The Urgency of Effective Change Communications

One of the more popular quotes attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus is this one:

“There is nothing permanent except change.”

Were he alive today, my guess is that he might be adding a new quote: “Dude, there’s change, but then there’s CHANGE!” And that one would probably become an Internet meme. 

As if mergers and acquisitions, new operating models, major technology implementations and other “normal” triggers aren’t enough – the global pandemic, social unrest and the possibility of an altered political and regulatory landscape have compelled today’s executives to confront the need for radical change in their organizations. 

Heraclitus would be giving them a knowing wink and a nod. 

Regardless of reason, a company’s ability to successfully manage change is driven directly by its ability to bring stakeholders along for the ride – customers, investors, influencers and now more than ever employees. This must extend beyond just awareness that change is happening, but include understanding, believing, embracing and ultimately acting in a way that makes the change stick. Do it well, and you seize the opportunity. Do it poorly, and the business will be at risk. 

If you are involved in the change management field, you know that there are numerous operating models – ADKAR, Kubler-Ross, Lewin and many others. They all have their merits, but regardless of which your organization follows, experts believe that most of these efforts fail to achieve their full benefit – largely because of internal resistance. When employees, in particular, understand the context of the change, the strategy for achieving it and the “what’s in it for me,” they are more likely to adopt, adapt and activate quickly, effectively and willingly.

Whether the change you need to drive is with employees, customers, partners, other stakeholders or “all of the above,” there are a few key principles that should be present in any communications strategy:

The unexpected year that we’ve had is causing nearly every organization to step back, take stock and facilitate change that will prepare it for new and rolling realities. Pairing sound change management practices with a strategic, action-focused communications approach will greatly increase the likelihood of long-term success.

This article was initially published on PRWeek, you can read the full post here.

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