For many companies today, change is the agenda. For some,
like AT&T, change was ordained. For others, it's a
mandate driven by a changing marketplace. But for most,
change is a strategy. Corporations are adopting proactive
strategies, anticipating change, not merely participating in
it, but responding and leading.
The forces of change are myriad; government, technology,
competition, customers, etc. Internally, change is driven by
corporate leaders with vision, goals, and strategies who
desire both improvements in corporate performance and the
transformation of the enterprise for continued long term
In our experience, successful corporate mission and
change programs utilize the unique abilities of a
communication program as one of the catalysts for change
throughout the organization. The meetings and presentations
bring people together to share a common, unifying purpose.
They create memorable, motivational, bonding experiences.
In the hands of a dynamic leadership team, communications
can be a powerful instrument in transforming an
organization's priorities, behavior and performance. If
developed and implemented professionally, a program of
strategic communications can focus the human resources of
the entire company and energize a critical mass of employees
There are several basic communication formats, or
strategies, we've developed for these special programs; the
Cascade, the Big Event and Infusion. Results are highly
visible in terms of a dramatically improved internal climate
and in terms of organizational performance.
The bottom-line. . . a winning organization.
Communications professionals can make a vital
contribution by recognizing the communication need as it is
forming and providing leadership in that time of
opportunity. They can give shape and purpose to the entire
ENERGIZING CHANGE - STARTING WITH THE POWER OF
We Believe .....
- People possess a great capacity for creativity and
energy, which can be directed toward either supporting
change or resisting it.
- Organizations can be rapidly revitalized or
transformed by positively energizing employees toward a
compelling new vision.
- Transformational leadership is most effective when
senior management is committed to achieve change through
existing employees rather than through replacements.
- Transformational leaders can most effectively
implement change by focusing, energizing and reinforcing
employee behavior through an integrated,
multi-disciplinary approach using company-wide Change
Communications as a driving force -- supported by
training and development, team problem-solving and
reward and recognition programs.
- Organizations are complex, open systems with
interdependent parts. To be effective, planned change
efforts must be comprehensive and
"organization-wide" in scope, incorporating
the principles of Change Psychology.
WHY SOME ATTEMPTS TO EFFECT CHANGE FAIL
- Trying to change behavior by mandate instead of by
modifying beliefs, perceptions and attitudes
- Management vision is not meaningful or motivational
- Potential resistance of all stakeholders is not
sufficiently evaluated or recognized
- Lack of employee incentive and participation
- No overall plan and change strategies
- Weak launch vehicle fails to create imperative for
change and necessary team spirit
- Tentative trial and error implementation approach
- Insufficient management commitment and poor ongoing
- Inadequate training for managers and employees
- Failure to track results and give recognition for
WHY SOME ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE SUCCEED
In recent years, more and more companies have been widely
recognized for accomplishing dramatic shifts in behavior and
Our study of these efforts has lead us to identify ten
common characteristics of successful change efforts:
- Driven by a Transformational Leader Highly Visible
- Compelling Vision Clear and Easy to Communicate
- Focused on Being the Best Winning
- Sense of Urgency Quick Implementation
- Large Scale Effort Company-wide Change
- People, Not Paper Driven High Employee Participation
- Team Spirit "Get On or Get Off"
- High Recognition Individual and Group Champions
- Problem, Not Program Driven Work Out Details Along
- Built on Existing Strengths Retained and Refused
Some of Company Tradition
ENERGIZING CHANGE BY MOTIVATING PEOPLE:
There are two important reasons why the Energizing Change
Process works when other approaches frequently fail.
- Energizing Change recognizes that to really change
behavior in a lasting way it is necessary to create
internal motivation by changing employee beliefs,
perceptions and attitudes.
- Energizing Change is a multidimensional approach for
CHANGING BEHAVIOR...THROUGH INTERNAL MOTIVATION
Achieving new performance goals requires new behavior on
the part of people, both as individuals and as interacting
groups. Behavioral change can be accomplished two ways...
through external and/or internal means. The Energizing
Change Process emphasizes the internal, but pragmatically
also incorporates some external aspects.
Externally driven change tends to be easy to effect in
the short run but difficult and increasingly expensive to
sustain in the long run. External means include coercive
approaches, such as applying new rules, procedures, close
supervision, and manipulative approaches, such as giving
bonuses, perks, etc. as extrinsic rewards.
