How Early Should You Communicate Change?

Clients commonly want to know when to get a change pro involved. “Is it too soon?”

The answer is always the same: “Sooner is better.”

No one likes an unwelcome surprise. It doesn’t matter how positive your change is; while some embrace it and flourish, others will see it as a threat and worry about the impact. Change always comes with unintended shock factors.

While it is possible to communicate change too early – especially in an organization where there is a lot of noise – we stlll need to give sufficient notice to let the shock play out and allow people to process and internalize a future change. By assessing a change early, we can determine how long a runway is needed for that to happen.

Kimberlee Williams from the Center for Strategy Realization explains that executives contemplate projects for a long time before they are approved. They’ve had a lot of time to process the implications of the change. Employees need the same opportunity, along with a steady supply of facts: the what, when, how, and “why it matters” for the program.

No one likes a bad surprise. Unwrap it early. Get it on their radar. Open the channels for understanding, acceptance, and adoption.

Need help? Ask me how!

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper