What Makes Change Communication Different?

Credit: istockphoto.com/Weekend Images Inc

Credit: istockphoto.com/Weekend Images Inc

Change communication is fast becoming one of the hottest areas of specialization in our industry. As change becomes the new normal, organizations require communication practitioners with the skill, know-how and savvy to advance transformation.

The place to start is to zoom in on understanding the essential difference between communication during a period of stability and change communication. I think it comes down to three things:

Change communication focuses more on the emotional, rather than the intellectual, side of content. For example, resistance is an almost ubiquitous response to change. A communicator’s instinct might be to send numerous emails explaining a change and detailing its benefits. In truth, there is no one email that is going to solve the problem of resistance. Designing a tactical messaging approach that has a strong emotive appeal will help ensure that you reach employees on an individual level.

Communication tends to be a messy business; change assignments even more so. From a strategic planning perspective, it can be very difficult to apply the rigor of a results-based approach to a change initiative. Canada’s pre-eminent management guru Henry Mintzberg offers useful insight here in explaining that strategy walks on two feet: one deliberate, and one emergent. This is especially relevant to change assignments that certainly benefit from a plan, but require more agility and focus on the emergent aspect than do traditional communication plans.

Change communication success happens at an executive or leadership level, not a functional one. This again is a significant difference from traditional communication. The line becomes blurred between what is effective change sponsorship and what is effective communication. The way I look at it, nothing can change without communication, so this is a fundamental aspect of successful change leadership.

Read the full article in Communication World

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