Monthly Archives: May 2016

Change is personal

I have worked with many change experts over the years, collaborating to bring effective communication practices to their differing methodologies.


I especially remember a man who visited our organization with his entourage every few months. He projected authority and conducted direct conversations with our executive team about “alignment” and “accountability.”


Early on, I read his introductory book on change and found some value in it. In particular, my wife and I were having a minor disagreement about how to handle a situation with our daughter. I used an idea from the book to help me approach it with her more constructively, and I decided to share the experience.



By | May 24th, 2016|change communications, change management|0 Comments

The conflict inherent to change

You may at some point have seen a version of the Change Acceptance curve. People process change in very similar ways along a path that, when it works, takes them from status quo levels of satisfaction through denial, resistance, exploration, hope and commitment.


Interestingly, this maps pretty neatly to the stages of grief: denial & isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. One useful filter for change management is to view it as a way to help people move through their grief about why things cannot “be like they always were before.”


By | May 19th, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Three ways to help employees accept the next big change

Lack of employee acceptance is a main reason for the failure of many company initiatives. Leaders can generate a lot of electricity at the corporate power plant, but if the “power lines” to employees are broken, your energy will not translate to action or results.


What good is a brilliant strategy that never comes to fruition? What is the real cost of failed or forced implementations in terms of employee morale and institutional inertia when the next big initiative comes around?


Four reasons the “burning platform” gets change wrong

The burning platform has a storied place in the jargon of change management. The idea of creating urgency has been prominent in the literature, beginning with John Kotter’s seminal work, Leading Change.


Some prefer to frame urgency up as “eliminating complacency” or “unwavering leadership commitment,” but the basic premise remains: to make big changes you have to give employees a stark picture of the current situation.


By | May 13th, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Tactical and strategic employee communications

Successful communicators evaluate and synthesize company communications so that employees trust the messages they are hearing, have shared purpose and confidence in what they need to do and feel progress toward clear goals.


If you can imagine the company that attains to these ideals in their workforce — mutual trust, shared purpose, clarity of prioritized goals, confidence in action — then you can see the full strategic potential in your communication function.


So how does that translate to the actions and behaviors of communicators? What does it look like in the workplace?


What does strategic communications mean? From bricks to cathedrals

There’s an old story about the building of a cathedral. The patron who has largely funded construction has asked for a tour of the building site, and the architect and foreman gladly oblige her.


On the appointed day, she arrives to be greeted by the pair, who promptly take her to where the work is being done. They encounter three brick masons over the course of the day, and the patron is greatly struck by the range of their attitudes and the quality of their work.