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.
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
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.
Where can the organization go?
Often the missing link in a change management initiative, this important insight can be derived from understanding the factors associated with how and why people and organizations ultimately shift or move to a new place.
As communications professionals, if we have learned anything over the last 15 years about transformational change it’s this: “Are we ready to change ourselves?”
So, how ready are you?
Gary Grates, president, Edelman Change, was most recently General Motors’ senior corporate communications executive for North America and global leader of internal communications, brings more than 20 years of marketing and corporate communications experience. In July 2006, he assumed the role of Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications Policy at General Motors. Prior to joining GM, Mr. Grates was chairman and president of GCI BoxenbaumGrates, a strategic communications consultancy specializing in change management and internal communications, and a unit of GCI Group, Grey Advertising’s public relations unit. He has published more than 100 articles and white papers on the strategic importance of communications in achieving business goals. During his career, Mr. Grates has counseled a number of national, multi-national and global organizations including: Caterpillar, Shell, Carrier, Novartis, Mobil, Visa International, British Airways, BellSouth, Coca-Cola, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Kerr-McGee, and Dell.
Join Grates along with Anthony D’Angelo for their co-presentation Success at Change Management: The Importance of a Well-Designed Client/Agency Relationship at the PRSA 2008 International Conference: The Point of Connection on Tuesday, October 28 in Detroit Michigan!