Internally driven change requires more up front
investment in time and energy, but much less ongoing cost
and effort to sustain it. Internal motivation comes from
intrinsic rewards such as feelings of achievement,
recognition and growth.
It is a powerful, self-generating motivation that is
created through building employee understanding, agreement
and commitment to new ideas and goals.
The Energizing Change Process works not by lighting a
fire under people but by lighting a fire inside them. It
creates in people the ability and desire to do new things
not because they have to, but because they want to.
The process rapidly changes employee beliefs,
perceptions, attitudes and behaviors through:
- Focusing people on what needs to be done and why
- Energizing a critical mass of people to
- Reinforcing accomplishments to sustain change
Energizing Change Process--Moves People:
- From their "Current Performance State" and
existing knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and
- To a new "Desired Performance State" with
new knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and behaviors
1. Focusing - Providing direction and leadership
2. Energizing - Gaining understanding, agreement
- Catalytic Communications
- Education and Training
- Participation and Team Building
- Visible Management Action
- On-Going Feedback
3. Reinforcing - Building on-going commitment
- On-Going Communications
- Revised Reward Systems
- Evaluation of Results
- Individual and Group Recognition Programs
Management provides direction and leadership
using clearly articulated vision and strategy statements.
Powerful Change Communications are used to gain
understanding and agreement and to be the catalyst for
initial action. Training, employee participation, management
actions and ongoing feedback support this. After change has
been initiated, ongoing commitment is built over time
through continuing communication programs, revisions of
reward systems to reinforce the new direction, evaluation of
performance results and heavy emphasis on individual and
group recognition .
MULTI-DIMENSIONAL APPROACH... THE POWERFUL
The process does not try to solve complex problems with a
single disciplinary approach. It is a multi-dimensional
approach incorporating corporate communications, human
resource management, motivational psychology and
The Process is driven by Change Communications, a unique
series of strategically designed employee meetings and
events and related print, video, e-mail, intranet and
collateral materials combined with the principles of
However, powerful communications alone do not create
sustained change. They must be carefully combined with
appropriate training, employee participation, recognition,
and reward and management actions.
A PRACTICAL STEP-BY-STEP APPROACH
Breaking the process into distinct operating stages is
the most effective way to manage a comprehensive change
program. All the focusing, energizing and reinforcing
elements of the process are brought into action through a
- Top Management - Leadership and Commitment
- All Managers - Behaving as Described In Each Stage
- Missionary Change Champion
- Visible Top Management Leadership
- Enthusiastic Management Participation
- On-Going Modeling and Commitment
- Revitalized Vision and Action
Research, Assessment and Measurement Are On-Going
Throughout the 5 Stages.
The Five Steps:
1 ) Planning for change involves analyzing the various
stakeholders, anticipating resisting forces, articulating
the mission, developing a set of change plans and designing
a measurement and evaluation program. A change management
team is selected and delegated responsibility to direct the
2 ) Initiating is accomplished through an appropriate
Change Communications program that gains understanding and
agreement and motivates employees to action. Designated
change leaders are trained to lead unit efforts. Additional
management training is conducted, if necessary, to assist
all managers in understanding the psychology of change and
in developing leadership and team building skills.
3) Installing is the process of implementing the change.
Ongoing communication is important while management makes
the required structural, staffing and systems modifications.
Employee participation and problem solving task forces are
utilized to generate ideas and work out program details.
Recognition and support is given to implementation leaders.
4.) Sustaining the change is accomplished through
providing individual and group recognition for
accomplishment and getting the human resource systems
aligned with the new corporate mission. Reward and
recognition programs are revised and employee selection,
orientation and training programs are changed to support new
values and goals. Ongoing evaluation of results and periodic
accomplishment reports to the organization are key to
building company-wide commitment.
5) Building involves trying to reach higher levels of
effectiveness once the basic changes have been sustained for
some period of time. The overall change plan is reviewed,
focusing statements and other materials are revised, and a
new major communications program is launched. This is the
beginning of another cycle in the change process.
The five-step process can become a continuing progression
for ongoing change each time the cycle is repeated.
Ongoing change is effected in stages, not in a linear
manner. People cannot be continuously exposed to new change
ideas and objectives. Instead, they should be permitted
enough time to learn and practice one set of new ideas and
behaviors, and be recognized for their achievements, before
new levels of change are presented.
