The reality: A classic cascade—which relies on leaders to push messages down through the organization—is about as useful as a snooze button on a smoke alarm.

Yet most change management methodologies still recommend the cascade as their primary change communication technique. While preparing leaders to communicate is an important step, when employees want to know how change impacts them personally, they go straight to their manager.

Blow up the old cascade and focus your efforts on supporting managers to answer employees' difficult questions. Consider writing the following tactics into your communication plan:

One Manager briefings
When you're rolling out a change, tell managers first. They'll have the inside scoop and feel knowledgeable enough to answer questions. Our favorite (efficient) way to do this is interactive, web-based briefings.
 
Two FAQs for managers
As mundane as Frequently Asked Questions are, managers find them very helpful. Get the best list of questions by putting yourself in employees' shoes and imagining their concerns. Better yet, see if your change management team conducted a stakeholder analysis. This document outlines the potential challenges for different stakeholder groups, which may feed your thinking about employees' questions.
 
Three Communication skills training
Preparing for a specific change is the perfect time to hone managers' skills. They will feel more inclined to participate when there's a compelling reason to prepare. You can also provide access to on-demand learning that managers can access quickly when faced with a challenge.
 
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