No matter which metric you look at, employee involvement is a key component of successful change communication. By working with employees to establish not only what to change but also why change is needed, you will ensure that the workforce owns the change and the way it is communicated.
The connection between change management and resistance to change has been studied for decades. The relationship is complex and open to multiple interpretations, but a few facts stand out: The most effective and lasting approach is to define the change and its rationale with the full involvement of those who will live through it. Good, but not as good, is to design the change with participation of representatives of those affected. Least effective is simply saying “make it so.”
A method called The Art of Hosting is one way to tap into the knowledge and experience of the entire organization when preparing change programs or strategic vision or action plans, and the communication that goes with them. And because its methods closely involve the participants in designing the necessary change, resistance will be close to nil.
Hearing everyone’s voice
Try to imagine a meeting of 200 people in which, in two hours, everyone has spoken and, at the end, the five most important points that people are ready to act upon are completely clear and agreed upon by the participants. This extraordinary vision is an achievable outcome with participatory methods.
The key to participatory leadership is good conversation and visible follow-up. It relies on the “caller,” the person who desires a change, to set the process in motion with:
- Process hosts to help clarify the purpose of the meeting, make it explicit and design a neutral framework for carrying out the process.
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