Driving change through communication
My organization is preparing to host our Annual Conference next week – which is all about equipping our members with the trends and strategies needed to take their institution into the future. One of the challenges leaders often face is how to tackle change in order to stay relevant and grow. In addition to having the awareness of where we're headed, it's important to communicate your vision for change with employees.
Business consultant Robert Ford writes that the worries of change – moving from what's known and safe, which can hold people back – can be overcome by effective communication from the top. Here are five tips to help you get your team on board:
- Create a leadership communication mandate that connects me, inspires me and tells me what I should do. As the CEO or president, your organization is driven by your vision. An opportunity for change that excites you needs to do the same for your employees. You need their buy-in, otherwise they'll be reluctant to move forward with you.
- Address the past as well as the present and future. Let your team know how this change will drive your organization to success. Acknowledge what's worked well – and what hasn't – and how this new approach will accentuate where you excel.
- Provide continual reinforcement with a careful eye on communication dead-spots. Ford writes that one speech isn't enough to motivate your employees. It's important to maintain a high level of communication throughout the process.
- Show real progress through real stories. I lead an advocacy organization, and much of what we do is analyze and develop data to support our policy positions. However, we know that personal stories of how laws and regulations impact our members and the people in their communities are so much more powerful. The same is true for your organization. Metrics demonstrating improvements are important, but anecdotes can be more effective in motivating your team.
- Engage stakeholders at all levels of your organization for feedback on your communication activities and adjust your plans as needed. Leaders must be open to honest feedback. It is especially critical when you are implementing something new. Take time to listen and consider your employees' concerns to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Maintaining the status quo isn't acceptable for organizations that want to grow. We must always be looking for – and open to – opportunities that will lead to growth. I wrote recently about embracing a culture of change, and these tips from Ford will allow you to implement transformation more effectively.
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P.S. If you're interested in learning more about how to tackle complex challenges and strengthen your members' or customers' loyalty, my opening speech at our Annual Conference will be livestreamed here at 9 a.m. Eastern Wednesday.