One of my favorite classes as a senior in college was Change Management. Communication was always billed as a key tool for managing widespread organizational changes, but it was always mentioned in concurrence with the actual activities. Basically-be a reporter and share everything that’s happening.
I have since learned that while that is a good plan, there’s an even better way to make things happen. It makes sense, but many people don’t think of it until it’s too late:
If you have a problem to solve, build demand for the solution before sharing it.
This allows you to develop your influence and make an impact far beyond simply communicating the effects of the change after the fact (and that’s not to mention the fun experience of communicating with difficult team members). It requires foresight and planning to pull it off, but the common problems associated with the change management process can be mitigated or eliminated if handled properly.
My own experience
I used a version of this last year when we implemented our first Applicant Tracking System. Up until that point we were using an email address and a folder system on a shared network drive to collect and store all resumes. It worked, but it was cumbersome and time-consuming to manage.
I spent some time talking with our hiring managers about their needs and dislikes with the current tracking system, and then offered to test out a low-cost tool that would allow us to bypass many of the issues we’d been experiencing. The pain points for the hiring managers were still fresh in their minds, and it was an easy sell to get them to let me set it up for us to test. After our first job opening and interview process using the new tool, everyone was sold on it being superior to the previous system.
I followed the steps, and it worked well. Find the problem, build a desire for a solution, and provide the solution that people want. Again-it’s better than waiting until after the fact and hoping for the best solution to emerge!
Anyone ever had the opportunity to use this “stealth” communication technique? What were your results?