In our last post, my PRSA 2008 International Conference session co-presenter, Tony D’Angelo, posited that most change initiatives fail for a variety of reasons.  As Tony stated, the seeds of failure are actually planted very early in the process and then take root when the communications, management practices, strategy, and leadership direction fail to produce something new or different.  Certainly a challenging balancing act to say the least, but the real telltale sign that a change management program will either succeed or fail actually rests with the counsel and approach communications professionals provide at the outset.

From the beginning, communicators need to address three operating principles in order to begin organizing thinking, rationalizing roles, and respecting the fluidity of any change effort.

  1. Where is the organization now?
    Comprehending the current state – both from a business/competitive standpoint and also from a people standpoint – provides a baseline for entering any change initiative
  2. Where does the organization want to go?
    Articulating the “ideal” state from a performance, customer satisfaction, and reputational perspective begins to shape the goals and measures necessary to guide decisions, actions, and communications.

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