Unpack the "Why" & Communicate Change With Transparency

 
 

This week I am diving into a critical aspect of managing change in organizations which is to unpack the "why" and be transparent about decisions to obtain buy-in and decrease pushback.

It’s important for companies to bring people in as soon as possible when a decision is being made so they have an opportunity to learn about the changes, ask questions, voice concerns, and make valuable contributions.

Hoarding information and/or creating obviously bogus reasons for change will only accomplish insulting the intelligence of your team and are great ways to guarantee people won’t be on board and will struggle against it. Doing that fosters an environment of mistrust and destroys engagement.

I want to address two pieces of communicating change well, and why this strategic move will pay off in your favor:

Give people an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns so that the information they receive about changes comes right from leadership and not from assumptions or speculation, which are typically negative and rooted in fear.
  1. Choose Transparency

    Being transparent and intentionally obtaining buy-in means that your team will be less reluctant and less resistant, even if the changes mean big shifts to their roles. Give people an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns so that the information they receive about changes comes right from leadership and not from assumptions or speculation, which are typically negative and rooted in fear. Be inclusive and listen to them to show and reinforce that you care about them.

  2. Hey Middle Management, Don’t Sabotage the Communication

    There’s a very enticing, intoxicating opportunity, especially for middle management, to deliver the news of a change in a way that creates an “us versus them” attitude in an attempt to build solidarity with their team.

    When your boss strolls in with an eye roll and scoff and exclaims something to the effect of “We have to do this thing now,” to paint things in a negative light, why would you buy into it?

    It’s extremely detrimental and damaging, not just for the success of any changes, but for the people on the team to witness a lack of integrity like that from their manager or supervisor in trying to make themselves look good and the company look bad.

    Yes, I get it, the bigger the company the bigger the divide from ‘corporate’ and the front lines and this type of behavior is rampant in a lot of companies, but it sucks. Knock it off. I go back to my first point about transparency and bringing people along. Especially middle management so that they are also bought in and on board with what’s happening and this type of thing doesn’t happen.

It’s so important for organizations to be transparent, and to be clear, and intentional about the way that they’re communicating changes.


When people feel cared for, heard, and considered, they are far more likely to be cooperative, collaborate, and engaged with change. Change can be hard for teams, do everything in your power to make sure that everyone is moving forward together instead of having to drag people uphill.

This content was created by keynote speaker Galen Emanuele for the #shiftyestribe. Free leadership and team culture content centered on a new focus every month. Subscribe to the Shift Yes Tribe at shiftyes.com