Tips on how not to communicate change

We are quick to tell everyone how to effectively communicate change, but we are not as vocal when it comes to how NOT to communicate the change.

According to Eric Zackrison there are four approaches to avoid communicating the change:

  1. Spray and pray – This is when leaders give too much “nothing” information and expect that employees must sift through all the info and extract what they think is relevant and necessary to know. This can cause people to feel like they don’t have the information they need to embrace the change management process. This can lead to confusion whilst it leaves the employees unsatisfied and disillusioned.
  2. Uphold and Withhold approach – Leaders release zero information and forbid employees to ask questions. The employees then feel disempowered and dissatisfied and the rumour mills take over. This is not conducive to organizational goals and limits the success of the change management process.
  3. Tell and sell approach – Leaders tell the employees what they think is important and they try and convince the people of that information. You will lose the employee’s buy-in and the change process has a good chance to fail.
  4. Identify and reply approach – The leaders sit and wait for the employees to ask questions and only THEN do they reply with the information, ONLY about the questions asked. This leads to incomplete information and essential detail are then left out. Once again the rumour mills start working overtime.

One of the keys to good change management communication is having a clear plan for WHAT information gets shared to WHOM and HOW. Leaders must ask their communication managers to assist in structuring the messages to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above.

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