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Communicate your way to success in 2017

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Communicate your way to success in 2017

To start off with, I have some questions for you.

Q1. Are you planning to implement a major procurement exercise in 2017?

Q2. Do you want that exercise to be a success?

If you answered “Yes”, then you need to read on.

Would you be shocked if I told you that more than 75% of all new procurement exercises fail to meet their end goal? Well, this is in fact what happens. And, the reason these exercises fail, is due to a lack of effective change management.

In my 6 stage Change Accelerator framework, I outline the initial stage in gaining control around the change management process is through control and governance. My article ‘Do you need a Trump card’  looks at this in further detail.

The second stage in the framework focusses on honesty in communication.

What does honesty in communication mean?

According to the English Oxford Dictionary, honesty means “telling or expressing the truth”.

I, interpret this as being open and upfront with your EVERY member of the team. In short, it is letting them know what’s happening, letting them know the reasons for the change and where possible, provide early reassurance for them.

In the above paragraph, I emphasised the word “every”. I did this because it is extremely important that every member of the team is included. All the hard work you have put into the change process so far can be wiped out with a single rumour or whisper that was started by a colleague who wasn’t fully informed. And, we all know that rumours spread quicker than wild fires! And it will take more than a fire extinguisher to put them out!

Techniques to achieve openness and honesty in communication

The end goal of open and honest communication is to build trust. This takes two forms, ensuring that all team members have trust in you, and secondly they have trust and belief in what you are saying.

The end goal of open and honest communication is to build trust. Click To Tweet

Open and honest communication is achieved when it is;

Timely

What you have to say may be difficult and not what people want to hear, but it needs saying. There is no point in putting it off and causing unnecessary uncertainty. Make a plan, set aside a specific time and make sure that all who are involved are present.

There may be times when you don’t know all the facts. Be honest with the team on this; explain what you do know at this stage and what you don’t.

Flexible

You should have a plan of what you want to say and how you will say it. However, be prepared for it to not to go as you expected. The conversation could go off on a tangent and you could be thrown off course by an unexpected comment. Be ready to move with the dialogue and deliver your message in a different way. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you get the message across.

Clear

Practice what you need to say before you address the team. The details of the proposal have to come across clearly. Avoid using business jargon. For example, phrases such as “the organisation needs to be more responsive”, or “we need to redefine the strategic staircase”. Will your audience be able to comprehend what you are saying? If not, then don’t say it.

Personal

As I mentioned earlier, people are nervous about change and find adapting to change, hard. Bear in mind, who you are communicating to and think about what concerns they will have or how they might re-act to the news.

Ideally, the message should be communicated in person, but if you have to communicate with departments in differing geographical locations, this may not be possible. Consider what alternative methods are at your disposal, such as conference calls, email, the company newsletter or the company intranet. Also, time and effort needs to be taken to tailor the message to suit each individual team.

Reciprocal

Communication is a two-way process. It involves you acting as the sender, pushing out the message to the receivers. The receivers then analyse the information held within the message and feedback their response.

Two-way communication is essential in change management process. Effective two- way communication is only achieved when both parties listen to what each other have to say.

At the beginning, make it clear that you will deliver the message and answer questions after that. This avoids interruptions, and you loosing your trail of thought.

Summary

The importance of open and honest communication cannot be understated, particularly in the concept of change management. Following the right steps to achieve honest and open communication will certainly help internal members buy-in to the change process, and go some way to alleviating their concerns and fears.

The importance of open and honest communication cannot be understated, particularly in the concept… Click To Tweet

The focus should be on the quality and consistency of the message you give, and less on the quantity. Update people as frequently as you possibly can, keep the message clear and give people opportunities to share concerns and ask questions.

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