7 steps to Transforming an Organization - Part IV of VII

BY ICFAI - 2016-11-04

Communicating the Change Vision

The power of the change vision can be realized fully only when most people in the organization understand the goals and direction in which they are being led. A shared sense of a desirable future can motivate and coordinate actions in such way that it leads to the desired transformation in the organization.

But often the change vision is not communicated clearly. This happens because the people in the organization, who are unaware of the urgency of the change, don’t pay attention to information that clarifies the change vision. This can also happen when the guiding coalition is not coherent, and creates and sends message that describe the change vision inappropriately.

For people who are trained as managers, communicating a vision is often difficult. They normally think only in terms of their immediate subordinates and superiors, and not about the broader constituents (such as policy makers, NGO, etc) who are relevant to the vision. Managers are comfortable with routine factual communication, but not future-oriented strategizing. The communication of a change vision needs a clear sense of the problem and hoe it can be solved.  Managers tends to blame the so called limited intellectual capabilities of lower-level employees and human aversion to change for their own inability to communicate. These can be real problems. But the main problem according to Kotter is the process itself. Making employees and managers “buy” the change vision is challenging, both intellectually and emotionally. People should be ready to go beyond their vested interests and insecurities, and make sacrifices in order to be comfortable with the envisioned future. Convincing people to change in these dimensions is a difficult task.

How can one ensure clear communication of the change vision?

  1. In order to communicate the change vision well, the guiding coalition overseeing change should pay attention to the following aspects.
  2. The language used to communicate the change vision should be simple and not involve jargon. It should not leave any scope for multiple interpretation or misinterpretations.
  3. Whenever appropriate, the message should use metaphors, analogies, and examples. These can help paint a clear picture of the future for members of the organization.
  4. The change vision can be conveyed better if the guiding coalition uses multiple channels. It can take advantage of meetings both big and small, formal channels like memos, media like newspapers, and informal channels, to spread the ideas that underlie the change vision.
  5. Ideas Pertaining to the change vision don’t sink in immediately. They need consistent repetition with a view to reminding people in the organization of the ideas.
  6. The deeds and words of important people in the organization must be consistent. If the behavior of important people is not consistent with their words, it will undermine the credibility of communicatio

In case you missed it, my last post was 7 steps to Transforming an Organization part III of VII

And, if you wish to read & learn more from our blog, click here to follow our blog by subscribing the same.

Acknowledgement: Leadership & Change Management book by ICFAI

Gemba Kaizen