Communication – A key factor for successful change

That change has to happen in order to ensure global competitiveness and sustainable success of companies is common sense. “Change” and “Change Management” are of every day concern for business practitioners. And still, we are afraid of change, we face it with reluctance. It is just so difficult to move away from the way “it’s always been“.

Although I would consider myself a relatively open-minded person, who many times has actively looked for a change – despite a University degree in economics and law, I decided to seek experience outside my subject area in development cooperation and later worked on communications and training at the United Nations, which led me towards dedicating my competency and experience to a business-consultancy today – I quite often found myself in situations where change scared me or evoked an act of defiance. Looking back these reactions were mostly caused by change I could not influence or did not understand.

Employees that face “Organizational Change“ often react in a similar way. They feel helpless and lack comprehension regarding the necessity for upcoming change. When asked, concerned employees often name miscommunication as a reason for their behaviour.

Thus, I am currently very excited to develop and implement the strategy for the internal communication that accompanies a major global change process at a German premium automobile manufacturer. Overall objective of this strategy is the dissemination of information that emphasizes the benefits of change and the advantages a global Leadership Development Programme has for everyone. The added value of the programme for each person as an individual has to be the key element of all communication.

From the very start the project team has to create a “sense of urgency“ when communicating to stakeholders. Crucial for clear and efficient communication throughout the project is selecting the right means of communication and communication dates compliant with target groups and content. Regular communication (we currently use a monthly blog) is thereby as important as information on the achievement of important milestones in the project implementation. The diversified communication portfolio contains platforms for peer-learning and online-chats as well as face-to-face events that make personal exchange a unique and memorable experience.

To avoid the impression that senior management has yet again come up with a new idea, communication both ways is essential. True communication is conversation, not the presentation and information about a new concept. In the current project, the “conversation” is mostly taking place in so-called “online-communities“. These are internal corporate social networks, which foster exchange between the project team and employees as well as among employees. Traditional hierarchies are broken, corporate identity is strengthened and through their contributions every employee becomes a change-enabler.

Innovative media, like videos and podcasts that help transmit key messages and additional information on a certain subject matter can be exchanged via community. This is essential when it comes to raising and sustaining continued interest in the new programme.

After all “change“ also means to change internal communication and to adapt communication to the change. I like to contribute to this process, as a consultant, blogger and facilitator!

A contribution by one of our guides