Your change management communication plan will be the framework for the lifeline you throw out to your team during times of upheaval. The COVID-19 pandemic more than likely has brought some disruption into your life, the lives of your team members, and how you operate your business. That disruption leads to uncertainty. In general, people do not like uncertainty, and undoubtedly, that’s what your team is feeling right now.
Formulating an effective change management plan and implementing it well will help to smooth out a potentially bumpy ride as your company adapts and changes over the coming months. But to simply create a change management plan and leave it at that is akin to stopping at mile 25 of a marathon. Don’t stop short! Your next step is vital. You need to effectively communicate that plan to your employees. The best way to map out that communication is to create a plan. People don’t like feeling as if they’re left in the dark—you owe it to your team to communicate what’s happening in your organization and why.
“Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.” ~ John D. Rockefeller
One of the primary goals of your change management communication plan will be to inform your team members of how your company will adapt to doing business in the “new normal.” As I’ve written about before, you are striving to align your team with where you are moving. Policies and processes will change. Is everyone on the same page? The definition of the word alignment in dictionary.com tells us that alignment is a state of agreement or cooperation among persons, groups, nations, etc., with a common cause or viewpoint. Your change management communication plan needs to keep this definition in mind.
Be clear. Be concise. Be consistent. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ve heard me advocate for these three elements before. Together, they really are the keystone of your change management communication plan. Break down what you are trying to convey into the smallest, most consumable bites. That will help with the elements of clarity and conciseness. Being consistent brings into focus the effort of reinforcing your messaging frequently. For instance, if you are establishing new policies about working remotely or the use of video conferencing, make sure you briefly outline what is expected of your team and reinforce it often. And remember, positive reinforcement goes a long way toward moving the needle when trying to effect behavior change—and always celebrate their wins.
Most importantly, be humble and authentic in your efforts at communicating what is changing and why. Effective communication is really a conversation. Once your employees know you have their back, they’ll have yours.
Communication is my passion, and I could talk about it for hours on end. If you have examples to share of how you have implemented an effective change management plan and communicated it to your team, I’d love to hear about it! If you’re struggling, I’d like to support you in your effort to navigate change in your business. Feel free to contact me. I’m always available to help you. We’ll finish up our series on change management in next week’s post. Until then, be kind, serve others, and be well!