Spend more money on internal comms, change and transformation

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LONDON — There are strange signs that come out of the markets every few weeks:

Consumer spending up!

Employee engagement up!

House prices fall less than expected!

And we are not too sure what to do with these conflicting pieces of information. So, the papers bury them behind the crossword. Or someone wheels out a suit to say “it’s not what it seems.”

The truth seems to be that we don’t really know what is going on in this market and we don’t know how it will affect our business and organisations in the medium or long term.

However, there are a few things that we do know for sure. And maybe our minds and media haven’t been concentrating enough on facts recently. Let me try a few of these on you:

The most adaptable organisations will be the most successful in the new world.

Good people will drive companies forward.

How you treat people now affects how they behave in the future.

Hopefully none of that is revolutionary? Or too controversial? There are certainly some sociologists and behaviour theorists who would have a good old debate about the last one. But if you think about the friends and enemies you made in primary school… and how you think about them now… it’s not hard to believe that experience colours judgment and behaviour.

And that is the simplest argument I can think of for working harder to keep people informed about changes in your business. Telling them what you know, and what you don’t.

It’s also a solid reason to manage your ‘change programmes’ better — with a greater emphasis on people and communications. You know you have change programmes going on right now. I can’t imagine a business in the world that doesn’t.

And finally you must understand what kind of transformation your business is going through. That could be the sum of some of the change programmes. It could be externally driven, like in banking and transportation (trains, planes, automobiles). But your business is transforming, and you need people to be able to do something about that.

The really clever businesses are doing this. (We know who they are!) But too many organisations are not.

“Oh, we’ll tidy that up when we get out of this mess,” leaders and managers are saying.

But they can’t. The horse will have bolted then.

Focus. Patience. A minimal, but concerted amount of action, and you’ll be much, much better off.


P.S. Our change course and Round Table are both running next week. See below for more details. Or contact us.

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