Communicating Change: Banquet or Bites?

One part of my work with leaders is centered around how they lead people through change.

Often, I see leaders giving their attention to planning a change initiative, with minimal consideration as to how and when they will communicate the change to those charged with implementing it.

Some leaders spend a considerable amount of time consulting with a working-party, envisioning the change they would like, constructing how it will be, then developing systems and processes to support the change. Lastly, they will tell their staff (or pseudo-facilitate staff to come to their idea) about the new way of doing things. They will sell the WHY with enthusiastic evangelism, trying to get staff ‘buy-in’. Staff who don’t buy-in are often labelled as ‘resistant’ or ‘past-it’.

Leaders need to understand that for staff who have been busy beavering-away at the coalface, this information can come as a bit of a shock. Questions such as “When will we get the time to do this?”, “Where does that fit into…?”, “Haven’t we done this before?” or “What’s the point?” often spring forth.

You see, whilst the leaders have done all the thinking behind the scenes, they haven’t made this visible to staff; let-alone engage them in the change-thinking process. The leaders (or working-party) involved know what they want and how they wish to get there, but for staff it can seemingly come from left-field.

Sure, whilst excessive consultation can lead to change-constipation; a lack of visibility and consultation can also lead to conflict.

Making your thinking and the stage at which it is ‘at’ visible to the wider staff is important.

So instead of the ‘Banquet’ approach, consider sharing “Bites” of information… little and often.

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  1. Had to laugh Mary-Anne…as I see so much of myself here….I’m a "Banquet" person…trying to retrain myself to share "Bites" of info. Lynda

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