The 7 Questions of Change: A Communication Template for Team Driven Initiatives
What must we do to bring about a Change initiative as smoothly as possible? Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! How much, and for how long do we do this? Until we get sick and tired of the sound of our own voice – then we take a deep breath and a drink of water and we start all over again. Communication isn’t something that stops and starts; it’s a constant activity before, during and after any Change initiative.
This isn’t exactly news. We sort of get this. I can ask any audience in the world to tell me the ‘secret’ to good Change and they repeat back “Communicate, Communicate and Communicate some more!” as if it’s been forcefully injected into their cerebellum. The problem arises when the questioning becomes a bit more detailed, “What exactly should we communicate?”
The response to that question is usually either a blank stare or the reasonable recitation of the reporter’s standby; Who, What, Where, When, How and Why. Not a bad start. If we’re writing a news article, then these are good solid questions. The Change Management problem requires all of those, and a few others besides. It’s not that the reporter’s questions are a poor tool; it’s just that they don’t address the peculiar psychology of the Change challenge.
Outcomes for the participants.
They will have gained the following knowledge and skills and be able to:
- Design a communication plan to address the real concerns of the Target Audience
- Respond appropriately to concerns regarding the Change in order to avoid reinforcing those concerns
- Install support structures to shorten the transition period
- Respect the existing status quo before replacing it with another
- Minimize the pain of change in order to make it easier to embrace
- Recognize why celebrating a transition is not just a reason to throw a party
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Acknowledgements: Kimberly Whitby, James McCrory and Fred Ulmer