Communication within Change Processes

“When people don't know what is happening, speculation begins to arise: they imagine the worst.”

Charles-Antoine Roger

It is a fact that all change generates resistance and uncertainty and that, if we do not have the sensitivity and vision to prevent and mitigate it, the results sought may not be achieved, despite, even, significant economic and time investments. and in effort.

The good news is that it is possible to anticipate and plan. There are proven Change Management methodologies that indicate how communication should be managed within change processes and help us control the variables that will act against the completion of our projects.

It is counterproductive not to invest time and effort in a communication strategy that accompanies the change process.

A special communication

Communication in change processes seeks to determine the best way to channel the messages that are exchanged in the organization within a changing environment, with high uncertainty and proliferation of informal channels.

It is very difficult to communicate a reality in transit, such as in a merger or restructuring process. Communication in these situations is responsible for accompanying the process.

The Coacharte approach

As we have already discussed, Coacharte's Change Management model has 6 pillars: Sponsorship, Awareness, High Performance Teams, Knowledge Transfer, Communication and Organizational Impact.

In this article we will focus on the track of communication, which if we see it in a systemic way, is always present within the change management processes: from the first moment, with the alignment of sponsorship (that is, when leaders promote change within the organization) , until the knowledge transfer part (final stage of the process, when the first people to master a process or tool share what they know with the others involved).

Let us keep in mind that, at the same time as we communicate, we begin to raise awareness among the various audiences that will participate in the process. The image below shows us the stages that are passed during a change process: awareness, understanding, adoption and commitment. And communication in each one is essential.

It has already been mentioned that we can and should try to anticipate some obstacles and to do so we will have to plan our communication strategy. Resistance is natural at the beginning of the process, it should not alarm us too much.

It is important to prepare in advance, be flexible (change priorities if circumstances change); assess risks; Prepare a diagram with resources, responsibilities, times, people responsible and set objectives.

Some of the first steps to take when managing a change process are:

  • Interview to sponsors and key leaders.
  • Generate the official speech and strategic messages.
  • Know the means to communicate (which will depend on the audiences we are going to touch). We will have to be concrete, fast, transparent.

When the process begins, rationalizations and doubts will also begin. Communication should focus on clarifying them and pointing out the value and importance of the new practices.

Then the adaptation to the new reality will begin. It is a slow period, during which satisfaction with the transition results will have to be emphasized and the perception of uncertainty will change to that of an opportunity.

Throughout the entire process it is very important to monitor how the information flow is being carried out: how messages are being given and received, what results are being obtained. And towards the end of the project, it is suggested to measure the level of satisfaction with the communication, such as conducting a survey that considers:

  • If the times when reporting and communicating were adequate.
  • If the correct means were used.
  • The level of satisfaction with the contents of the communications.

In sum

For years, research has stressed time and again the crucial role of communication in organizations. They consider it as “the link that integrates and gives meaning to the parts of the system”; as the “essential element in a system that unites the parts or subsystems to facilitate their interdependence” or the one that “helps achieve: unity, harmony and sequence of activities.” In the words of Rogers and Rogers: “Communication is the lifeblood of an organization.”

This is even more true for change processes and communication can be a great ally for achieving objectives.

Do you want to know more about Communication in Change Management or need more specific advice? We invite you to contact us by phone or by mail and we will gladly assist you. We are here to support you.

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NOTE: We thank our collaborator, Yadira Arizmendi, an expert in Change Management, for providing us with the foundations to write this article.

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