Talking When They Should Be Walking

One of the golden rules of change management is:

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

The new expense form was explained once more, and he became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough in the good old world.

The underlying assumption is that most people resist change because they do not understand it.  If explained enough, then a resistor will realize the error of their ways, and like Scrooge, become a supporter.  There may even be a group hug.  It has been my experience that does not happen.  Ignorance of a change creates minimal, mostly automatic resistance.  The same sort when one gets a new chair (but the old one was broken in!)   Merely pushing the change along overcomes it.  The resistance is more reflex than reason.

The serious resistors understand the coming change completely.  (See Vive la Resistance!)  They have a vested interest in the status quo and no presentation, no brochure, no brilliant slogan will change that fact.

Over communicating as part of a change management strategy may even create more risk than it reduces.  One, communication consumes a lot of resources.  The more messages about a topic, the possibility of a general misunderstanding increases.  Change must be communiated clearly and concisely, but do not kill yourself.  Anybody going through the effort of digging a meataphorical foxhole will not put the shovel down.

Sometimes the communications of a change management initiative can reveal a lot more about an organization than they realize.  One company had a steam train with a bullet train bursting out of it as the symbol of their transformation effort.  The unintended message was;

We are going to do everything the same – just faster!

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