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Visible Leadership and Communicating Change

Change isn’t easy. Many times, managers and supervisors are asked to lead changes that were determined at higher levels of the organization. In effect, the manager must communicate changes that are not their change. This can contribute to an information “vacuum” or even misinformation which further complicates the challenges of “leading from the middle”.

What results is an ineffective approach to communicating and leading change. Managers either take on a “resigned” approach implying that matters are out of their control, or they become inappropriately assertive with subordinates who may be questioning or resisting the change. Either way, it is a “lose-lose” proposition both for the manager and staff. Furthermore, the likelihood of change success is lessened.

Of all the ingredients necessary for change success, communications is the number one factor which determines the likelihood of change success. Managers and other change leaders struggle with how to communicate difficult change news in a way that is credible, transparent, and builds the trust and engagement of others.

This course focuses on two aspects of change communications:

  1. Communicating to teams or groups where there are polarized viewpoints on the merits of the change. Participants will learn a four-step methodology to plan and then deliver compelling change communications. This 4-step model will then be applied to actual changes occurring in the client’s workplace
  2. Communicating one-on-one to a key stakeholder or employee who is resistant to the change, but whose support is needed for the change to sustain. Participants will learn a process (P.O.D.S) to plan, open, and then hold a difficult conversation about the change.

The course is ideal for supervisors, managers, senior executives, and project leaders who must ensure the successful implementation of workplace change projects, goals, and initiatives.

Key Learning Objectives:

By the end of this one day training program, participants will have learned:

  • How to engage and motivate others while ensuring change objectives and targets are achieved
  • How to effectively work with employee “resistance” in helping employees become more committed to the change
  • How to communicate difficult change news through the use of a 4-box influencing model that fosters understanding, trust, and collaboration.
  • How to work with the 4 stages of “transition” that all employees experience during times of change
  • How to hold a “difficult conversation” where the commitment of a key stakeholder or employee is needed
  • The application of course learning to actual workplace changes that participants may be experiencing

Course Outline:
Module 1 – Understanding Change and Transition

  • Participant introductions – Actual Workplace Challenges and Learning Needs
  • Understanding Transition
  • What People Need and How to Respond
  • Public Sector Case: Part One – Change at the local Hospital
  • Debrief of case, part one

Module 2 – Communicating for Commitment – Building Trust and Understanding

  • Strategic Communications (4-Box Model)
  • Small Groups apply the 4-box model to real workplace change challenges
  • Presentation and debrief of Group Work
  • Key Learning and applications to workplace change issues

Module 3 – Holding a “Difficult Conversation” / One-on-one Change Communications

  • Preparing for a “difficult conversation”
  • How to Open effectively
  • Listening for Understanding
  • Engaging in Level III Dialogue
  • Application of PODS process to public sector case – Change at City Hall
  • Debrief of learning from case

Module 4 – Holding a “Difficult Conversation” – Take Two!

  • Practice exercise: Giving Difficult News / Role play
  • Debrief of role play
  • Key learning and applications / Course ends

Method of Instruction:

The course is taught using on adult learning principles. The instructor uses a variety of exercises, cases, and actual workplace scenarios to ensure job relevance. Public sector cases, including a municipal case / role play are used.