Ongoing change is really a spiraling process where each
cycle builds on the previous ones, but in distinct stages.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CHANGE
How Change Communications Moves
The real power of the process comes from how Change
Psychology is incorporated into every aspect. Each element
is an integral means to the end of changing behavior.
The process by which individuals arrive at behavioral
change involves a critical sequence of psychological stages.
Positive mental and emotional responses to the change must
be generated to create desired action and results.
However, people are generally resistant to change.
Negative responses can easily result from things like lack
of understanding and agreement, concern for self-interest,
resentment and fear.
If the psychological stages do not occur in the proper
sequence and if potential resistance is not anticipated and
directly addressed, then change is impeded. The process
achieves positive results in an accelerated manner by
overcoming resistance throughout its process of focusing...
energizing... and reinforcing.
- Current Picture and Vision
- Mental and Emotional Actions Producing Results
- New Picture and Vision
People and the organization moving, transforming
- Understanding - I understand
- Agreement -I agree
- Motivation - I want to
- Confidence - I can do
- Commitment - I will do
- Action - I am trying &
- Results - I am succeeding
- Growth - I am
only begin with a clear understanding of what is to be
changed and why. Employees must fully comprehend what the
company seeks to do and be able to relate it to themselves.
They must also understand the urgency. We accomplish this by
helping management articulate and communicate clear and
consistent messages that create both dissatisfaction with
the past and a compelling vision of the possible future.
understanding must come agreement. The process provides the
strategies and persuasive support mechanisms by which
understanding is converted to agreement. The convincing
presentation of the imperatives for change, coupled with
open, two-way communication and small group discussions
facilitate the process.
sharing your corporate mission, employees must feel
motivation to achieve it. The process accomplishes this by
clearly showing the employee what's in it for him or her how
their individual efforts can make a difference, and how they
will be rewarded and recognized for it.
It is quite
possible for an employee to agree with your goals and want
to achieve them but feel what is expected is beyond their
abilities. We can help provide employee training techniques
and development programs that overcome employee insecurity
and build employee confidence. Identifying existing role
models also can help.
the conscious decision to do what until now has only been
pondered. It is built through group interaction and
feedback... creating awareness that others also are
committed to action. The sense of not being alone helps
reduce perceived risk as well as provides positive peer
"I am doing
embarked upon change often at considerable extra effort it
is important that the employee gain a sense of adventure and
learning from their new direction. Through continued
communication with the employee about new ideas and examples
of individual accomplishments, the process helps to
reinforce the excitement of personal growth.
getting results "
line for you and the employee is results. By continually
publicizing, recognizing and rewarding employees for the
results they are achieving, you create organization heroes
and role models. In this manner results beget results.
ready for more challenge"
and successfully adapted to the initial change, employees
are capable of handling new dimensions of the change
program. Goals can be reviewed and new performance targets
set. Winning at change, they are ready for further growth.
planned and implemented, a change program can become the
mechanism by which employees not only effect the changes
sought but also learns, grows and releases hitherto untapped
energies and abilities.
Communications is a powerful, strategically designed
communications program built around a unique series of
employee meetings and events and related print, video,
e-mail, Intranet and collateral materials.
implemented company-wide utilizing participatory, team
building agenda designs and managers at all levels as
Communications is the principle vehicle for executive
leaders to share their vision, create understanding and
agreement, and mobilize a critical mass of committed
employees to action. For many companies, Change
Communications is also used to generate a "one
company" team spirit.
Communications meeting agendas are specifically designed to
implement the Change Psychology process assuring that an
optimum number of employees company-wide will commit
themselves to the program as it proceeds.
combination of Change Communications and Change Psychology
creates an extraordinarily powerful core vehicle to energize
change throughout an organization.
two primary Change Communications strategies
strategies are used to generate a powerful, memorable,
shared "family" experience in which employees
identify with the organization and its mission, become
confident of the organization's strength and ability to
achieve its goals and commit to enthusiastically support and
achieve the goals.
covered is what people want and need to know:
imperatives for change
vision, strategies and values of the future
plan for implementation
impact on their individual circumstances
strategy is utilized when senior management's objective is
to create change in an orderly sequence, rolling out the
program level by level throughout the organization
worldwide, creating a powerful momentum for change and
incorporating the vast majority of employees' participation.
