Change Management Part Six: Talking their Language
December 20, 2012
One sure way to ensure Change Management fails is not to talk their language. Talk their language and Change Management Success is much more certain.
I often see change management fail because those having to change never really understood what it was all about. They failed to engage with the change sponsor because they didn’t speak the same language. I don’t mean literally one spoke English and the other Mandarin. I mean they didn’t share the same ethos, concerns or jargon.
Admittedly these three are totally different but all can lead to failure.
Ethos is an easy one. The senior team might well believe customer service is all important and decide to focus on it. But if the idea and rationale for it aren’t adequately shared failure is certain. For ethos to be a shared language it has to be seen to be lived by the senior team. For example if they say we should all make savings they shouldn’t then buy a company jet!
Another example of shared language is where finance talks about savings and cost efficiencies. Cost efficiencies is part of their language and if you explain your project in terms of the efficiencies to be made they will embrace it and share your change management purpose.
Sometimes you also need to speak the same technical language. Jargon is a curse if you don’t understand it but it was developed as a form of linguistic shorthand and has its place. Try talking to techies using plain English and they will lapse into techie speak and you will be at crossed purposes. So learn a few key phrase and use them in the right place and common understanding will prevail and success is much more certain.
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