• Krista Schaber-Chan

Change Enablement through Effective Communications

Transparent and Engaging Communications for Change Enablement

We often consider communications as a separate pillar within change methodologies. But the truth is, we need to consider communications at every phase of a change initiative. The reason? You cannot enable people for their change journey or expect engagement without being transparent about what is happening. When we disconnect communications from the phases, we lose the true value.

Let us start by looking at the difference between communication and communications. In the organizational context, the key difference between them is that communication focuses on the message itself, whereas communications studies how organizations and their people deliver these messages. To put things into perspective, think about how COVID has impacted elementary schools. Ontario's education system has experienced a lot of change. People are still navigating the transition from in-person classes to hybrid to fully remote learning. With all of these critical decisions, educators and families need to know what is happening to succeed. That is where both communication and communications demonstrate its most significant impact. Without the school boards providing transparency towards the decisions they are making or delivering this information through trusted channels, families would be confused or resistant to any changes. This same concept applies to organizational change; communication and communications are necessary to keep people informed, engaged, and accountable in an organization's change journey. People need to know why the change is happening, what is in it for them, and how it impacts their role to accept it. Today, we're focusing on effective communications and how it can be applied to help you reach the right people, at the right time, in the right way. Change can be intimidating for many people, and effective communications helps facilitate the uncertainty people experience during transformations.

Achieving Effective Communications

While communication involves sending and receiving messages, effective communications is more than just a single event or an exchange of information. Effective communications drives engagement, impacts change adoption, and builds personal accountability, which is essential to enabling your people for change. When done correctly, communications planning should reach the right people, at the right time, the right way. This means understanding your audience, crafting a message that resonates with them, choosing an optimal delivery method, and executing it when appropriate. Different organizations and changes will almost always have different requirements. So, it is important to ask yourselves these simple questions: