A business can encounter change at any stage of its life; an opportunity to increase competitiveness may arise, a new technology becomes available to improve processes or better ways to meet customers needs are discovered.
No matter what the change, it’s important that the business embraces it and ensures that the majority of its employees are on board, otherwise there’s a high chance that change efforts can fail.
As Mark Murphy, founder of www.LeadershipIQ.com, points out in his Forbes article 3 Stages Of Successful Change Management: “If you don’t take the time to prepare your culture for change you won’t have the basic support needed to go through with a change effort.”
He says that “By understanding the basic phases of change and the psychological state of your employees, you can prepare your culture for change and avoid common pitfalls of failed change efforts.”
Here are the 3 stages of the change management process that he deems vital for any change efforts to be successful:
1. Why do we need to change?
People who don’t understand why they need to change will be resistant to it. If they’re comfortable and the business is doing well, why change?
Mark says, “the first thing leaders need to do to prepare their culture for change is to start a fire. In other words, make the present state significantly less comfortable. Maybe it’s as simple as pointing out that there are coming threats to the current success. Maybe it’s pointing out that they’re not really as perfect as they think they are.”
2. Where is this change taking us?
People need to know that they’re going somewhere better than they are. You need to make the future look bright.
Mark says, “People don’t need every tiny detail about the future state, but they do need a rough idea of where they’re going. They need to be able to visualize that there is a better place waiting for them out there and they need to be able to imagine themselves in that place.”
3. How will we get there?
People need a sense of what’s involved in moving from the present state to the future state. Exactly how will the business make the journey?
Mark says, “leaders need to show that while there’s a big journey ahead, we can break it down into bite-sized steps and take them one at a time.”
How good communication skills can drive change
One of the best ways that managers can drive change is through clear, consistent communication at each stage of the change management process.
The traditional method of corporate communication is a directive, top-down model of leadership, i.e. the boss tells everyone what to do and they do it. But having a quality conversation with employees is a more dynamic and more sophisticated method of communication.
People need to feel involved, understand why the change is important and how it’s relevant to them. Otherwise, they won’t buy into the change, they’ll feel like it’s being forced upon them.
Managers also need to think about their teams’ issues and concerns, and the outcome of the change from their perspective. There needs to be a strategy of moving communication consistently throughout the business so everyone is clear on the message.
Learn communication skills to manage change
The change management process can be made easier if you have the communication skills to deliver such messages authentically and in a clear, consistent way. The delivery may take the form of presentations to key stakeholders, team meetings or one-on-one conversations, so you need to be prepared for all eventualities.
The following case studies convey how enrolling in the Mastering Communication program can help you become a better communicator to lead your team through change:
Anita Metcalf, a Capability Manager for ANZ Private, had difficulty delivering presentations and focusing on the important elements that her audience needed to know. When she was presenting she says “It turned into verbal diarrhoea”. She found the Mastering Communication program invaluable because it gave her the tools to format her presentation into key points, think about her audience and present to a room confidently, without coming across as nervous.
Kate Mort, a Public Policy and Government Relations Manager for Cricket Australia, often has to present to an audience for her job, and though not shy, she battled with public speaking nerves. Kate also had meetings involving much older colleagues and didn’t know how to communicate with authority. The Mastering Communication gave her key tools and skills to help her feel more confident when public speaking and communicate authentically. She says it enabled her to develop her own unique strengths and focused on “bringing out the best” in people.
Communication training for change management strategies
If you’re a manager looking to implement change management strategies for your team, then you’ll need effective communication skills to ensure that everyone is on board with the changes taking place in your business.
Enrol in the Mastering Communication program today to deliver key messages confidently when presenting, or during team meetings. We’ve helped many executives, managers, business owners, just like you, to take their communication skills to the next level.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.