Any time we make changes in our organizations, from a platform change in software to a strategic change in marketing, we need to Connect the Dots for all our staff by answering these five questions.*
Why are we changing? As a leader, we always want to be proactive in answering the Why. Our staff need the context for why the decision was made – not just what the decision was. The answer is not just an explanation of the problem with the current reality. It also needs to share the replacement picture: What will the future look like when the decision is implemented fully?
What’s In It For Me? It is simply human nature for our staff to want to know how this decision will make their life better. Change requires us to get out of our old comfort zone and it takes energy to create the new comfort zone. The WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) is the energy that will fuel the effort to establish new routines and habits.
Specifically, what do you expect me to do differently? Clear expectations are essential to hold people accountable. This question goes beyond just expectations, but also to the idea of what is different. What do you want the staff to stop doing and what do you want them to start doing?
What tools and support will you give me? This question has two main objectives. First, the leader needs to think about the tools and support that will make the change successful. Second, we want to make explicit what support each staff member can rely on through the transition. The answer to this question demonstrates interdependence within the organization to ensure success.
How will I be measured? Feedback is essential so that our staff can self-correct towards the new outcome. In that way, measurement should not be seen or presented as a threat. Rather, it is a means for everyone to know when they are on track and when they need to adjust to get back on track. Publish measures that help them see how the overall process is tracking as well as the effect of their individual roles and responsibilities.
As you work through your communication strategy, realize that there is an overall set of answers for the organization. However, as you cascade the communication throughout the organization, it needs to be clarified to the specific roles. This full set of answers aligns the organization around the new initiative by Connecting the Dots.
*These five questions were developed by Larry Taylor.