7 trends in change communication for 2017

People have been communicating with each other for centuries, the way we communicate, however, has changed dramatically in recent years. And you can take it for granted, that we haven’t seen anything yet. The next few years will change the way we communicate even more significantly. Inspired by the hundreds of workshops that we have done in recent years with Benelux organizations, we have identified the seven key trends in change communication. That’s how you’ll get all the trump cards in your hand to make 2017 a very special year.

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1. The world is becoming more transparent, so will business.

Social media is turning the world into one big crystal ball, there’s no-where to hide anymore. Transparency has pros and cons, just like everything else in life. In what is actually a very short time span we have learnt how to handle these new forms of communication. Facebook has become a safe and familiar environment for many people that 10 years ago they had not yet experienced. If we look at the average organization, we see that this transparency is still far away. Too many executives keep their cards pressed anxiously close to their chests. However, it has been seen that co-creation and openness encourage innovation in modern organizations. Openness creates trust. In 2017, the call for more transparency in organizations will be even greater. Your competitive edge will undoubtedly become stronger because of it.

2. Social media has put the power of communication back in the hands of the people, even in organizations.

In the past an employee was someone who took orders and subsequently executed them. The client communicated in one direction and brooked no feedback. Today, nearly everyone provides commentary on world events. Communities organize themselves online so as to be able to express their dissatisfaction offline. Unfortunately, in many organizations, the new game rules still appear not to have filtered through. Internal communication now has several senders, not just management. Today, there are platforms to communicate on internally in much the same interactive manner as we do in our private lives. The passive intranet is history and emails between employees are redundant. Everyone’s potential in the organization can be fully utilized. Especially that of the new in-flow generation, that does not understand the old style of communication. 

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3. Change must come from the ground up or it does not happen at all.

We see a positive trend in the decision-making process. It still remains a management task to build a strong strategy, but you cannot build alone. This too is a combination of different talents and strengths working together. People like to help with building the plan, but only when they believe in it. If we look at an organization as a community, it then becomes logical that we involve everyone in the decision-making process. That's why strategic workshops work so well. Employees know exactly what the potential of an organization is and we see how many great ideas pop up to the surface every day. In this way, we all take ownership of the strategy, making it much easier to support. 

4. People are tired of changing, the 'why' is more important.

Change is the only constant in the world. Thank goodness; without it life would just be boring. Everybody wants to change, evolve and grow. No one wants their child to remain 6 years old forever. You want to see your child grow up and be happy. That same person wants to be involved in an organization that evolves and knows how to play the economy’s game. But nobody wants to be changed by factors beyond his influence. Therefore, the 'why' is more important today than ever before. Telling the story of change takes time and energy, as a manager you will get enormous returns by putting in the effort. People who know why change is necessary and believe in it, end up by helping to pull the cart. Pulling the cart alone is exhausting. By investing the time into telling the “why”, you will easily earn back more in the future.

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5. People want to know what the future holds for them.

Unfortunately, we still do not have a crystal ball in 2017. Perhaps it’s just as well, sometimes we are all too eager to know what our futures hold. We dream of our futures knowing that not everything will turn out as we would like it to. We especially want to know where we are in our lives. Process Communication has been a long-standing issue in our organizations. Management usually waits when communicating strategy until everything is completely clear and then expects that everyone will spontaneously support the new objectives. This type of behaviour does not happen in the outside world and so should not be expected in an organization either. Involve employees in the process, tell them what you're doing and take the fear of the unknown away. Everyone needs time to absorb change.

 

6. Strong leaders dare to leave themselves vulnerable.

The time of the all-knowing captain of industry is luckily behind us. Instead now strong leaders are open to the views of their team, even if it’s hard to hear. In the past, we had to convince a lot more boardroom members to listen to the voice from the floor. In 2017, leadership is more interested in the way we listen to employees. The leader who does dare to leave himself vulnerable, is creating a strong organization that is ready for the future.

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7. Organisaties komen in beweging.

Today, it is no longer sufficient for the entire organization to only understand the strategy, it needs to become everyone’s reality. If people are permitted to do the transition of the strategy onto the workfloor themselves, the abstract story changes and becomes their own story. Everyone prefers to write their own life story themselves. Internally, the experience is also lived more intensely if the story comes from the inside out. We will hear of a lot more co-creation stories in 2017. Only in this way, organizations can move and keep moving.

In our next blogs, we will further explain each of these 7 trends.​

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Sigmund specializes in connecting people in a changing world. Bringing people closer to their inner self through coaching and training. Bringing people closer together through workshops and by efficient communication. Sigmund has joined forces with Total Identity, offering the customer a total package from strategic communications to project implementation.