Change communication is fast becoming one of the hottest areas of specialization in our industry. As change becomes the new normal, organizations require communication practitioners with the skill, know-how and savvy to advance transformation.
The place to start is to zoom in on understanding the essential difference between communication during a period of stability and change communication. I think it comes down to three things:
Change communication focuses more on the emotional, rather than the intellectual, side of content. For example, resistance is an almost ubiquitous response to change. A communicator’s instinct might be to send numerous emails explaining a change and detailing its benefits. In truth, there is no one email that is going to solve the problem of resistance. Designing a tactical messaging approach that has a strong emotive appeal will help ensure that you reach employees on an individual level.
Communication tends to be a messy business; change assignments even more so. From a strategic planning perspective, it can be very difficult to apply the rigor of a results-based approach to a change initiative. Canada’s pre-eminent management guru Henry Mintzberg offers useful insight here in explaining that strategy walks on two feet: one deliberate, and one emergent. This is especially relevant to change assignments that certainly benefit from a plan, but require more agility and focus on the emergent aspect than do traditional communication plans.
Change communication success happens at an executive or leadership level, not a functional one. This again is a significant difference from traditional communication. The line becomes blurred between what is effective change sponsorship and what is effective communication. The way I look at it, nothing can change without communication, so this is a fundamental aspect of successful change leadership....
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