When giving a talk recently to our regional conference for the American Institute of Architects, I shared how interesting our human reaction to change is to me…the irony that though it is and has been constantly part of our lives since the day we were born, people hate change.
It was then that I saw a hand shoot up in the audience, and Charlie a colleague of mine said, “I really disagree with that. I think people love change. What they hate is the process they have to go through to make the change happen.”
After reflection, I had to agree. I liken Charlie’s idea to a family vacation to the beach. We all love to go to the beach. We like the change of scenery, how it looks, the way it smells and makes us feel different from our daily life. Give me two weeks and I will want to stay there. What we don’t like is the drive to the beach – the process of getting there.
As architects, designers and facility professionals, whenever we show up change is happening and when we take on a project, even more significant change to people’s lives is about to happen. We have found that if change is collectively discussed and communicated to those most impacted by the change, EACH OPPORTUNITY for change to the physical environment is an opportunity for a positive change in the organization. Here is a simple way to think about the process of change for a better experience.
EACH change communication OPportunity needs to be…
Early– Rumor moves faster than truth. Get your message out early before misunderstanding based on fear can pick up steam.
Accurate – Accuracy is the foundation of trust and trust is essential to effective change communications
Consistent – Deliver the communication with consistent frequency, format, thematically building one on the next to create a story about the change over time.
Honest – Honest builds trust. Based on a foundation of accuracy, honest is necessary to dispel fear
Often – Small chunks of information that address specific pains that the workforce is in with a frequency that keeps the information in front of the conversation.
Open – Be accessible and create a two way dialogue so that questions can be answered as they come up. “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Work with this or your own method to help others understand the importance and need for change and EACH OPPORTUNITY will help move your organization to a higher level of satisfaction and effectiveness.