David Malicoat
David Malicoat

Times of significant change can cause stress, loss of productivity, and discontent within any organization, particularly in IT. Outsourcing, insourcing, mergers, and acquisitions can all create obstacles that prevent leaders from concentrating on accomplishing their goals. In order to overcome these problems, IT leaders need to have robust plans in place to harness the full power of their organization. One of the most important components of any plan for change is good communication. Without consistent, pointed messaging and patient listening, any changes will suffer from much greater pushback and create far more problems. One can never go astray by embracing and executing effectively on the fundamentals of organizational change.

How to communicate more effectively

IT leaders’ efforts during periods of transition should be focused on keeping everyone on the same page in terms of goals, processes, and what the changes mean. Everyone within the organization should have a clear understanding of what their new role will be, and what the future will look like. This requires clear and consistent communication from IT leaders.

Increase communication frequency – In this day of hyper transformation, changes happen rapidly, with shifting outcomes and expectations. Most leaders don’t communicate with their team often enough during these times. By keeping more constant contact with employees and communicating effectively, you can help assuage any doubts or uncertainty that the team may be having and keep everyone positively contributing towards the collective goal.

Improve communication quality – It’s not enough to simply flood your team with messages. The communication has to be both more frequent, and more importantly, more meaningful. Make memos, meetings, and other outreaches succinct and take extra time to cover the topics that employees need and want to know about. Of particular importance is a focus on how the changes will affect each individual and what their role in making it happen will be. This can both help improve team morale and keep employees focused on the organization’s mission.

Don’t overcommunicate – Although regular, high quality communication is key during periods of transition, it is still possible to overdo it. Make sure all of your communications have real value to the recipients. Don’t communicate just for the sake of communication. Too much can bog down employees and water down the messaging.

Listen – Another component to good communication is listening. Leaders must pay careful attention to how the changes are affecting their team. The leader must also be sensitive to what problems are arising, and listen for any suggestions that might make the process go more smoothly. This means taking time to get feedback from a wide variety of sources, including colleagues, business unit leaders, and individual contributors.

Maintaining high quality, frequent communication during periods of transition can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that it can mean the difference between success and failure. With more robust and consistent messaging, IT leaders can help keep their team happy and focused on their mission. The result is an organization that owns your message and uses it as the foundation of their daily hard work.

David Malicoat
CISSP

David has over 20 years of experience with IT service delivery, with a track record in transformation and transition, IT cost optimization, sourcing, global operations, vendor management, strategy implementation, and data center migrations. He develops inventive opportunities for leveraging IT, in order to improve operational excellence and create competitive advantage.

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