Questions?    Just call me, Corinne (English/German) on  +49 173 1688006    ***  Virtual Tea Break ***  “Very British”


English Speaking Experts Solutions Fav Icon

Experts Speak English PODCAST

9 Change Management Communication Pitfalls to Avoid & A Resilience Tip #172

Change Management Communication:  No matter what changes, there is resistance, isn't there. Yet for employers to remain competitive, change is inevitable. If you are serious about your career, you need to be able to adapt quickly - not just as an individual, but as a leader and communicator. In this episode of Experts! Speak English, I'll share practical tips on how to future-proof your skills, connect better with your team, and lead your organization through times of uncertainty. Listen in for 9 pitfalls to avoid, no fluff.

 Hi there, it’s Coco here. No matter what changes, there is resistance, isn’t there. Yet for employers to remain competitive, change is inevitable. If you are serious about your career, you need to be able to adapt quickly – not just as an individual, but as a leader and communicator. In this episode of Experts! Speak English, I’ll share practical tips on how to future-proof your skills, connect better with your team, and lead your organization through times of uncertainty. Listen in for 9 pitfalls to avoid, no fluff.

On the other hand innovation and market leadership demands change – not for the sake of it but because the market needs and expects it. The super heroes of change management are often change consultants and interim managers, they come into an organisation amid confusion, frustration and apathy to turn things around. The key driver behind successful change management is communication so given the fact that it is Change Consultant Day today the 27th March 2024, I felt the urge to look at this head on and give you a short and simple no fluff approach to communicating effectively to navigate change management successfully from a communication and leadership perspective for English speaking experts.  

The challenges of getting everybody on board with a new structure, system or market is magnified with the size of the organisation and it’s regional scope. With every culture and economy involved, complexity increases and yet communication is often horribly neglected or haphazardly delivered. Now is not the time to get people upset so despite of – in fact – because of the emotions involved plan your communication intentionally both internally and externally. This is something you need to dedicate time and head space to, preferably as a small dynamic team, as in sensitive times, every word, gesture and tone of voice can be misinterpreted . There is no room for ambiguity and lots of room for empathy. 

If you are the one communicating then you need to remember that something that you have already known about is completely new to them, give your audience in whichever format the time and space to process what you are saying both during your announcement if you are on stage or screen or afterwards – give your talent the opportunity to discuss, ask questions and rant. 

Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change.
It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers, and business.”
 – Mark Sanborn

A Lack of Effective Communication: One of the most significant barriers is the disconnection between change leaders and those impacted by the change. Very often nothing is said at all or very very late – this is disrespectful and dangerous. If people don’t know the facts they start to speculate, gossip and exaggerate. This is bad enough within the organisation but disastrous if the journalists speak to the wrong people for instance. Think also about your suppliers and clients – what do they need to know, tell them what you can, as soon as you can.

  1. Internal communication is often viewed as secondary but this is a dangerous assumption to make and one that can derail change really   fast. Change communication needs to be clear, embracing and relevant to the needs of those listening.

    In AT Kearney’s Global Post Merger Integration survey
    58% of respondents attributed  under communication as the top problem that they encountered
    as a   part of this merger change process – not communicating enough with staff
    I’ll put a link of course in the show notes for you

    58% of post merger integration being due to under communication doesn’t surprise me,  in my corporate life in London I was at PriceWaterhouse when they merged with Coopers. I was managing a team of five early in my career and I had absoultely nothing to tell them, they wanted and expected answers and suspected I knew more than I was letting on which made me feel not only like a fool but a betrayed fool, everybody knew that a merger was imminent because it was in the press but at work it was radio silence. The leaders locked themselves away from the staff as they worked out what to do and say next whilst people feared the worse. My team were all fairly young and so they were worried about the implications that this would have on their career, young fathers were worried about redundancies and I was worried about whether I would remain a manager and I wondered who my Coopers counterparts were. We went into the weekend knowing nothing.

    When communication channels break down, misunderstandings arise, and employees may resist the change1.

