The most successful projects I have worked on in my career were the ones where leaders made a large investment in managing the impact of change on their people. These included a personal commitment by the leaders to understand the challenges the employees would be going through.
Along with a significant financial commitment, leaders invested emotionally in “engagement” communications. The purpose of engagement communications is to raise awareness, calm fears, and develop a desire for new skills and capabilities to support people emotionally during the implementation of change.
On one of these huge Information Technology (IT) transformation projects, I travelled across Canada visiting each client office as part of a travelling road show. In the morning, staff heard about the history of the project and why, what, and how the new technology was selected. In the afternoon, they received a demonstration of the new office technology system.
The road show was a terrific success on many levels. It shared information, giving people the data they needed to understand why change was necessary. It showed willingness for openness and transparency in the decision-making process, as the leaders were present answering many questions. This engaging communication process started to build trust relationships between the business functions and IT Support groups, a necessary component for engaging communication and harmonious collaboration. The roadshow presented how the new systems and processes were going to function so people could begin to understand the new expectations and how their jobs were going to change.
Above all it demonstrated to staff how much their leaders cared about them and showed the leaders’ willingness to understand the emotional impact this change would have.
As a leader, showing you care goes a very long way to building trust and a sense of belongingness with staff. It provides the opportunity for people to voice their concerns and hear what will be done to take care of them. It’s often the heart-to-heart opportunities to communicate that have the most profound effect in building trust and a strong sense of commitment. This emotional commitment will carry you through the many challenges that are sure to happen on projects.
If you are wondering how to develop engaging leadership and building trust, join our Cultural Transformation Tools workshops. Understand what it takes to create an organizational values system and workplace culture with openness, and a sense of connection. These organizations are the most successful on the planet because staff are empowered to reach their full potential.
There is nothing more powerful than a turned-on, empowered human being.
Much love from Singapore.
Global Speaker and Thought-Leader on Cultural Transformation