Maintaining Comms During Change
Keeping communications going is hard enough. When you are trying to manage change, it is even harder. Here are some tips on how to maintain communications during times of change.
Today we’re delving into a crucial aspect of change initiatives – maintaining effective communication. It’s a question I frequently encounter: How do you sustain communication amidst significant changes?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, let’s explore a strategic approach to addressing this common challenge.
Read on or watch the video below (especially if you’re a fan of my animal themed images):
One of the first considerations in maintaining communication during change is identifying priorities. Is communication the primary focus of the change, or is it part of a broader transformation? Understanding the priority of communication within the change effort sets the stage for crafting an effective communication plan. For instance, if the goal is to transition everyone to a unified communication platform like Slack, the plan can be straightforward. However, if communication
is one facet of a larger change, careful thought is needed to determine its place in the order of priorities.
Behaviors and Habits:
Changing behaviors is no small feat, especially when it involves ingrained habits. Communicating a change often requires people to adopt new communication habits, and it’s crucial to be clear about these expectations. Considering what people do differently each day and the impact of the change on their daily routines provides insights into the behaviors that need to shift. Whether it’s altering
communication methods or workflow steps, understanding the behavioral aspects of the change is essential.
Cognitive load, a key concept in education, is equally relevant in change management. How much
are we asking our teams to process during this change? Overloading individuals with information can hinder their ability to engage with and adapt to the change. Being mindful of the cognitive load, particularly in the context of daily work responsibilities, is paramount. A thoughtful approach to managing cognitive load can significantly influence the success of communication during change.
Crafting a Communication Plan:
Armed with insights into priorities, behaviors, and cognitive load, the next step is to develop a
communication plan that aligns with these considerations. While there’s no magic bullet, a well-crafted plan can navigate the complexities of change. If communication is a top priority, the plan can be more focused on specific tools or methods. However, in most cases, where communication is part of a broader change, offering options and choices to the team is crucial.
Providing Options and Choices: Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works, it’s beneficial to provide the team with options for communication. Acknowledging the existing methods and tools
they are familiar with reduces cognitive load and fosters engagement. It’s essential to strike a balance between standardization and flexibility, allowing the team to choose methods that align with their preferences and habits.
Consistency is Key:
Consistency emerges as a central theme in effective change management. Regardless of the chosen
communication approach, maintaining consistency is paramount. Whether it’s using a combination of email and Slack or gradually transitioning to a unified method, the key is to uphold the established boundaries. Consistency not only builds confidence but also eases the adaptation process for the team.
In conclusion, successfully maintaining communication during times of change requires a strategic and thoughtful approach. Understanding priorities, acknowledging behavioral changes, managing cognitive load, and crafting a consistent communication plan are essential steps. While there’s no one-size-fits-all
solution, the key lies in aligning communication efforts with the unique dynamics of the change initiative. By prioritizing familiarity, offering choices, and upholding consistency, organizations can navigate change with greater success.
Remember, change is a journey, and effective communication is the compass that guides the way.