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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
612-978-3050

Talking About
Talking About Change

your employees aren't the only ones affected by change

Training and communication are all about change. They return your investment when your audience -- employees and colleagues, suppliers and investors, prospects and customers -- behave differently than they would have without the communication. Whether routinely spreading best practices, or responding to major changes in your business or your market, you often talk to your employees about changes in the way they work.

But do you talk to them about how to talk about those changes? With just a little effort, you can lead your employees (or your client's employees) to have better conversations with their colleagues, and with prospects, customers, suppliers, and the general public.

Better conversations start with "we". You may be asking people to supply information they have given previously; to complete new forms; to do things they have already done, from their view. When they resist or grumble, they should get a response like this: "We have come up with a better way to do this, although it is going to cause a little inconvenience as we change to the new system. But we are only changing because we believe it will be better for everyone involved."

You know that you haven't been on the receiving end of many conversations like that. More commonly, when you complain about having to change, you hear, "They put in a new system, for some reason", or "I don't know why, exactly, they just told us we have to do it this way from now on."

Customers hate hearing that stuff. And your internal customers -- other employees who are advancing the interests of the company -- hate it just as much.

"We" messages are infinitely more powerful than "they" messages when you change the way things work. To make change with as little inconvenience and disruption as possible:

  • Include the "why", the benefits of the change, in your training of employees. Make sure they understand how this is good for the organization, and ultimately good for customers as well.
  • Explicitly teach them how to talk about what's new. Plant a consistent message in the mind of every employee who deals with the change, and get managers and supervisors to reinforce that message.

Putting the "we" in new ways of doing things, through communications and training you will distribute anyway, takes almost no additional time and resources. Nearly zero investment generates a considerable return in cooperation from employees, customers, suppliers, and anyone who is touched by the change.

Surely that's an investment "we" all want to make!

© 2007 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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Exercise: Change Drivers and Training