Checklist for Change Messages

This checklist can be used while creating a change message. It is intended to help leaders ensure they create the highest impact message possible.

What kind of change is it?

*New Structure (i.e. Reorganizations, Layoffs, Outsourcing, Merger, New Teams)
*New Project (i.e. ERP/ Software Rollouts, Process Improvement, Innovation)
*New Leader (i.e. Succession, Merger/Acquisition, New Team Members)
*New Strategy (i.e. New Markets, New Positioning, New Products/Services)

What is the nature of the message?

*Announcing Change
*Identify what is changing and what is not
*Get clear on why the change is important to the business/team/customer/employees
*Craft a a message you can deliver in sixty seconds or less
*Responding to Questions
*List the questions you expect
*Check your answers for accuracy
*Determine who else can provide you with critical information
*Overcoming Fear
*Identify, by employee or employee group, what they are most scared of?
*See the fear from their point of view
*Decide how you will you reassure them
*For Skill
*For Emotions
*For Flexibility
*Identify Current behavior
*Set Expectations
*Support success
*Performance Problem
*Clarify the performance agreement
*Identify Current behavior
*Define the impact on change success
*Set expectations for the future
*Plan responses for Expected employee defensiveness and reactions
*Get commitment
*Handling Resistance
*Level with them
*Remember to listen
*Take a stand
*Rallying Team
*Identify members that needrallying
*Locate past experiences of success they e can relate to
*Clarify goals, roles, and standards
*Celebrate success
*Recognize people
*Optimize work processes

Prepare for delivering your message by thinking through:

*How well does the audience know the language you will be speaking?

*How well the audience knows you?

*How well they know the subject matter?

*What is in it for them to listen and take action?

*What other priorities or issues may distract them from hearing you?

*Who needs to be consulted or copied before sending a communication?

*How to ensure the message is heard as intended?

*How the message will impact the motivation level of employees?

*What balance of information, emotion, and call to action do we need?

*What, if any, other documentation is needed to supplement the message?

This was first published in our book Perfect Phrases for Communicating Change (McGraw-Hill)

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