Yesterday, I indicated there are negative consequences associated with failing to contrast the new with the old. Whether change leaders' obscurative behaviors occur as acts of commission or omission, these consequences are not trivial.
- Whether intended or unintended, the competence or credibility (or both) of the change leader(s) can be damaged severely and the confidence and cooperation of people eroded if communications imply a change is something less than or different than what it really is. People know. Regardless of how reality is packaged, sooner or later people will realize communications were unclear - and possibly misleading. Whether real or perceived, the days of "fool me twice" are long gone.
- As people seek to make sense of a situation, they will adopt emerging stories that make some sense to them rather than accept an information vacuum. Ultimately reality vacuums get filled with hearsay and rumor that make it more difficult for people to accept real change than if associated contrasts of a proposed change had been made clear at the outset.
- Change is invariably dynamic; taking on a life of its own. If contrasts are unclear, change leaders can quickly find themselves having to work through unanticipated complexities and crises, needing to accept changes they never intended or expected, and dealing with unnecessary wounds, inflicted upon others or experienced in themselves.
Now how can this be done? Check in over the next few days as we consider how to identify and articulate change-related contrasts.