• Simon Phillips

The human touch – communicating so people want to change



According to senior leaders, the main reason change fails is a lack of communication. This is hardly surprising, as change should be about people and how they can be energised to change their mindsets and behaviours.

Despite them intellectually understanding this fact, many organisations force in change in the way they’ve always done it and get the same results. Communication is often the poor relation to process, system and other non-people aspects in the change approach.

The cost of not taking communication seriously can be catastrophic for an organisation. Poor communication results in business benefits not being fully achieved, relationships being damaged, trust being eroded, employees being less effective, strategies being developed that aren’t delivered and systems that aren’t fit for purpose.

There are simple steps we can take to connect with people through good communication so they want to change. These include understanding:

  1. Where do you want to be?

  2. Who is impacted by the change?

  3. What opportunities do you have to involve those who are impacted?

  4. Where are they now?

  5. What are their preferences?

  6. What will make them feel good about the change?

  7. What will be their concerns?

Then you can develop a robust communication plan and focus your time and effort where it will have the greatest impact.

Getting change communication right can be tricky if not properly thought through. Being clear on what the future world looks like, understanding audiences, listening to their ideas and needs and developing communication with them in mind will enable change leaders and their organisations to reap the benefits. It is worth spending the time and money to get this right and avoid the expensive mistakes that too many organisations encounter through poor communication.

* Robert Half Management Resources 2016 survey of 300 US senior managers

Karen Dempster is an expert in communications and engagement, and a professional photographer.


This article is a summary of her chapter in "Change Wisdom" from The Change Maker Group, available globally on Amazon or by clicking here.

#communications #engagement #change

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