RCT Blog


Leading your team through organizational change can be difficult.  Even if the change – whatever it might be – is “good” change, change is stressful. Think of changes in your personal life:  marriage, a new baby, buying a new home, a new job, a child heading off to college.  All of these are very positive change events, but they also bring stress!


So in times of organizational change, understand that your team (and even you!) will experience stress.  Stress created by the unknown impact of the change – impact on my role, my colleagues, my customers, my pay, my ability to do what I do best.  During stressful times of change and transition, it’s important to communicate facts and dispel rumors.   


Let’s be honest, in the absence of information people make assumptions and start rumors.  Rarely are those assumptions positive!  Consistent, clear messages, repeated often, are critical to successful change efforts. Seth Kahan in his book “Getting Change Right” puts it this way:


 “You can’t just send a well-crafted memo (or report or PowerPoint or spreadsheet or presentation) and expect people to read it and change their behavior to conform to your conclusions. And yet that is essentially what most communication efforts amount to. . .


Getting people together, face-to-face, to share air, is so important. Today we have lots of technology that makes it possible for people to talk otherwise—everything from telephones and chatrooms to state-of-the-art videoconferencing facilities. But face-to-face is still the most valuable, highest-leverage activity.


So what’s a change leader to do? Create ways for people to get together and converse. Get them participating, engaged, and involved. This is the road to personal investment, enthusiastic support, and genuine buy-in. This is how you move people across the line from ‘I have to do this’ to ‘I want to do this.’ And that makes all the difference in the world.”


While it may be both convenient and expeditious to send that one email to communicate change, that is not enough.  Use different methods of communication, repeat your message often, and engage with people one-on-one along the way.  John Kotter, in his book “Leading Change” says “effective information transferal almost always relies on repetition.”


So we know that communication is key to successful change efforts, but what exactly are we to communicate?  That will be in my next blog – Communicating the 4 “P’s” of Change.

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