At netlogx one of our core practices is Organizational Change Management, which is just one of the ways we help organizations manage change from the top down. Being agents of positive change, at all levels of an enterprise, is challenging. One of the biggest obstacles is the difference in communication methods across an organization. Processes, priorities, channels of communication, and authority can be siloed within different departments or levels. Being able to manage the change that touches everyone typically comes with the above nuances.
A Major Change Requires a Comprehensive Strategy
netlogx was recently a subcontractor with a company taking over managed IT services for the City of Indianapolis/Marion County, and we were specifically tasked with the creation and facilitation of an internal communication plan. A communication plan is a comprehensive strategy designed to prioritize and schedule different types of communication that specifically relate to the change at hand. Depending on the scope of the change, these plans relate to everyone in the enterprise from the CEO through the rest of the organization.
A comprehensive communication plan is a great tool that every organization should have in place. That said, any solid organizational change strategy should begin by gaining an understanding of that client’s readiness for the change ahead of them.
It’s possible that an organization is in good shape to manage the change they are about to implement, and as consultants, the best thing we can do in that situation is validate their approach. This is exactly what we were able to do with the City of Indianapolis/ Marion County.
When we first got on-boarded to the project we were unsure of the organizational readiness to communicate such a large change. Through requirements solicitation and project planning meetings with the prime vendor, we were able to determine a rough plan for communication which essentially informed the enterprise that their day-to-day lives would continue uninterrupted.
This, however, is not always the case. For us to be effective in the event that the City/County was not in good shape for the change, we needed to have a plan that broke down “change impact” by business area and by end-user. This level of granular detail can seem mind-boggling when you deal with 40,000 end-users.
Why Selecting Leaders of the Change is Important
One of the valuable elements of a communication plan is the identification of “Change Champions” who will advocate the change and communicate it to each and every end-user. Examples of this type of role can include system administrators, department heads, and team leads.
Once a thorough communication plan is created, it will be provided to the business users for execution. Utilizing client end-users as the champions of change and the drivers of the communication helps alleviate fear and resistance to the change. The more organic a change initiative can be, the better.
The role of the consultant at this point is to monitor and facilitate the plan from the top to empower the end-users to drive the change themselves. This inspires stakeholder buy-in at all levels of the organization, especially when the communication highlights need-to-know information that’s easy to understand
If you start your OCM effort with a communication plan that addresses all the elements and opportunities for clear feedback, your project will already be off to a great start. No communication plan is created equal, and the exciting part for us as consultants is the ability to walk in the footsteps of our clients to understand what they need, and how it needs to be delivered.