For a significant organizational change, you should develop a communications plan.
It should cover;
- What you wish to accomplish in communicating the change,
- Your audience – how they are feeling, what they are expecting and how are they likely to react through the process,
- Your key messages, strategy and tactics,
- When you are going to communicate – your activity schedule,
- How you will measure the results – how will you know that your message is getting across!
You can find guidance on preparing your plan at this link.
Prepare well for the announcement. Be aware of your own feelings about the change. If you feel anxious take a little time out beforehand to relax – there is a simple breathing technique to help you at this link.
When you can, help your staff prepare for bad news. But combine all of this with being scrupulously fair. They will know if you play the favourites game or take the opportunity to pay off old scores when you are laying people off or reducing hours. You will lose good will and that special contribution you need from those who stay.
In making your announcement, be as honest as you can and above all be fair.
Tell them the real position if you can, but also tell them what you are doing about it. Tell them why the change is happening and what has led up to this point. Be as honest as you can about the risks but don’t threaten your organization with your honesty – it’s a fine judgment call. Be careful of your language, don’t mislead them but limit your use of negative and emotive words.
You may not have all the answers at the beginning of the change. Be honest about the gaps but be very clear about how you will go about filling them
Make sure they understand that you will keep them informed.
If they have a role, explain that role to them. Involve them as much as you can in the change. How can they contribute?
Show confidence in their ability to get out of their comfort zone and do what has not been done before! Challenge them to achieve something remarkable but don’t be unrealistic!
Make sure they leave the room knowing how they can ask questions after the event.
If you have a management team forearm them with as much briefing material as you can and make sure there is access to you for further information
Above all show how you are going to lead and support them through this change. You are all in it together!
I would welcome your thoughts and hearing about your experiences. I am very happy to answer your questions and advise you if I can.
- Leading Change – bad advice and frightening people! (wisewolftalking.com)
- Leading Change – knowing what a sense of urgency really means!(wisewolftalking.com)
- LeaderBrief Q&A: Core Leadership Skills (linked2leadership.com)
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring ++44(0)786768143