Change as we know it is unpredictable and uncontrollable. However, you can manage the risk and outcome of any change initiative through the use of a robust communications strategy and plan.

People always want to know the particulars of change, the who, what, when, where, and how. These five things (who, what, when, where, and how) can improve the sharpness and clarity of your communications to the organization.

The lack of communication transparency can create an uncertain outcome as change strategies unfold rapidly. When building your communication strategy and plan, several critical items should be part of that plan. This way you can visualize all of the essential elements to drive a successful change outcome.

1. Make sure that the communication strategy and plan covers each aspect of the various work streams as part of the change initiative.

2. Create a communication vetting team to ensure the messaging for the organization is clean, clear, and consistent throughout the change effort.

3. Ensure your communications are targeted and crafted for a particular workgroup; example: staff workers would not receive the same targeted communication as a workgroup where the change impact is not as high.

4. Review the communication plan and strategy bi-weekly during implementation to ensure alignment with the overall change plan.

5. Align communications with the implementation process.

6. Don’t create informational gaps. As we all know, when people don’t have information to fill in the gaps, they use their own sources of organizational information (good or bad) to fill in the blanks, which creates an unbalanced understanding of the change outcomes. When people fill in the blanks with unsubstantiated information, it can create a real obstacle to successful adoption of the change by the organization.

8. Make sure communications planning is in lockstep with the organizational assessment work stream, because it provides a roadmap of the essential communications needed to drive successful change.

People clamor for information and want to know the impact that change will have to them as it occurs at uncontrollable speeds. Being proactive and putting targeted communications in front of your organization provides them with insight, facts, and mitigates risk associated with the change initiative.

Look at communications strategies and planning like buying a house; you just don’t pick up the phone, instantly get a mortgage and immediately purchase a home. It requires due diligence, planning, strategy, resources, and timing to make the purchase as stress-free as possible. When you plan ahead, and execute your strategy the likelihood of success increases.

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