Organizations consist of divisions, departments, functions and teams, and leadership communications sometimes fall into the gaps between those entities. It’s in these “white spaces” of the organizational chart where the greatest opportunities for communicating about specific changes or the need for change exist. How then can a business leader artfully guide organizational change?
Here are four secrets that will improve leadership communications:
Habit 1: Check the Change Curve.The Change Curve maps the phases that individuals and groups experience as change proceeds: Initial Excitement or Anxiety; Discovery or Discomfort; Commitment and Integration and Doubt and Back-Sliding. A good first step is to understand where people are on that curve, and then adjust to that particular phase.
Habit 2: Tailor your Communications.Based on the insights gained by considering the Change Curve, the next habit requires a leader to conduct a stakeholder analysis to identify the implementation priorities. Who needs what, and when do they need it? Once this is known, the change leader can speak directly to the issues of concern and interest to the stakeholders resulting in greater support, engagement and trust.
Habit 3: Consider the Individual.
Leadership communications will begin with a just few conversations with key stakeholders. Asking key stakeholders for advice about carrying the change message forward and how to engage others will pay huge dividends for your efforts. Consider establishing “ambassadors” who can enthusiastically convey the message to their team and colleagues.
Habit 4: Reinforce and Sustain the Progress.Whenever possible, offer support for progress made to recognize both effort and achievement. Some of the best ways to do this are through public affirmation, reviewing performance metrics and conducting after-action reviews. This doesn’t have to be complicated; a simple “thank you” note or an appreciative message delivered publicly can go a long way toward reinforcing the benefits of cooperation and support.
These four secrets represent tactical leadership communications that can enhance trust, employee engagement and commitment. As a communications leader, you can enjoy the accomplishment of positively influencing your organization and bringing the change effort forward.