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Some communication preconditions for successful change

International studies and experience show that many companies face difficulties when implementing change, mainly related to employee misunderstanding, reluctance to accept change and even conscious resistance. This costs companies both time and money. However, observations also show that managers often make mistakes in change management and communication, which also leads to an unsuccessful solution - a good change idea turns into pain, conflicts and low productivity. I offer a little insight into the five prerequisites that determine successful change communication management.


Communication results from the change goal

Change starts with the aim to change something. Company owners or managers of organizations, for some reason, decide that it is necessary to change the operating approach, for example, to improve productivity, organize processes, change the structure, reduce the number of employees, develop new direction of operation, change the office, change the culture, merge with another company, etc. All these situations are related to change, the only difference lies in its own way with the change management and communication approach. Therefore, this is the first and most important point - to understand what is our change? What exactly are we going to change? It seems like a very elementary question, but when managers start to delve into their change purpose, various important nuances can be revealed which change the communication approach with employees and allow to see the risks in the change management process.


Planning is not a waste of time

Yes; we live in a very dynamic time where there is not much time to sit and think. The winners in the competitive battle are those who can make the best decision in the shortest time, but this is also the risk of falling into a trap. If we take the time to build a common understanding in the management team, what are the driving and inhibiting factors of our change, and also clearly understand that change management does not have two modes "Identify change" and "Implement change", but at least two more stages before and one after implementation, then we do our homework, which will help us move the changes in a purposeful and meaningful way. Managers typically spend too little time on important change issues, such as assessing the company's culture to determine readiness for change.


Internal communication is the key to change

No matter how well we have planned the implementation of change, it is possible to bring it to life only through the process of internal communication. Moreover, not the one centered on the attitude of the public relations people of the company/organization: "We need to communicate this to the employees!", but a clear understanding of what people need to hear, go through and experience to accept the change. That is why the communication professional and his ability to link the intention of change with communication play an important role in the change planning stage, making it a management process. This is possible by analyzing the goal of change from the employees' point of view, thus developing the most effective messages and communication approaches.


Acceptance of change takes time.

I think that every manager would like to experience a situation where, by the time he/she starts communicating the change, the employees clap with excitement and are ready to get involved. Yes, there will be the category of employees who have been waiting for changes for years and will act as their informal ambassadors, but there will also be cautious and negative ones in the collective. During the change planning stage, it is useful to segment these groups of employees to understand who the promoters of change will be, and who will be the hinderers. But regardless of the segments, it would be worth remembering that for employees to fully accept the change, they need to go through six levels of thinking, where the first is "I've just been told something about the change" and the last level is "I'm ready to do it with pleasure". There are four more stages in between that depend on skillful communication by managers. Therefore, good practice shows that depending on the extent of changes, their implementation in companies takes up to one year. It requires patience and focus of both managers and employees, but overcoming difficulties is much easier when management and communication tasks are clear and organized, and do not leave anyone with the question: "Why did we start all this?”.

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