Communicate the vision for buy-in

In the fifth of a series of joint posts Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP and Susanna Way MBCS look at the Kotter eight step process of successful change. Step 4: Communicate the vision for buy-in.

Some people don’t recognise the fire until it’s licking at their boots but L&D professionals are adept at making abstract concepts and strategies real, so they can both help people to ‘feel the heat’ and realise their part in carrying the water to extinguish the flames. 

The heat is uncomfortable, providing the dissatisfaction necessary for Gleicher’s formula so the first steps they need to make to extinguish the flames - what will be done when and by whom - are an essential element of the communication.

Finally, a clear vision of what the world will look like when the fire’s out will give the full picture. This can be in big picture terms but also needs to be at ‘ways of working’ level. Technologists often think in linear, structured ways that the people who are impacted by change rarely do. 

Once again, L&D can provide the bridge between the two when communicating and gaining acceptance of your vision for the future. 

Communicate outside of the guiding team so that as many people as possible understand:

  • Why a change is needed (Why the Urgency)
  • What we want to achieve (The Vision)
  • How we expect to get there (The Strategy)

The art of effective communication (because art it is), requires planning - and may require a variety of channels. The communication process can only be considered as complete once the audience has understood the message. So checking that communication is understood is an excellent idea.

Remember also that different people absorb information in different manners. Some prefer to listen, some prefer to read whilst some prefer to imagine a metaphor.

Effective communication will therefore stand more chance of effective absorption if it is planned and incorporates different types of communication.

Remember it can be good to talk!

For more information on the Kotter 8 step process of successful change visit the website.

Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP is Chair of The BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group - the only professional body solely dedicated to supporting L&D professionals working in IT.

Susanna Way MBCS CITP is also a member of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and has a special interest in extending our online presence and engaging more closely with our members.

The BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group comprises members with many years of experience in implementing successful IT- enabled business change and we organise a programme of regular face to face and online meetings. Meetings are usually free to join and open to anyone interested in L&D whether as a practitioner or a colleague.  If you are interested in engaging with the Group or in discussing ideas for working with L&D in IT-enabled business change, visit our page

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About the author
Jooli Atkins (FBCS, CITP) has been involved in the IT profession for the past 25 years, mainly in Learning and Development. She is the Chair of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and CITP assessor as well as being an accredited SFIA consultant, specialising in Business Change.

See all posts by Jooli Atkins

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