Merge's Blog

Some unconventional advice for leading change in your organization

My previous instalment in my video series on leading change focused on the importance of communicating why.  Today’s tip also has to do with communication.  I call it “feed the grapevine”.

Feed the grapevine

Way back in leading change strategy #1, I talked about involving employees early on in the change process, and I mentioned the existence of one of the most efficient, if not necessarily effective, communication channels that exists in organizations – the company grapevine.  Whether or not the information in the grapevine is correct, its transmission is very prompt and immediate.  And in the absence of correct information from the leadership team, invariably, the grapevine contains the worst possible scenario.  Which is a recipe for disaster.  Because once the worst possible version gets into the grapevine, as you likely know, it takes on a life of its own.  The grapevine quickly morphs into the rumour mill.  And the only way to manage this phenomenon known as the rumour mill is to feed it … with good information.

So leading change effectively should include feeding the grapevine.  Even if you have already told your people everything you know, repeat it, and repeat it again.  Do this even if nothing has changed since the last time, because in the absence of any current information, people make things up.

Partial information is better than no information

It is far better to disseminate even partial information than no information at all.  It is okay to say, I don’t have all the information yet, but here’s what I know, and it could change, but here’s what I know.  It is well-known that the grapevine, the rumour mill, is going to go crazy anyway, so why not feed it so that it is based on at least partially correct information than no information at all?  So share what you know, freely and openly, even if it isn’t complete or finalized.  Feed the grapevine.

If there is one piece of advice around leading change that I get the greatest amount of resistance to, it’s this one.  So I’m keen to hear what you think?  Good or bad idea? Yeah or nay?  Please share your thoughts.

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