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The ability to effectively communicate change to those you influence is a critical leadership skill.

Change affects many aspects of the lives of the people involved, and it can be met with enthusiasm, concern, or resistance. Here is an 8-step checklist to help you communicate change:

1. Have one-on-one conversations

People need to understand the change and won’t get that from impersonal digital presentations or emails. Selling the change requires personal, one-on-one conversations that positively change people’s perceptions.

2. Guide people to take ownership

For people to accept change, they need to create their own vision of how the change will benefit them personally. Help them see how the change can have a positive effect on them.

3. Involve people early on in the process

Change is hardest for people when they are taken by surprise. By involving them as early as possible, they can handle it and get used to the idea before the change is implemented. This is a common mistake made by many leaders who fear that letting people in too soon may cause panic, particularly if the change doesn’t push through. However, people are more accepting of change when they feel invested; they feel invested when they are involved.

4. Help people see change as a journey

Some changes are so complex that people may worry about being able to adapt to it. Change may require training or a new set of rules people must abide by.

Assure them that adequate time will be given to implementing the change and that they are not expected to learn everything instantly. Change comes in many forms, and as a leader, you need to communicate to them that it is a journey that you are all on together.

5. Invite conversation

Ask questions throughout the entire process.

Ask people how they feel. By asking the right questions, you get people to open up so that you better understand their feelings about the change. Let them express their apprehensions. When people are encouraged to talk about change, they start to see and accept the bigger picture quickly.

By asking questions, those affected by the change feel that their voices matter, leading them to be assured that their interests were considered before the change was decided.

6. Label the change

Don’t let the change be a vague thing that people cannot describe. Give it a name so that people can easily communicate with one another what it is. Labeling it allows people to grasp it and understand it.

7. Celebrate progress

Change is a journey with many milestones to achieve along the way. To keep the ball rolling, you need to recognize the achievements as you take the steps towards fully integrating the change. By celebrating progress, you stay on track, and people start to ease into the change better.

8. Be accountable for the change

Not all change could lead to success; as with all things, risk is involved. Whatever the outcome, take responsibility for the change and ensure it happens.

Organizational change and executive leadership challenges are difficult, to say the least. For this very reason, Inscape Consulting offers confidential, professional executive coaching to guide you through the process of change and help you attain your personal and professional goals. Connect with me, and I may be able to offer you some concepts in strategic leadership to help you ease your team through change.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734