Cascade approach consists of two phases
Phase I -
Initial Management Conferences
is launched with a senior management conference at which the
CEO and senior staff:
the imperatives for change and an overview of the new
vision, mission, strategies, values, etc.;
participation in seminars, workshops and informal
discussion, gain understanding and agreement, deal with
resistance and build confidence and commitment among the
- Motivate a
management network of "champions for change";
managers' understanding of the Change Psychology Process
and skills in change management to enable them to lead
their people through the change process;
- Generate a
management "esprit" among the mangers for
their new leadership mission.
communications program itself is a model of the new
desired attitudes, style and behavior.
Phase II - Employee
Meetings - THE COMPANY-WIDE ROLLOUT
Communications meetings are conducted throughout the company
on a worldwide basis to incorporate everyone into the
mission program beginning at the division or group level and
ending at area or functional levels.
Psychology agendas and employee participation techniques are
utilized to create ownership and motivation. Employees are
asked to make a difference, to offer their ideas and to work
together to create plans on how to achieve their mission.
The object is to initiate action plans doable immediately.
doing things differently and doing new things. Change has
THE BIG EVENT STRATEGY
The Big Event
strategy is utilized when an urgent change in attitude is
required in a majority of the organization at the same time
and/or action is required of everyone at the same time.
utilize powerful, high quality media. They are dynamic,
dramatic and exciting.
Big Event Pattern
A Big Event
may take the form of a company-wide teleconference in sixty
countries, a 5,000-person presentation at Radio City or an
employee gathering at a local convention center or hotel
ballroom. The entire corporate family participates in this
larger than life experience.
Mini-Cascade - Manager-led Communications - An Essential
Big Event, it is imperative that employee meetings, or a
Mini-Cascade, be conducted throughout the company
immediately to translate and clarify the Big Event messages
into specific plans and actions at operating levels
throughout the organization and to channel employee
enthusiasm and high spirits toward productive expression.
Prior to a
Big Event, it is essential that the follow through program
be committed to, planned, produced and ready to go so as not
to lose the employee's enthusiasm and sense of momentum. If
a substantial lapse of time between the big event and the
follow through does occur, not only will the momentum be
lost, but also the entire program's credibility can come
Intranet Updates, Publications, Videos, PC Software And
play an important roll in the change program. Their mission
is to extend, expand, clarify and reinforce the messages and
themes built into the meetings. In addition, a dedicated
daily Intranet program update channel with a feedback loop
should be put in place to keep everyone current on changing
situations and address people's questions and concerns.
Special new mission publications and videos may also be
created to focus exclusively on the program.
and videos are especially useful for providing recognition,
establishing new role models for success and creating
credibility and a sense of momentum for the program
following the initial employee meetings.
stimulate and build esprit company-wide, a Spirit Program is
built around the theme of the mission program utilizing a
variety of collateral, promotion and motivation materials
and programs such as posters, stationary, mugs, buttons,
your Return On Communications Investment
community, shareholders, customers, suppliers, local
communities and other external groups all have important
stakes in the corporation's future and its success.
executive presentations created for the employee
communications program; speeches, slides, video, printed
materials, network and software programs, etc. communicate
the company's new direction, strategies, strengths, and
presentations can serve as the core of a multitude of events
to enhance shareholder loyalty and the corporation's
stature, strengthen its stock price, help sell products and
services, recruit new employees, facilitate communications
in acquisition efforts, enhance supplier relationships, etc.
It is a broad, flexible communications resource.
Communications - Key Leadership Role
initial launch communications, the program shifts into an
on-going mode with managers at all levels taking a
leadership role as primary communications resources, coaches
and motivators. This often requires special training and
development of managers to fulfill these roles effectively.
Such training should be built into the design of the overall
strategic combination of print, video, software; Intranet,
extranet and Internet communications; recognition events,
frequent manager-led team and one-on-one meetings, managers
at all levels take the lead in clarifying information,
coaching and motivating people. In this way, the mission's
momentum and focus is reinforced and sustained.
RECOGNITION AND REWARDS
compensation, rewards and recognition programs centered on
motivating individual performance to achieve the new
corporate strategies are developed and introduced into the
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
provided to assure that qualified people in the company with
ability and desire can develop the new skills and experience
required for them to continue to meaningfully contribute to
the achievement of the new strategies.