The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.
1. The supervisory level in your business is like a Sergeant Major.
An Army depends on its Sergeant Majors and they determine its success in battle. Similarly, your business depends on your “Sergeant Majors”, your supervisors. They “run” your business and determine its success.
2. Do your change programs treat Supervisors with the respect they deserve?
Do you bypass them and interact directly with “their troops”. Or do you first win them over to supporting the change initiative and then let them win over and prepare their teams? Using the way they always manage their teams: mutual trust. Who do their troops trust more: Senior Executives or their Sergeant Major during times of uncertainty?
3. Do You communicate directly with your Supervisors?
Or do the change messages get filtered by middle management? How many layers do the change messages need to pass through before they reach the critical front line workers?
1. Assess each change initiative. Do your supervisors have a central role in the shaping of the change solution and in the preparation of the workforce for the change?
2. Sketch out the channel Do you and the change team deal directly with your supervisors? Line managers should support the communications but not own it.
3. Review the communications messages sent to date. Are the messages about the change relevant to each worker at a personal, micro level? Do they answer the critical WIIFM – what’s in it for me? Or are they generic, corporate gibberish that alienate your work force?
“Communicating Change” by TJ Larkin
“Leading Change” by John Kotter
“Our Iceberg is Melting” by John Kotter