Make Change Work, by Randy Pennington is a guidebook for communicating about change. It provides five practical questions to help craft your change messages. Pennington says people want to know:
- What is changing and what will the new way look like?
- What does it mean for what I do on a daily basis?
- Will this make a difference?
- How will success be measured?
- What is the leadership support for this change?
In a review of Pennington’s book, Carol Kinsey Gorman made an important observation: it’s not only what you say, it’s how you say it. Answering these questions is critical, and it’s equally important to deliver the message in a consistent way. Whether we’re presenting to a large group or discussing change one-on-one, our body language speaks as much as our words. Do our actions convey that we really support the change? Do people believe that our feelings match our words?
I once had a leader that was great at this. She identified a few key points about the change and delivered them consistently, regardless of the situation. Her words and actions were aligned. Because of this, people trusted her information and valued her assessment of issues related to the change. She was able to be a strong advocate for the change effort.
What is one thing you could do this month to strengthen your change communication?
Dee Anne Bonebright