I’ve written several posts over the last few years about change. Based on the enormity of the task we face as leaders, I probably have not written enough on this important topic. So, I’ve decided to devote five posts to the primary levers of change.
I love the idea of a lever as it relates to change. As you may remember from physics, a lever creates mechanical advantage. Translated, a lever allows you to move or lift a significantly greater load than you could without it. After discovering the lever and its power, Archimedes said:
“Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the earth.”
The following levers will help you move your organization with much greater ease.
- Resource Allocation
- Rewards and Recognition
- Performance Management
Today, let’s take a deeper look at how change can be facilitated by Communications.
If you communicate well, people…
See the vision clearly – Rarely will people willingly move into the uncertainly of the future unless a leader paints a vivid picture of a preferred tomorrow. This is the essence of vision. There’s also a correlation between our ability to cast a compelling vision and the likelihood we’ll have the privilege of taking people there.
Become dissatisfied with the status quo – Change is hard. If people are satisfied with today, they’ll have little motivation to change. Don’t be surprised if people choose today over the uncertainty of tomorrow - until they are no longer satisfied with today.
Understand the specific behaviors needed to make the vision a reality – Change won’t happen unless people make different decisions and take different actions. If we are uncertain in our charge, people may be uncertain in their action. What do you want people to do? Tell them.
Won’t miss opportunities to celebrate – Accomplishments, even small ones, can breathe life into an organization. Sharing the success stories along the way is time and energy well invested.
Understand the inevitable setbacks on the journey – Leaders provide context and perspective. Leaders understand that failure is not final. Your people need this. Left to make sense of setbacks on their own, they’ll probably assume the worst-case scenario.
Remember the vision – I know this may be hard for you to believe, but people actually do forget the vision. You can’t… it’s your baby! But for the normal person, the vision is one more bit of trivia in an over-committed life. Our ability to creatively and consistently communicate the vision will facilitate change.
At the heart of the issue, change is about trying to get an organization to embrace new ways of thinking and acting so you can move into a preferred future. Communication may be the most important lever at your disposal to make change a reality.[GLS_Shield]
What’s your communications plan?