  2. Insufficient Change Buy-In and Solution Support: Without there being buy-in from key stakeholders and a genuine support for the proposed solutions, resistance is likely to emerge. This is where your persuasion skills come in and your ability to put yourself in their shoes or see things from their perspective. It is not always easy to anticipate how everybody will be affected by the change so if you observe any behaviour changes then you need to invest in some two-way communication – that will help employees to make this strategic change without feeling alienated or forgotten about – that can be on the management team, on the board or a supervisor who has literally just bought a house in the existing location for instance – never assume that everybody is affected in the same way.
    Leaders must actively involve employees, address concerns, and ensure alignment with the change vision2.

  3. Limited Knowledge and Resources for Change Management: Organizations often presume that they can take care of things themselves and underestimate the significance of being able to take advantage of change management expertise. A lack of knowledge and resources can lead to poorly planned and  implemented change initiatives. The bottom line is that few organisations are constantly dealing with change so the skills and techniques needed to navigate this wild storm are unlikely to be available, in which case you need to find out if you have experienced in house experts (possibly hiding in a part time job after maternity leave for example) or hire an agency or change consultant to support you. Trying to wing this could have a dramatic and abrupt impact on your career and the success of the organisation.
    Investing in training and building change management capabilities is crucial3.

  4. Change-Resistant Culture and Attitude: Some organizational cultures, particularly conventional ones, resist change due to fear, inertia, or a simple preference for the status quo. The longer an organisation resists change the more challenging the change will be. Dynamic, innovative and agile organisations are better equipped in terms of mindset to deal with change than workforces that seek predictability. It is not without reason that the military in most countries require frequent relocations, that keeps you on your feet and their families too. Children of those families tend to be a lot more resilient than those that have never had to adapt much. In traditional industries a sudden change will be a lot more difficult to deal with than a well planned out change, with frequent, complete, honest communication during change management. Identify change agents or advocates in as many departments as possible because communication is more trustworthy coming from those that you are working with on a regular basis.
    Overcoming this barrier requires fostering a culture that embraces adaptability and continuous improvement2.

  5. Poor Communication Strategy Execution: Even with a well-defined strategy, execution matters. The delivery of your message and the implementation of processes and procedures to facilitate change will make a huge difference in terms of staff being able to understand and process what is needed. Often the person making the announcement is the most important person but the best choice of co-ordinator is one that has the energy, passion and leadership skills to really engage with the ones on the ground making it happen. When it comes to change implementation, communication is essential, not just at the time of the announcement but all the way through. It is not enough to simply announce the change, to address resistance to change you need to communicate regularly throughout the whole change process. At the end of the process a celebration as a symbol of gratitude is something that most organisations neglect as the new normal takes over.
    Inadequate communication planning, inconsistent messaging, and lack of clarity can hinder successful change implementation4.

  6. Managing Multiple Projects Simultaneously: Juggling several change initiatives at the same time, can overwhelm employees and dilute focus. It is better to roll out the change process over a longer time frame if it is to be successful and accepted. Overwhelming your workforce amid such a transition will force many of them to seek calmer working environments elsewhere or dig their feet in. Be pragmatic about what is achievable, it is better to aim for three solid, vital metrics than 21 of them. Give them the time and headspace to focus on a few key changes at a time. Preventing burnout is critical here as you will need to keep your most talented staff and your most experienced staff might not have the stamina or inclination to tolerate chaos and confusion on top of unrealistic goals and milestones. The Change Management Team needs to have systems in place to check in on how well and quickly the change is happening and enquire whether they need anything. The successful implementation of a change cannot deny emotions or exceptions, it is good to be a little bit flexible here and the less juggling there is the faster you will make progress.
    Prioritization and effective communication become critical to avoid confusion and burnout4.

  7. Identifying the Keystone Change: Focusing on the most impactful change is essential. Sometimes organizations spread their efforts too thin across various initiatives, leading to inevitably sub-optimal results. Prioritizing what to work on first is always a challenge for every change management initiative but the importance of change makes it necessary to take it step by step with enough opportunities to evaluate the effectiveness of the change periodically. If you are changing too much at once it will be difficult to evaluate which changes are having the biggest impact. The important thing is to make sure that all of the documentation including performance metrics is centrally available and transparent.
    Identifying the keystone change ensures resources are allocated strategically4.

