- to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone
- to transform or convert
- the act, process, or result of changing
- a transformation or modification; alteration
Seems simple enough, right? Not by a long shot. One of the two big C’s you must be prepared to facilitate is Change (Communication is the second one). I love change. I’m not talking about change simply for the sake of change. We all know there is enough of that. I’m referring to the change that comes about once you recognize that something is missing from your processes. When you realize there is a better, more efficient way to achieve your goals, step up and make the change happen. Be a Change Agent.
Many people don’t like change and you will find individuals who resist at every step. Communicating the changes and the need for them must begin long before the new processes, roles, or systems take place. Crafting a clear message, directed at each level of your organization is key and must be consistently reinforced. When you are in the midst of a transformation, you will become focused on timelines, budgets, and deliverables. It’s easy to overlook something such as change. After all, “that ship has already sailed. There’s no way we are turning back now. They will just have to fall in line.”
This is another lesson I learned the hard way. Early in my career, I didn’t understand resistance to change. We were changing portions of our revenue planning process to be driver based and I assumed the group would accept the changes because they were told to. At the end of day, what choice did we have? Well, we had several meetings, created a new process, made the system updates to incorporate these changes, and then sent the announcement describing the new process and letting them know that it would be live with the next forecast. Oops. Let’s just say that we didn’t go live with the next forecast.
The next time around, I learned from those mistakes and found a more successful route for navigating change. I elicited the support of select individuals in different geographies (particularly important for global organizations) and departments. Not only did I choose people who were respected and well liked, but I also chose a couple of the naysayers. Oftentimes, we know one or more individuals who are going to be upset with our changes. Make them part of the solution and add them to your team. That move allowed me to get a preview of the pushback that I could expect once we announced the changes. We were able to chart a path around the upcoming roadblocks and I included those objections in my communications. I then had those team members deliver the communication, so it didn’t appear as if it was coming from the top down. This was a successful strategy.