now showing up as a core competency
for communicators. Senior-level communicators with 10-plus years of experience are expected to lead or play an
integral role in change management.
The following 10 steps can help
your change projects earn more than
a passing grade and support you in
achieving the business goals.
1. Engage leadership.
Clear and visible leadership is essential
to successful change. What leaders do
in support of change—more than what
they say—is the strongest communication. Leadership behaviors signal how
important a project is to an organization and the direction employees must
2. Develop a case for change.
A change program must align with the
organization’s strategy. Build a business case that cites the benefits to the
organization and engage leaders in its
3. Assess the scope.
Not every change project is the same.
Identify whether the change is urgent
or is a long-term strategic initiative. Is
it fine-tuning or overhauling? Depending on the scope, determine whether
the effort should be led by the CEO
or some other senior leader. The more
critical the change and the wider its
scope, the more top leadership should
4. Define roles.
Identify the change management spon-
sor and who is ultimately accountable
for the project. Few changes require
input from only one department.
Determine which teams need to be
part of steering committees and work-
ing groups. For larger projects, sub-
committees may be required and clear
deliverables will need to be defined.
Finally, determine how change man-
agement will be integrated alongside
5. Coach and train leadership.
Change management is a skill set, and
not all leaders are automatically comfortable or equipped to lead change.
Assess your leaders and determine what
training or coaching they need for success. Do they know how to actively, visibly and sustainably sponsor a major
change? How comfortable are they
having difficult conversations with
peers who are not stepping forward and
showing their support?
6. Identify issues and risks.
There are always barriers and challenges. Determine which leaders are
most likely to be able to mitigate or
remove these blockages. Proactively
anticipate these issues, develop a mitigation strategy and build it into your
Frequent and relevant two-way communication is essential. Early in the
project, dig into your communication toolbox to engage, involve, con-
Few changes require
input from only one
department. Determine which teams
need to be part of
and working groups.