What’s Your Communication Plan About the Change Initiative?

Friday, October 21st, 2011

What’s Your Communication Plan About the Change Initiative?

Late breaking news: communication requires giving – and receiving – information. The “and receiving” part of communication plans is often missing. Corporate communication departments salivate at the thought that they can create catchy phrases that will adorn walls and commemorative coffee cups at planning meetings. (Hey kids, collect the full set of failed-change mugs.) And they prepare documents and slides that walk people through each step of the change. Even though those PowerPoint presentations may be clearly written and include enticing clip art (and just who doesn’t love clip art and generic photos of happy teams?), they still can fail to communicate in one big way. The part about “receiving information” is absent. Shouldn’t people just suck it up and go along? Makes no difference what you think they should do. The truth is: they won’t go along. They need to be engaged. Your communication plan needs to address three areas: 1. Information. (That’s where the traditional communication plan comes in.) 2. Employee Engagement. People need to be able to influence changes that affect them. Oh, and talking at people for an hour and then asking, “Are there any questions?” is not all-that-engaging. The best communication comes when people are in the room helping shape thinking and making decisions. 3. Trust. The people you are communicating with need to believe that you (or who you represent) can be counted on to act in a trustworthy fashion. If you wander into Honest Ed’s Car Lot, no amount of information about a choice car, or engagement in selecting the options you want will convince most people to buy. They need to trust Honest Ed. And with a name like Honest Ed, he’s going to have a tough time getting your attention. Don’t be the Honest Ed of your organization.

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