Client Login

You can never be too good at this 


During the change management process, communication is essential. Done well, it can drive a business initiative's success; done poorly, it can undermine the entire process. It's almost impossible to communicate too much, but it is possible to communicate the wrong way or to send the wrong message.

change communication


Here are the 5 essentials of great change communication:

1.  Communicate, communicate, communicate!

During a change process, communicate early, often, and with a purpose.  Have a goal for every communication:  To inform, excite or to generate feedback.  (It's best to have one goal per communication.)

Remember, not everyone is going to hear everything you say, the first time.  People will absorb one or two key messages, but not everything.  Follow up each communication with a recap in a different medium (email isn't the only channel!).  Plan to be in touch in different ways, but remember that face-to-face - or face-to-many-faces, as the case may be - is best for fresh news.

2.  Tell people more than they expect to hear

Most people expect to hear a lot of 'doubletalk' and non-information from corporate communications.  Confound these expectations by being as specific as possible, and by providing more information than they expected.  (It's also okay to tell people you have nothing new to tell them, but that you just wanted to keep them up-to-date on the progress of the business initiative.)

3.  Never tell people that things could be worse

I once sat in a room where downsizings had been announced, in which an executive stood up to say "It could be worse - we could be laying off a lot more people..."

Every person in that room already thought they were going to lose their job; they didn't care whether the layoff was going to be 300 or 3000 people.  Senior management looked callous and uncaring, and productivity plummeted.

Meanwhile, another executive sent out a voicemail congratulating her team because the business initiative that had been announced was ahead of schedule.  This would have been all right except that what that meant - and what people heard - was that the planned layoffs were ahead of schedule as well.  No damage control efforts could fix the negative business impact this single voicemail caused.

4.  Be sincere, be yourself - but know your credibility level

Don't try to be someone you aren't.  If you usually have a formal style, be formal; if you're usually casual, be casual.  A change in tone will cause confusion and mistrust.  During a change, it's the little things that can derail progress - and consistency will go a long way to reassuring employees.

Be honest with yourself about the level of credibility you have within the organization, and make decisions accordingly.  If you don't know your credibility level, it's best to find out before you start announcing any business transformation efforts.

5.  Don't lie - especially by omission

I always tell executives:  You always know when your kids are lying to you - and your employees always know when you are lying to them.  Every time you lie, your credibility takes a huge hit and it's almost impossible to ever regain that trust.

The biggest lies executives tell are lies by omission:  You know something is going to happen and you just don't mention it.  Keep in mind that you've hired intelligent people to work for you, and they'll know if you're leaving information out.  Yes, sometimes there is information that you can't share.  Find a way to share what you can, and find a way to let people know that as soon as you can share more information, you will.  And then follow through.





Beth Banks Cohn, PhD, founder and president of ADRA Change Architects, is dedicated to helping you and your organization reach your full business potential…
Read More

changesmart tm

ChangeSmart™ Advantage

Change is a fact of life today in business, but that doesn’t make it any easier to carry out successfully. ChangeSmart™ is a framework, a way to approach change. It is a roadmap for success.
Read More




Improve your bottom line through change.



Achieve your goals by focusing on three critical areas.


Contact Us

OFFICE: (732) 786-8223

FAX: (732) 786-8224