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Executing a strong communication strategy is essential for successful change management.

An effective communication strategy creates buy-in, eliminates frustration and  confusion, and creates awareness around an initiative. When done well, it also creates both excitement and advocates, which in-turn foster sustainability.

Unfortunately, many organizations implement change without paying attention to this essential component and the effort falls flat, struggles to survive, and often faces resistance and distrust- with employees AND customers!

"Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know." - Jim Rohn

The 5 C’s of effective change management communication address both knowledge and feeling. 20% of the C's are about what people need to know, and 80% support helping people feel good about what they know... If the change affects both internal and external audiences, be sure to utilize these 5 C’s with all stakeholders- and of course tailor the message to their needs.

5 C’s of Effective Change Management Communication:
1. COMPREHENSIVE: Messages must include:
The big picture and the “why” behind it
What it means for me and what I can expect
Where have we been? Where are we going?
What will be the impact?
2. CONSISTENT: The same messages must be shared with everyone in the organization.
3. CONTINUAL: Messages must be sent on a regular schedule so employees (and customers) know to expect them; and anticipate them. This provides a sense of comfort.
4. CUSTOMIZED: The messages are branded and embody the spirit of the organization and any new change themes.
5. CONVENIENT: Messages must be easily accessible in multiple formats and easily understood

In advertizing, the “seven times factor” it is a widely accepted standard. It suggests that a consumer has to see an ad 7 times before he/she will act on it. While audiences in our organizations are much more targeted and responsive, it is a good idea to use a similar standard to ensure proper communication and awareness, which has a direct correlation to the degree of success of any initiative.

So when in doubt, over-communicate with your team. And, an effective communications campaign can make the difference between a wildly successful change and a never-ending struggle.


For more information on change management, check out:

5 Effective Strategies for Change Management


ABOUT DONNELLY EFFECT: With over 20 years of Disney leadership experience, Mike Donnelly, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Donnelly Effect shares his insights on Talent Selection and Hiring, New Employee Orientation, Customer Experience, Workplace Culture and Leadership- among others. Donnelly Effect is home of the exclusive "World-Class Workshop" series and offers consulting services and keynote addresses to audiences of all sizes and industries. Since 2004, Mike Donnelly has been a contracted Disney Institute Facilitator, delivering Disney training to audiences across the United States.

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