Change Management Storytelling: Do you communicate like a Whale or Dolphin ?

Change Management Storytelling. How to communicate your change effectively.

This blog is for you if you are like Min Lee. Min Lee is responsible for change management communication.

At the start of the project Min Lee has created key steps to manage communication on various change activities – Surveys, Leadership Talks, Updates, Engagement Activities etc. Her plan is robust and thought out.

She sticks to deadlines, updates stakeholders, prepares perfect communications to go out at the right, scheduled times.

For anyone who has ever been involved in managing change, every step you accomplish requires immense effort however the effort required reduces the frequency of communication you have with the people who matter the most.

Every step seems like a Whale, large and heavy. In a change process we tend to communicate like a Whale but may be we should communicate like a Dolphin instead.

What do I mean by that ?

Dolphins surface above the water frequently, every 15 – 17 mins  because they can only take in a limited amount of air at a given time. But Whales on the other hand, can take in large amounts of air, and therefore stay under water for longer periods of time. A Sperm Whale can hold it’s breath for 90 mins

David Feeney a prominent British academic and authority on business transformation, uses this metaphor to illustrate how to communicate about organizational change:

it’s better to pop your head up frequently to talk about a little change, rather than trying to make a big splash all at once, and then disappearing back into the depths.

Just think about the last time you were a part of change .. all you wanted to know was what was going on. Correct? A lot of uncertainty comes from the unknown. So, put the perfect plans aside and surface more frequently to keep people informed, because it might just be too late if you keep thinking of only wanting to make a big splash.

Here are 3 ways you can approach a Dolphin Communication

1. Talk. A lot. Communication, as it is to so many parts of business and life, is extremely important when it comes to making change stick. Leaders should make it clear why, how, and when a change is being instituted, not just to employees but to anybody else who might be affected by it as well. And then they should keep talking as the new process takes hold. It keeps them informed of progress, reinforces the project benefits, answers the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question, and sets expectations.

2. Follow the leaderIf you’re going to make everybody else do something new, you better be prepared to do it as well. That doesn’t just mean jumping on the computer and showing you’re capable of using new software. It means implementing it into the company’s day-to-day and being forced to reckon with it at the same level as your team. If the organization is implementing a new sales force automation (SFA) platform, leadership must use the SFA for forecasting, pipeline management, opportunity management and account planning.

3. Set a dateMake it clear to everybody that they really need to have a grasp on the new system by a certain date–not by setting an arbitrary deadline but by planning a meeting or event that will require everybody to be in the fold. By telling employees that next month’s meeting will require a deep dive into the new software or everybody’s feedback on the new strategy at hand, they won’t have much of a choice but to know the new procedures pretty well by that time.

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