Effective communication is at the heart of successful business change, creating awareness and understanding about the change. Change programmes must incorporate a clear approach to communication which is strongly linked to their engagement with stakeholders. A Communications Plan should be produced which shows how information will be distributed and received by all stakeholders involved in the change programme. It identifies the means, medium, messages and frequency of communication between different stakeholders. It is used to establish and manage on-going communications throughout a programme. It is important that the communication is proactive and consistent to reinforce key messages.
“Effective change communication is at the heart of successful change, it acts like the blood in our bodies, but instead of supplying vital oxygen and nutrients, communication supplies information and motivation to the impacted stakeholders”
~ Peter F Gallagher
Communications planning is the process of determining the information and communication needs of the change programme stakeholders. It should answer the questions; who needs what information, when they need it, how it will be given to them, and by whom. Communication requirements should be clearly defined to facilitate the transfer of information from the change team to the various stakeholders in a format that meet their needs. It should be in the frame of reference of the target audience. The plan should be tailored to build trust but also manage resistance across stakeholder groups and sustain energy throughout the change lifecycle. A good communication plan can prevent resistance growth and support speedy change adoption. Initial communication considerations should at a minimum include the key elements depicted above.
Stakeholder Information Needs is part of the Communicate the Change and the fifth step of the a2B Change Management Framework® (a2BCMF®).
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