In this month’s newsletter from Changefirst, David looks at the power of communication and how this underpins a successful change vision and builds commitment to change. JFK set out an incredibly unifying message, with a clear objective. NASA staff clearly knew what they had to achieve, whilst US residents, and most of the world, could easily understand what would be achieved and the opportunities it in turn would bring. Engagement was easy.
Yet, a recent survey conducted by Executives Online entitled ‘The Challenge of Change 2010’highlighted that 21% of respondents identified that a ‘failure to empower staff to deliver’ was a major factor in the poor management of change. It is safe to say that change communication has a huge role to play in this. Empowerment is borne of involvement, and involvement is borne of communication, ultimately building a commitment to change.
Perhaps we don’t know our audience well enough.
Change communication will, of course, be focused on the vision or goal, selling the benefits, reducing uncertainty or fear and providing support. However, the challenge for organisations these days is to keep up with the advances in practices, technologies and changes in audience behaviour. Are we 100% sure we know how our staff absorb, disseminate and create information?
Our audience/customers/stakeholders expect communicate to reach them in any number of ways, and they will select the channel that suits them best. To deliver the empowerment we must better understand what it is that makes our audience tick, and adapt to how they think and feel. If we have the vision to make change, surely we have the foresight to know what makes our customers tick.
If we don’t know, we ask. However, we must make sure it’s our audience that creates our audience and the communication plan, not the communications plan creating an ‘audience’.