Have you experienced major change in your life or business in 2018? Chances are, you have.
Change is one of the constants in our lives and doesn’t it feel like the faster the world changes, the more quickly the years seem to flash by?
Another constant is the need for clear communication at times of change (which, of course, is all the time). Yet, I wonder how often that actually happens.
I’ve been part of some recent major changes where communication wasn’t as clear as it could have been. That meant - right at the eleventh hour - people were only just realising something was changing and were asking why, even though the decision had been made some time back.
This week I was reminded of Jason Clarke’s Four Doors model; a simple framework for the elements of change communication that commonly get forgotten.
Tell them what we can do now and what we’ll still be able to do after the change (in other words, tell them what’s staying the same);
Remind them of what we can’t do now and what we’ll still not be able to do after the change. This helps to highlight that not everything is changing. It gives the change some perspective and can help to reduce resistance;
Tell them what we can do now and what we won’t be able to after the change. This is usually the biggest point of resistance, but if you avoid it and don’t say it up front, you’re only making matters worse. Put everything on the table so any issues can be aired and addressed;
Tell them what we can’t do now and what we will be able to do after the change. This is the exciting part, where opportunity and potential lies.
Often, those communicating about the change focus on the fourth point. The people most affected automatically go to point three. Points one and two get left out.
Including the four steps means you’re covering all bases. I’m not suggesting it will be painless; change is challenging for many people and there’s often grief and other strong emotions attached to it. Making it your intention to keep everyone as informed as possible throughout the process can certainly help.
Whatever changes 2019 holds for you, I trust they are wonderful and positive in every way.