In most companies, the end of the year signals a time of change: sometimes good, most times challenging. This is the time of year when organizations are re-structured or re-aligned for the next year. Business strategies shift, partnerships change, people might lose their jobs. And if these changes are not communicated clearly and effectively by the leadership team, an entire organization can come to a halt – mired in an environment of uncertainty and speculation. A Message Cascade provides a roadmap to make sure the message flows from 50,000 feet down to ground level.
In any change communication, the top level message is delivered by a company’s chief executive. The mistake some companies make is that this is where the communications stops. One broad announcement from the company leader and everyone is expected to move forward. For true change to occur, the message has to filter down through leadership and management – each level building from the initial high level announcement with specifics that tie to the function.
Every level of communication ultimately supports the high level message.
Company CEO announces: “We are consolidating our manufacturing operations and moving them all to Iowa. This will maximize our efficiencies, save millions of dollars and improve our stock price.”
The next level of communication drives from the next level of leadership:
- Company COO addresses how operations will consolidate, what the timing of the consolidation will be, and what specific efficiencies will be realized.
- Company CFO provides investor relations analysis and savings projections.
- Human Resources leader talks to impact on employees. Will there be job losses or transfers? What new job opportunities will arise from the change?
Then the message continues to cascade down through each organization – each time reinforcing the high level message by applying it to specific functional concerns. By following a cascade, the details are delivered in a strategic, thoughtful way that reduces anxiety and provides employees with opportunities to provide input, voice concerns and speak to management.
When used correctly, a Message Cascade is a powerful communication tool that drives change and acceptance.
Author: Robin Imbesi