The importance of building an aligned change narrative

By Destinations Coaching

23 Feb 2023

Helen Wheeler 26

One of the ways that you can help a change implemented in your organisation be successful is making sure you have an aligned change narrative.

Why is a change narrative important?

An effective change narrative creates a shared understanding of the past, an explanation for the change planned today and a projection for the future. It explains the what and why clearly and connects employees to the organisation's larger mission and strategy.

Aligned- What do we mean by this?

You may have had experience where there were different versions you heard about a change – different people or emails gave different messages -contradictions or inconsistent messages and timings.  This can create negative feelings -suspicion, mistrust, resentment and create a distraction.

Whereas when there is an aligned narrative  - the same message at the same time can help stakeholders stay focussed on the right vision and the right goals.

No change should be unexpected for the stakeholders. - Keep this in your mind during all stages of the change process – for all stakeholders not just those you think need to know. An effective communication plan and regular consistent narrative should in theory prevent this from happening but it’s still helpful to remind yourself of this point because when unexpected change happens, most people automatically frame it as a problem.

Their negative reaction to the changes is fuelled by fears, resentment, cynicism, and resistance. The natural tendency is to worry, and to complain and vent to anyone who is experiencing the same feelings and reactions. It doesn't take long for the negative effects of anticipated problems to spread through the organisation and take its toll on morale and productivity.

You can help prevent this by ensuring change is expected by your stakeholders and there is an aligned change narrative throughout the process.

Top Tips for implementing change:-

Make sure you plan the alignment of the communication.  What is the most effective medium to communicate this? How will you get the message to people on leave or otherwise occupied?
During a period of change, communication must improve and not just be business as usual especially if there is inter-departmental change. This doesn’t only relate to downstream communication - as in the message from higher up the chain but communication at all levels up, down and across. What tools are in place for effective communication in all directions?
Sometimes during transition things don’t work as well as they used before the change, so stakeholders need to work together to fine tune these and ensure that balls aren’t dropped. Teamwork needs to improve during transition so that everyone is pulling in the same direction. To retain productivity and staff morale, teamwork is vital – I’d even go as far as to say it is the glue that holds the business together. What can be done to make sure the team work as one?
Remember the change narrative needs to shift thinking away from negative attitudes and direction towards positive opportunities and outcomes.
If this has been useful take a look at our April workshop in Preston on embracing inevitable change – limited tickets available on Eventbrite

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/539204915417

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