Communication, change, and your mission — if you choose to accept it

Toby Elwin Blog, Communication, Organization Behavior 0 Comments

Change is fun for some:  the energy of the unknown, the passion instilled in people looking forward to a new adventure.  Some embrace the unknown as an opportunity to both learn, grow, and stretch their current perspectives.

Change is pain for some:  the feigned excitement for heading into unknown, the new roles and responsibilities to learn.  And having lived through so many failures that all began with the same patterned enthusiasm many can’t be bothered and opt-out.

Which side of the fence are you on?  Which side of the fence is your team on?  Which side of the fence is your organization on?

The Communication Mission

Regardless of the fun for some, there is a distinctly important group of people who need a bit more assurance that this time things are different, that this time you and your executives are not seemingly shooting from the hip, that this time you and the organization will see it through, that this time what you say will be delivered as expected.

Change requires a whole lot of communicating.  A main cause of change resistance is the resistance to enter, with confidence, into the unknown.  Think about this in your personal life, would you plunge into an effort where you had no idea what the end-game meant or looked like?  Now multiply that feeling horizontally and vertically through your organization.

If you believe you know what the end state is, are you confident your organization is equally confident?

To address this sense of aimless drift comes when you build your mission, vision, and values into your communication DNA.  When communicating change, if you are not completely and absolutely aligning change to your organization mission, your vision, and your core values, you’ve more than likely lost the war, let alone all the battles.

Mapping what you say you will do to these quality criteria for all the organization does takes your mission, vision, and core values from the 2 dimensional to the 3 dimensional.

As much as a strategic plan is improved through the value chain of goals, objectives, and actions.  Your communication, let alone your change portfolio, should undergo a distinct effort to align to the value of your mission, vision, and core values.

Mission Impossible

A lot of missions plainly stink.  Too many organization missions are built by people who believe their position alone shows them to be far smarter than their organization.  These self-appointed organization Mensa members take it upon themselves to design their version of the mission as the only logical option.

These stewards of the future then bring back their mission, vision, and core values and impart it to the organization … magnets anyone?  This misses more than just a few principles needed for successful change and adoption.  Just as you can crowdsource your organization strategy, you can crowdsource your mission, vision, and values, if you really care about organization alignment.

A further benefit of mapping communication to mission, vision, and values is the ability to let you and your organization realize if your mission, vision, and values are worth the ink used to print them.

There is no quicker way to decouple your organization than the revelation of a an organization with a wildly loose herd of change projects that are disjointed, malnourished, or walking dead.

  • Couple projects to your mission, vision, and values.
  • Link them.
  • Cull them.
  • Align them.
  • Tether them.
  • Reposition them or retire them.

Make the case for change alignment through communication’s alignment to mission, vision, and values along the project life cycle.

The Vision for Value

The effort to communicate change aligned to mission will seem hokey at first.  It will seem forced.  Just as starting any exercise always starts with a bit of stretching and a bit of pain, this effort needs a learning curve before it proves its value.  But there is no doubt through a commitment to aligning these the value is realized.  Your mission will move from magnets to common business dialogue.

Communicating is a critical component to differentiate from getting it done to getting it accomplished.

A distinct benefit is the chance to involve more of your organization in developing the mission, vision, and values together.  An organization of people who opt-in is certainly a preferred workplace to one of people who opt-out.

Poor communication is a symptom, not the disease.

The goal of communication, change, and your mission is transparency.

No doubt I got some things wrong, or left out some important ideas. Please let me know what you think and suggestions you have for me to add value.

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