There is No Such Thing as Too Much Communication During Change
Welcome back to Brighter Strategies’s case study series on change management. The last blog article described Bayside Community Libraries’s responses at both individual and organizational levels to a major workplace disruption. This article looks at how communication can be used effectively in a change management initiative in your organization, with examples from Bayside’s scenario.
The role of strategic communication
Now that you understand what change is and the process it entails, it’s time to think about how to strategically manage change in your organization through communication. The purpose of communication in change management is to move individuals and the organization through The Change Cycle in such a way that individuals embrace change, and the organization experiences sustainable results.
Managing stakeholder communication
In the context of change management, a stakeholder is defined as anyone who has a vested interest in the change, such as managers who will lead change, employees who must help to implement change, and clients who will be impacted by changed products or services. The change management process affects each stakeholder group differently.
By understanding stakeholders’ unique needs and targeting communication efforts to those needs, you will improve your change initiative’s chance of success.
Step One: Identify your stakeholders. Think of all of the people who are affected by the change, have influence or power over the change, and have an interest in the results of the change. These individuals and organizations include both internal and external stakeholders.
For Bayside, these major stakeholder groups include Board of Directors, current staff, funding sources, and the general public.
Step Two: Understand your stakeholders. Analyze how each stakeholder group is likely to feel about and react to change so you know how to communicate effectively with them.
Bayside identified the following pain points for each of its stakeholder groups:
• Board of Directors: This governance group initiated the change effort at Bayside and is invested deeply in its success.
o Pain point: Can we effectively manage this change effort and see it to completion?
• Current staff: At Bayside, this group cares about how the change affects their livelihood.
o Pain point: How will new a new business model make my life harder as an employee?
• Funding sources: These entities want to know how their money is being used to fund Bayside Community Libraries.
o Pain point: If hard copy books will no longer be purchased, what does the new pricing model look like? What is the value proposition of providing more electronic content to the public?
• General public: The masses care about their comfort, even when it comes to the public library’s resources.
o Pain point: Will my personal preferences for consuming content be affected for better or worse?
Step Three: Communicate with your stakeholders with the help of Brighter Strategies’s Model for Change Communication. [See Figure H from Change Management Resource Guide.]
Brighter Strategies’s Model for Change Communication
• Explain why the change will be implemented
• Explain the purpose of the change
• Describe the strategic objectives the change will help to meet
• Create measurable objectives to determine whether or not the strategic objectives have been met
• List the relevant individuals working on the project
• List any other relevant individuals or organizations (refer to list of internal and external stakeholders)
• List the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in the change management project, from most influential to least influential
• Describe the project’s scope, any changes occurring to the scope, and how the change management plan applies
• List all of the steps necessary
• Describe the process by which the change will be managed
• Explain how internal process changes will affect an organization’s external stakeholders
• Describe any tools needed to implement the desired change
• Document the new budget for implementing the project change
• Perform a risk analysis for implementing any change in your project management plan
• Create the change management schedule
The next blog article will describe Bayside’s completion of the planning and people components of the above model, and the final article in the series concludes with a discussion of the process and performance pieces. More to come soon!