start early - woman opening curtains on morning sky


The standard approach when planning a big change is to begin communication after many events have already happened: Senior leaders have identified the need, change teams have engaged sponsors, and project teams have recruited resources. As you may already know, having communication planned after these actions is not early enough in the process.

The second that the change is identified and the team formed, the communication process needs to begin. Here is what you need to do:

Magnifying glass

Assess the situation. 

Conduct a stakeholder analysis of impacted employees. Use this information to define target audiences. If this kind of analysis is unavailable, create your own profile by deciding on key groups and what and when changes will happen for them. Then do research to understand employees’ perceptions of change.

Speech bubbles

Articulate the story

Develop a project plan, including objectives and vision. Leverage this material to create key messages for impacted groups, as well as all employees, by asking yourself the following questions: What’s the most important thing each group needs to know and do? How will the outcome benefit my audience?

Align leaders

Align leaders and business partners. 

Identify key contributors that need involvement in the plan. Leaders need to agree on the solution(s) and ensure that resource(s) are assigned. You can facilitate the plan by working with the leadership team to create a shared vision of the change and define communication roles.