What’s the first challenge you face when communicating change within your organization? Articulating the message. To get this right, you need to do two things:
1. Create a message that makes sense to people, and
2. Put the message into context/align it with other message in your organization.
One key aspect of communicating about change is getting the messages right. This is critical if you want employees to understand and believe in the change. But describing what the change is and why it’s happening is sometimes easier said than done. Here’s our recipe for success:
First, articulate your change message in a way that makes sense to employees. How?
- Streamline messages into simple, bite-size chunks. Your messages should stand on their own—without explanation.
- Ban the use of corporate-speak. Work with senior managers to craft key themes that are short, easy to understand and easy to remember.
- Be straightforward. Don’t create a marketing blitz; instead, leverage good communication to get the message out.
- Avoid clichés and slogans.
- Use language that’s accessible. Don’t use words or phrases that only have meaning to some; test messages to ensure universal meaning among all levels of employees.
Second, put the message(s) into context and align it with other messages in your organization by:
- Referencing previous change and/or the past. Is this an outgrowth of something that was done before, or is it a completely new direction?
- Linking the message to what’s important—your organization’s goals, values, strategy, etc.
- Articulating what it means for each employee in his/her job. Here’s where you’ll need managers to translate change messages for their teams.