March 18, 2008

Communicating Change!

Try to stay awake!
How to Make it Happen in 2008

How do you manage change?

A typical example of change at work is a 'reorg'. At some companies it's a semi-annual exercise, which if nothing else creates some noise, excitement and change. At the end of most reorgs, there are new teams, new leadership, new responsibilities and new objectives.

Some managers get so wrapped up in consolidating their new role/team that they neglect to communicate? Sometimes managers intentionally keep quite as they work out the details. Sometimes one just doesn't know enough to communicate.

One approach that limits the chaos and anxiety caused by change is active communication. To foster communication you have to support an open and sharing environment.

Openness encourages you to engage with all the players on your team. Remember your team is more than your direct reports. Team includes all your touch points - management, peers, customers, clients, mentors and reports. Keeping everyone updated, though time consuming is beneficial in the long run.

Sharing allows you to learn, understand and grow. If it has already been done, why reinvent it. But to learn how it is done you need to reach out to the experts. When in doubt remember this adage - 'If you are afraid to ask, you are afraid to learn'. If you are transitioning out it helps to be a good team player and help the new team come up to speed.

Sharing pertinent information with your team allows you to leverage experience, insight and ideas that lays the foundation of the new org. Communication can takes different forms, including the formal meeting, the ad-hoc meeting, the one-on-one, email messages and the informal chat.

One key to managing change is effective, frequent and active communication. So start talking!

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