Communication is central to the work of change management professionals. Understanding the format, audience and messaging is critical – especially when the audience is leaders responsible for the change initiative.
Elizabeth Buscher is a change management professional that has supported transformation projects across sectors. To demonstrate the importance of the people side of change to key leaders, she strives to align messaging to the language that is ubiquitous to them.
“If you package change management language in terms of risks to the project, it is language that resonates with business leaders,” says Elizabeth, adding that language framed around resistance to change may be more foreign to project-focused leaders.
“Risk is something that leaders will try to solve for. It is a subtle shift in the vernacular, but resistance is a risk so let’s call it what it is.”
These subtle shifts in language are simple on paper, but they offer an additional strategy to align leaders and advocate for appropriate resourcing for change management.
“A change manager is ineffective unless they have leadership support, so use words and concepts that resonate with leaders,” Elizabeth recommends. Her experience in training development, communications and coaching have contributed to an understanding of the pain points and motivations of business leaders – which are integral to her change projects today.
“Leaders understand risk and will do whatever they can to avoid risks, whether financial or related to people.”
Elizabeth describes a strength of LaMarsh Global’s change management methodology, Managed Change, is its relevancy to modern business.
She attended the Managed Change Practitioner Certification Workshop to add another perspective to her breadth of knowledge. As an experienced change manager, the core of Managed Change was familiar to her.
“The biggest surprise to me during the workshop was the fact that it is in line with the pains of a business,” describes Elizabeth. “There's alignment to what actual leaders pay attention to.”
Incorporating business language can contribute to buy-in from key leaders, she notes. Business leaders are keenly aware of risks from a processes and systems perspective, so the traditional language of change management is less tangible.
Employees are the ones that are critical to the future success
of the organization,” Elizabeth says. “Managed Change starts a conversation that the people side of change can be a risk.
And when any risk is present that will prevent or limit success, it needs to be addressed at some point.
“One way or another, you're investing time in the risk – either before or after. You can do it proactively or reactively, and doing it reactively is often not the best way.”
Elizabeth appreciates how the Managed Change methodology includes tools – such as an assessment on organizational culture and heatmaps to display the impacts of concurrent changes – that are designed to be immediately applicable in real-life initiatives and framed in terms recognizable to leaders.
For change professionals with a skillset relevant to organizational change, the Managed Change Practitioner Certification Workshop connects theory to the challenges and opportunities of contemporary business.
“When you look at what it takes to be a good transformation or a change manager, it's a good combination of communication skills, coaching skills, courage, problem-solving, and the abilities to mentor and identify what you need to do to help people.” ■