Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP and Susanna Way MBCS look at step four in the Kotter eight step process of successful change.

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!

About the Kotter 8 step process of successful change

About the authors

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.