Depending on the stage of your company’s life, communicating change may look like a one-on-one conversation with a co-founder, an all-company meeting with 60 team members, or a live webinar for thousands of distributed team members.
No matter what your size, keeping these 5 P’s in mind when communicating change will help, especially when scale is adding to the stress: Plan, Produce, Publish, Promote, Practice.
Before any communication is delivered, it should be thought out. Typically, the more people involved in communication, the more thought required. Use these questions to put together your communication plan:
- Why is this communication required?
- Who needs to understand this change?
- What needs to be communicated for the change to take hold?
- How should this message be communicated (tone)?
- Where does this need to be published?
- When does this need to be known and understood by the team?
After a communication plan has been created, it’s time to fulfill it. Producing the communication includes creating the content and making sure it is in a format that everyone involved can digest. Use these questions to guide your production process:
- Who is responsible for creating the content?
- What forms of media should be used to communicate this change?
- What tools do we need to create this content?
- What tone should be used and how transparent should we be?
- When does the content have to be completed to be delivered on time?
After the message has been created, it must then be shared with those who need to understand it. Use these questions to make sure you publish your message in the most effective way:
- Who will deliver the message to the company?
- Who needs to receive the communication?
- Where will we communicate the message? In person? Electronically? Snail mail?
- When does this message need to be communicated?
- What tools can we use to publish our message so that we can track engagement?
After a message is delivered to an audience, it’s important to reinforce it to make sure it is assimilated. Use these questions to help push past the first point of delivery.
- Who will be focusing on promoting this after it has been published?
- When does it make sense to re-share this content?
- How can we leverage other forms of media and tools to remind stakeholders of this change?
- How can we continue to communicate this change to team members over time?
- How many times does this need to be communicated?
The next, final, and longest phase of communicating change is the daily, weekly, yearly process of walking the walk of your new changes. This phase takes patience and determination to be successful. Use these questions to keep the change momentum going and follow through:
- How do we make sure this change takes root and becomes the new normal?
- How can we act out this new change and lead by example?
- How can we measure the success of this change and who is most on board with it?
- Who can act as change advocates for us, inspiring others to embrace the change?
- When will we decide the change has been adopted and stop actively promoting it?
And always remember this last thing: ask for feedback from your peers frequently after the change to get perspective from others on how things are going. Follow these steps, and you’re on your way to communicating change effectively, no matter what your size.
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