  8. Lack of Management Buy-In: You’ve heard it a million times, I know, but leadership commitment is vital. Not just lip service but genuine support, engage in an open and honest conversation to discover what their concerns are and work together to find a solution that makes the change more appealing and logical for them. It can feel necessary where there is resistance to take a tough stance but that normally just exaggerates the problem and slows down the change process. Organizational change initiatives will make people suspicious and worried about whether they are going to lose their job, get less access to training or resources. These are all valid concerns and senior staff are well within their rights to be cautious too, after all we all know that ageism affects your chances of getting a new job, following redundancies. What you must not do is lie, just to get them on board, do not make promises you cannot keep.
    When managers don’t fully support the change or fail to model the desired behaviors, employees may perceive it as insincere or unimportant4.

  9. Engagement: Involving employees at all levels throughout the change process fosters ownership and commitment. It is tempting to focus on the management level and the white collar workers but everybody deserves to know what is going on and how it will affect them.
    Yes there will be finger pointing, swearing and raised voices.
    Yes there will be a fair deal of disgruntlement and disappointment
    Yes there will be fear and sarcasm
    Being available and accessible to everyone during the whole change management process will be time consuming, it will drain you emotionally and it will often feel like an uphill struggle but every conversation contributes to a smoother change transition – even if you cannot see it at that moment in time. It is this proximity to those that will make the change happen that will make the difference between a change that is sluggish and slow or a change that is exciting and dynamic. 
    Lack of active participation can hinder successful adoption4.


As Eisenhower once said “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head; that’s assault, not leadership.”


So treat change with the respect that is deserves,
treat your staff with the respect that they deserve
and plan your communication carefully if you want to be proud of a reputation that you deserve

A change management communication plan should not be an afterthought but an integral part of the effective change management using only the communication tools you need to authentically communicate change.

Your change management communication plan needs to be very specific and deliberate with an attention to detail, in addition to knowing who will be saying what and when, you need to think about which format will be the most effective. We all know that email is often the fastest and simplest way, but is it the way that will pick people up emotionally? The reality is that you will need a mix of communication formats so that you can deliver the right information at the right time, in the right way. This is not the time to hide behind your keyboard and hope that the change will pan out in time, but to show up as a leader with the perfect blend of authentic honest conversations and positive upbeat information and only with the right level of emotional intelligence will you know what is needed at each stage of the change process. Keep to the script but embrace questions and concerns too. It’s a balancing act but you’ve got this!

You have to think it about it
as a bit of a piggy bank or saving account
everything that you do now
to help make this change easier and smoother
will build up trust points so you will be come a more respected and  admired leader over time
even though you might not feel like that person right now in the middle of a change it will certainly pay off over time
so consistency and persistence are the name of the game here.

And last but not least…
pay attention to your mental health!
You will need a lot of resilence, because you are taking a lot of flack from a lot of people and so to be able to manage that you need to be on top of your game – getting the sleep, getting the exercise, eating healthily. Yes even when you are working long hours, you need to make this happen because you need to be a mainstay of support you need to be there for them so you need to protect yourself as well for the sake of yourself and your family.

Cocos Communication Challenge


Coco’s Communication Challenge
In the middle of change – analyse where you are doing well and where there is room for improvements. Make your own observations but also speak to a range of different people in the organisation and think about how you or your team can optimize the change management communication.

If you want to be ready to tackle change when it comes your way, I invite you to work on your resilience and establish your own resilience routine so that if you are thrust into change you are in a better situation to whether the storm, if like me you tend to eat all of the wrong things when you are under pressure, then make sure that your kitchen is full of fresh, healthy, delicious ingredients. Be intentional about resilience now so that once you need to be resilient you are in the habit of looking after yourself


Have a fabulous week and remember, be the very best communicator that you can be.
I look forward to you joining me for the next episode of “Experts! Speak English.”

Let's see if I am the right person to help

let's chat in English oder auf Deutsch