Everything I learned about change management, I learned in journalism school. You may be asking yourself what writing and editing have to do with change management—and I admit, I didn’t necessarily think change management was in my future when I took Magazine Editing 101 as a journalism student nearly two decades ago.
Change management is a process of defining, managing, and successfully implementing changes and shifts within an organization that ultimately affect people. Whether it’s developing a communications strategy, implementing a new marketing campaign that requires stakeholder buy-in, or overseeing a major website redesign project, change is the name of the game.
Successfully and smoothly leading an organization from point A to point B can be tricky—but it’s certainly possible. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we can pivot. Here is what my experience as a professional journalist has taught me about successful change management:
- Be curious and ask questions. Like a reporter investigating the 5Ws (who, what, when, and why), change management requires deep curiosity to understand the problem and identify a solution. Ask the hard questions to understand why change is needed. Is a process broken? Is a goal not being met? Are people not being trained effectively? Is there a communication breakdown between leadership and staff?
- Do your research. Dig deep to find background information, understand the context, and identify pain points. Conduct interviews with multiple stakeholders to gather information from every angle to pull together a big-picture overview. Analyze qualitative and quantitative data from internal and external resources to build toward a solution.
- Build a base of trust and transparency. Change management is about developing trust and connecting to your people as you help them adapt to change. To achieve long-lasting change, putting people at the center of change management and being transparent about your methods and goals is critical.
- Communicate clearly. Journalism taught me to avoid jargon and distill complex ideas and information in easy-to-understand ways to reach my audience. Communicating about change to stakeholders requires clear messaging that helps them navigate complexity. It’s our job as communicators to articulate the message of change to help manage it.
Do you need to pivot your business or make a strategic change? Contact us