One off change activities like town hall meetings or executive communications rarely implement much change.
Change should be looked at as a process where constant pressure needs to be applied to change behaviours. Successful change programs are developed with the understanding that change does not happen in town hall meetings . . . it happens through individual actions over the months that follow.
To make change even more difficult, many of today’s organizations employ a multitude of highly skilled knowledge workers. These workers are simply too knowledgeable about their work to blindly follow management directives to change. They need to understand the reasons for the change and also see the path to change laid out in front of them.
In these environments, resistance to change should be expected and even welcomed for the information it can provide. If experienced workers are against a change even after it has been explained to them, then they might have sound objections that should be considered.
Making change a process will often require a cultural shift for many organizations:
- Senior management need to be fully engaged so that they can constantly make decisions to ensure the change process does not stall.
- Change plans need to consider the phases that people go through before adopting change. Some will need to be persuaded, some will need to experiment, and some will need to have the specific benefits to them outlined.
- Timeframe expectations need to be realistic. It’s better for the change to take a little longer and succeed than less time and fail.
- The communication strategy should be aimed at developing a dialogue within the organization to facilitate feedback rather than one way broadcasts.
- Actual communications need to be informative & customized to provide the right people with the right information at the right time.
- Employees need to be empowered to make decisions and contribute ideas. Change is easiest when employees feel as though they are making change rather than being made to change.
The Intellilink Team