24 Jul 2021
Communication – the key to successful outcomes
Good communication is a key to success in every aspect of life, including the workplace. Without effective communication a core message to your business can easily lead to misunderstanding, errors or even a disaster; all because of poor delivery or misinterpretation of the message. Making any change within a business, whether to values, processes, practices or attitudes, can be massively daunting. When that change takes place alongside an update to business systems it is, without doubt, a major challenge for all involved. But, it is a challenge that will deliver the opportunity to meet digital transformation ambitions and introduce systems that are up to the task, scalable and will interface more effectively. Change can be a large-scale undertaking that takes careful strategy and planning.
Take time to evaluate why there is a need for change and then establish what is achievable in the short and long term. Do not attempt to rush the change; ensure the entire organisation understands why there is a need and, importantly, how it affects them. Plan ahead and, if necessary, invest in the resources that are required to facilitate and support the changes.
Getting your entire staff on board with change can be overwhelming. Start at the top with attitudes, values and behaviours of senior leaders and work down. Authenticity, belief and commitment from the top down will be critical to the success of any programme for change. After all, actions speak louder than words. Ensure that you articulate a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Make sure everyone comprehends why there is a need for change and how they can support it. A clearly articulated vision will help to communicate the desired end result and demonstrate how it will benefit the overall mission of your business.
A broad brush approach to some projects can work, but don’t feel you have to change everything. If a process works then retain it, even if only to begin with. Take small steps, measure the impact of change, review and adjust the process as necessary. Listen to staff and learn from their reactions – both the good and the bad! As with the implementation of a new business system, the “big bang” approach to a project for change can be seen as a quick fix. But, the project will soon lose momentum if staff are not properly trained or do not understand the key elements of what you are aiming to achieve. The system is seen as “not up to the job”, but that is often not the case. It is simply that whilst the rush to implement may have seen a system go live in record time, only one or two people actually know how to use it and the celebrations quickly turn to disenchantment.
From the perspective of installing a new business system, it is advisable to involve end users in the project from the outset. Introducing new software to users not involved in the decision making process rarely gets a project off to a good start. Opinions on what is good (and bad) about both current and potential new software will be vital and help to ensure that your objectives in making a change are met.
Any change within a business is a great opportunity to start again; so invest both time and money wisely and use resources to their best effect.
- Plan ahead and establish what is achievable
- Understand what needs to change and why
- Ensure engagement from the top
- Establish a vision statement – but keep it simple
- Involve staff throughout – listen and learn
- Don’t rush to complete in weeks would should take months
- Take your time, but don’t lose momentum
- Build trust with your teams and let decisions be challenged
- Take any challenges on board and be prepared to review and adjust
- Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Article originally published on London Loves Business July 2021.