Though change affects all parts of your life, when you become a leader you are often the mouthpiece for change or the instigator of it. From a leadership perspective, the real bottom line often comes down to this: How well can you communicate the change to those you wish to influence?
To address this important concern, we’ve developed 10 specific steps to help you. These steps can be a lesson plan for your growth in these areas, but, more immediately, they can be a checklist to help you with a specific situation of communicating change.
Here are the steps:
1. “Sell” change ideas . To sell change requires one- on-one, personal conversations. Remember, people choose to change based on their perceptions. So, to help them feel the dissatisfaction, see the vision, understand the steps and reduce the risk requires less PowerPoint and more conversation.
2. Help people take ownership. You must help people create their own vision of the personal benefits for the change situation.
3. Let people in on your process. One of the biggest mistakes in communicating change that leaders make is waiting too long to communicate.
4. Call it a journey. Especially if the change is big and relatively complex, help people see that this won’t be like a light switch. Let them know that the change will take time to implement, and that they will have time to learn and adjust to the changes.
5. Ask questions. Use questions to open others up and get them talking about the change. Ask questions to understand their feelings about the change. Talking openly about the change often helps people adjust more quickly.
6. Start small — build a new status quo. Help people make small changes. Advance the status quo a little bit at a time. Not only is this approach the easiest way to help people through changes, but it makes the sell easier too.
7. Ask questions. Why is this here again? Because you must ask questions to be an effective change communicator.
8. Give it words. When you can label the change, you help people grasp it and make it easier for everyone to communicate about it.
9. Celebrate progress. One way you can communicate is through celebration. Celebrate progress, not just
10. Take responsibility. As a leader, you have a responsibility for making your change happen.