Would you leave a note on your refrigerator door to let your family know you’re making a change? “Kids – pack up by Friday at noon. We’re moving.”
Tongue-in-cheek, I asked that question recently during an opening keynote I was giving at a conference, and a woman in the front row enthusiastically blurted out, “Yes!” (Not sure her kids were quite as enthusiastic.)
Most of us would not. However, we seem to do the equivalent to our co-workers – frequently. It could be a culture shift. A new business strategy. A reorganization. A merger or acquisition. Whatever the change at hand, many companies communicate it through an all-employee email.
Sure, it’s quick. And it’s efficient. And — it doesn’t make the change happen effectively.
Without a doubt, of the vast amount of communication tools available today, the strategic use of a select group of them is a great way to build awareness. But creating behavior change is a different animal altogether, and therefore requires a different strategy and set of tools.
Employees must be given the opportunity to understand the change more deeply, opt-in to support it, and be properly equipped to activate it.
Fifteen years of activating change inside organizations has taught us that employees – or better put, people – tend to embrace change when they can play an active role in it.
Here’s the three-step approach we’ve found to be most effective in creating an active change environment:
- Provide opportunity for open dialogue. This helps people build a deeper understanding of the change.
- Create immersive experiences. This clearly and effectively demonstrates the pain point or new opportunity that is sparking the need for change.
- Equip internal influencers. Identify a small team of people who can become the “experts” on the desired end state, and empower them to cascade the immersive experience to others.
When it comes time for your next change, will you simply slap up a metaphorical sticky note, or will you create the space for your people to truly own it?
Thanks for being involved today.