By Megan Lueders, Vice President Global Marketing, Lifesize
As John F Kennedy once famously said, change is the law of life. However true that may be, change can also be scary. We take comfort in the familiar, in the normal, in the everyday, while the exotic and the new often thrill and terrify in equal measure.
Nowhere is change more frequently resisted than in the enterprise. Large organisations, generally conservative by nature, tend to stick with what they know and what has served them in the past. With billions of dollars and thousands of jobs on the line, it’s no wonder that organisational inertia sometimes sets in. If the structures and culture in place have been successful in the past, it’s difficult to convince people to move away from them.
But like it or not, change is inevitable, and when significant changes need to take place within an organisation, communication is perhaps the single-most important factor for success. For changes to take effect, they first and foremost have to be bought into by everyone within the company, from the CEO down. Inclusiveness is absolutely key. If people feel excluded from the process, the project will fail before it even has a chance to get off the ground, so it’s crucial to involve all stakeholders from the outset.
How to do this will of course vary from one company to another. Brainstorms or company surveys can be good ways to gauge how open and enthusiastic staff are towards changes being introduced. Away days can be the perfect opportunity to get staff feedback in a non-office environment, where they feel they can be more open. Regardless of the methods used, making staff a part of the process and communicating with them clearly is paramount.
Once the initial consultation phase has been completed, and decisions are made, communication becomes no less important. Where a vacuum of information exists, rumours will thrive, and panic can take hold. Video can be a fantastic tool in this situation, allowing messages to be communicated globally to all branches of the organisation at the same time. A big advantage video has over email or even an audio call is that the message is far less likely to be misinterpreted. It’s vital to be clear about goals and strategies when communicating organisational change, and video has the power to connect above and beyond what can be achieved with text alone.
When implementing change, it’s not just practices and systems that need to transform, it’s mindsets, too. If you’re operating across national borders and multiple time-zones, it can be difficult to get your message out to your desired audience, so finding ways to connect can be imperative. Short of sending a team of executives jetting across the world to communicate face-to-face, video is the tool best suited to disseminating that message, with the added benefit that it can be done virtually instantly. When workforces are consulted and kept informed of big decisions, they’ll ultimately adapt to change quicker and continue helping to make your business a success.