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Tips for Communicating Change Pt 1


Hi there. Russell Stratton, President and Leadership Champion with Bluegem Learning. I work with organizations just like yours to help managers improve individual and team performance to get results for your business.

I was talking to one of my coaching clients the other day about communicating change. He had a fully significant change in his business, which was going to be changing their opening times for his retail store and also a new product line that was going to be brought online, which would require some of his employees to undergo some training in its uses and how to sell this to their clients.

So, he was talking about what was the best way for him to be able to communicate this to his people. One of the things that we decided upon that he was actually going to do some, get them all together, have a meeting, and explain the change to them. So, we set out and worked out four things that he needed to make sure he covered in his change message.

The first thing was being really clear about what was changing and why. So, could he articulate to his team members, this is what the change was and why it was happening? I was saying to him that what was very much the sort of twentieth century question, people like to know what was going on. But the twenty-first century question for employees is always why, why are we doing this?

A lead to that was our second point of making sure that he could be really clear with them as to what the key benefits would be. What were the benefits, not just for the organization, but also what were the benefits for the employee of the change that he was going to bring in place? Because for most people, whilst they may buy into our company vision, they also want to know what's in it for me, how is this going to affect me or make benefits for me as an individual.

The third thing I said that he should do is that he should also focus on what the concerns might be of his employees. So, what he was thinking about are some of the common concerns that his employees might have. What would it mean about the extended opening hours? Were people going to be expected to work longer hours? What were their concerns about not knowing about the new product line? How were they going to be trained? He addressed all of this in his message, and it therefore reduced the resistance.

The final thing I suggested to him was make sure you tell people what's not changing because although it was a fairly significant change for the business, there was a lot of things that were still going to be exactly the same. They were still going to be working in the same store, they were still going to be dealing with a very similar customer base, they were still going to be working with similar colleagues. So, just a brief summary assurance to people that it wasn't like everything was going to be completely different.

By using that four step process and acknowledging concerns, what happens is you're able to start to address those concerns and restraining forces and take them off the table. That means if your benefits are valid, it makes a lot smoother transition from where you are now to where you want to be.

Our focus from that, make sure we don't ignore the restraining forces or the concerns that people have when it comes to change. Let's address those up front.

So, just to summarize, four things that we need to cover in terms of our communication method. What we're doing and why, what the benefits are to the organization and the employees, what concerns employees may have, and finally, what's not going to change.

Next time you're thinking about some change in your business, perhaps you might like to use that quick tool to help you put your communication method together.

If you found that useful, feel free to share this vlog with your colleagues. And if you're interested in the workshops that I can do for your business, check out my website

I'll see you soon.

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