Change is good, as long as it is properly managed. Which is why change management is a good set of skills to have, because change can often be difficult.
Over the years, I have handled mergers and acquisitions, rebrandings, restructurings, downsizings, and comebacks – all of which involved a premeditated change to the organization. And change management is the process of leveraging communications to help the organization effectively navigate through and successfully achieve the intended changes. It falls into the category of corporate communications and is ultimately a combination of reputation management and internal communications.
The key to successful change management often relies on the credibility of the company – and, in particular, its management. Which means that you first need to establish integrity and build trust with all of the critical stakeholders, both internal and external, and then engage in clear (and ideally two-way) communications with each of them. This includes address not only those affected by the change, but also those involved in making the change happen. In effect, instead of marketing a product or a service, you are marketing the value of a change in your business to the very people who not only have to make it succeed but who will also depend on its success for their own livelihood. It is a fine line to walk, with plenty of potential pitfalls along the way.
If your company is considering a major change, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss the steps involved. Again, planning and preparation are essential, from building credibility and establishing trust to crafting messages and identifying distribution methods for each audience, both internal and external. And then surveys and other metrics are essential for gauging effectiveness, adjusting as necessary, and being able to eventually measure and demonstrate success to all involved.