out communication strategy is often overlooked when embarking on a change initiative. Providing employees with timely, accurate, and relevant information can positively influence their productivity and morale during a change initiative. Effective communication during a change effort can also help to overcome resistance to change. Therefore, it is necessary to build a communication strategy to inform and guide people throughout the change initiative. The strategy should cover the specific communication channels and methods that will be used to share the details of the initiative to all stakeholders. It is important to get stakeholders to understand the current state and the desired state, what needs to be accomplished and why. The more people know, the less they have to assume, and this will hopefully minimise fear and resistance. The change leader also needs to be strategic about what is communicated to whom, as well as the objective that the message is trying to accomplish. Is it trying to create awareness, engage, mobilise, or drive behaviour change? This means that timing is also very important. Another key thing to consider regarding the communication strategy is to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in getting the messages across. These are stakeholders with influence, whether via their official positions or social networks. They have the ability to get individuals engaged with the process. They will also be a source of providing feedback to the change leader regarding the effectiveness of the communication strategy being employed. Are the chosen communication channels working? Are the right contents being shared with the

Communication Strategy for Leading Change

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relevant people? Do individuals feel like they have a detailed understanding of the change initiative? Finally, it is important for the change leader to monitor the impact of his or her communication strategy and provide follow-up. Take a few minutes to reflect on an experience you have had with an IT change in an organisation. Would you say that an effective communication strategy was used? Did it make a positive difference? Was the change leader an employee of the company or a consultant? Did this have an impact? What would you have done differently? An informed and open process will lead to successful change. Therefore, communication is key. Remember that communication is more than just distributing information. It is meaningful dialogue that gets all stakeholders on the same page. You should monitor the strategy and use feedback from stakeholders to make it more effective. Communication Strategy for Leading Change Additional Content Attribution

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