How you handle change is key for every business.
Let’s be honest, the vast majority of us don’t respond well to it, and our reaction is actually a primal response, because ‘staying the same’ equates to staying safe. So, when there’s change occurring, the main priority for your business is to adopt a communication style that helps your people feel as safe as is humanly possible, while you navigate the changes together.
Let’s take a look at how you can achieve this.
How, when and where
The content you provide during any change really matters – in fact it’s vital! It makes a world of difference to the moral of your people when you carefully consider how, when and where you communicate what’s happening!
- Make sure communication is in alignment with your values. For example, if one of your values is ‘open communication’ don’t keep planned changes a secret! If it’s ‘collaboration’ ensure your people are involved from the outset.
- Remember, the sooner you tell people the longer they have to get used to the idea (check out the Kubler-Ross curve for more on this). No one likes to feel they’re being kept in the dark! This only encourages your people to start creating their own stories about what’s going on. More often than not, fear sets in as they go to the worst-case scenario in their minds.
- It’s human nature that people will assume you know more than you do! So, share information as soon as you can and be honest if you’re withholding anything. When your teams feel involved this gives them the opportunity to support the common mission, rather than adopting the attitude of ‘it’s everyone for themselves’.
- Take the time to mix up the way you communicate. Use video, broadcast via phone messages, put out newsletters, and so on.
When you’re all going through change I can’t stress enough how important it is to handle your people in a respectful way. While it’s tempting to default to the usual email method for sharing information (because it’s the easiest way for big organisations in particular to reach everyone), that does not provide the personal touch that’s needed. The more you can do face to face meetings (be they in person or via a platform like Zoom) the better.
Respect the free will of your people
Adopting a, ‘People should just do as they’re told’ attitude is NOT a good strategy for change! It is an incredibly disrespectful way to lead at any time and especially so during uncertainty.
When you take the time to speak with your teams directly and present them with honest facts, don’t be surprised by how quickly and happily they get on board for the greater good of the whole. Give your people the opportunity to show themselves at their best! Here’s a great article that highlights this exact point.
I hope this has given you some food for thought with how to communicate with your people during change. If you’d like some help creating content in this area, why not book a free content review and we can give you some pointers.