Communication is key to successful change management

How do you feel about change?

We’re all living through a period of rapid change the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

It’s challenging and can be uncomfortable. But it also presents opportunities.

Change comes in different ways. Sometimes it’s forced on you. Sometimes you recognise the need for change and take the initiative.

Communication is key to successful change management and the one thing that will be crucial to the success of any new practices, policies or procedures in your organisation.

Adapt and evaluate

In the case of the Covid-19 crisis change has come in waves, each requiring a different approach and mindset.

In the initial phase we all did what we had to do to adapt – working from home, socially distancing, paying more attention to hand-washing and changing their way we shop.

With lockdown restrictions lifting we’re changing again, with many organisations returning to operation with new practices.

With the initial panic and confusion behind us, we’ve now arrived at a place where we can evaluate the changes we’ve made and decide how to move forward.

Making temporary changes permanent

A recent survey revealed that 91% of people don’t want life to return to the way it was before lockdown.

That’s an amazing mandate for change and a chance to take decisive action to improve our lives.

If we’re going to get this right, strong and effective communication is vital.

Many organisations think they’re communicating when they tell their staff and customers what they’re doing.

But communication is about listening as well as speaking. It’s about fostering the right dialogue with the right people and taking on board what people have to say.

That doesn’t happen by accident.

Communicating well – and, therefore, effective change management – hinges on establishing who you need to communicate with, understanding their point of view, and knowing how their interests interact with those of other parties.

This is the basis of stakeholder analysis.

People, not ‘stakeholders’

‘Stakeholders’ always seems like one of those bureaucratic buzzwords, and that can act as a barrier to spending time thinking about the effectiveness and impact of the way you communicate.

So let’s not think of them as stakeholders, and lets call them what they are. People. People with hopes, fears, commitments, and concerns.

Who are the people who will be affected by the change that’s taking place?

Will they be affected positively or negatively?

Will what’s happening have a large or small effect on them?

Taking the time to understand the individuals and groups who will be impacted by change is crucial.

Put yourself in their shoes. Who will be most interested in the change that’s happening, and why? Who is in a position to enable or disrupt progress?

Do this work before communication starts and you’ll be one step closer to success.

Communicating about communication

A big change many organisations are currently facing is the adjustment to our working lives that has arisen from the Covid-19 crisis.

Will we ever go back to working the way we used to, and if not how are we going to interact with each other within teams and organisations?

Many organisations will have some work do around this – an occasion we need to communicate effectively about how we’re going to communicate in the future.

Getting this right means happy, productive organisations filled with people motivated by having had an input into the future of their life and work.

  • Let Rosebank Media support through these uncertain times with change management consultancy services geared towards making your communication hit the mark in these challenging times. Get in touch to find out more.

What Sir Isaac Newton can teach us about building a successful public relations strategy

World-famous scientist Sir Isaac Newton changed the way we think about physics when he published his Laws of Motion way back in 1687.

And if you apply these famous laws to promoting your business, they can change the way you think about that too…

First Law

Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it

Is your business moving in the right direction? Is it moving at all?

Newton’s Laws tell us that if you want to get your business moving or change the way it’s heading you’ll need to apply a force to make that happen.

If your organisation is in a state of ‘uniform motion’ it will stay that way unless you do something to change it.

That might mean introducing a new product or service, or changing what you do to meet the needs of your customers.

And whatever you do, it will mean changing the way you communicate with your audience. Developing a strong public relations strategy will help you to harness the ‘external forces’ of the media, digital communications channels and word of mouth to get you moving in the right direction and at the right speed.

Second Law

Force equals mass times acceleration

Having decided you need to get out of your ‘state of uniform motion’, the next question is how are you going to do it?

In this case let’s think of the ‘mass’ as your key message. It might something small that’s only of interest to a select few, or it might be something huge that everyone will be talking about.

Good public relations is all about knowing how to craft that message and then applying the right amount of ‘acceleration’ by choosing the appropriate communication methods to propel the ‘mass’ towards your audience.

The more powerful the message and the broader your audience the more force you’ll be able to apply to achieving the change in direction you’re looking for.

Third Law

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

In life as in physics, every action you make will get a reaction of some kind, but sometimes it might not be the reaction you want.

Strong, empathetic public relations will help you to ensure that the actions you take get the reaction you’re looking for.

Public relations is the art of using persuasion to change people’s behaviour. It’s about working out what reaction you’re looking for and then choosing a range of actions that will meet your goal.

Newton’s Third Law tells us that doing nothing isn’t an option. If you want to change the direction you’re heading in or the speed you’re travelling, action is needed.

  • If your organisation is in a state of uniform motion, Rosebank Media can help to get you moving in the right direction. Contact us to find out how we can help you turn your actions into positive reactions.

The end of office life as we know it?

What if those temporary working-from-home measures introduced to deal with the Covid-19 crisis become permanent?

Businesses everywhere are now asking the same questions. Do we really need everyone in the office every day? Do we really need that huge office building?

Many employees and organisations have been forced by this crisis to prove to themselves that they can continue to perform without physically going into an office.

And many of us are realising the potential for our quality of life and work-life balance to improve as we emerge from the pandemic.

No more daily commute. No more fighting for space in the communal fridge. More time to spend with family and friends. More flexibility in our working hours. Less traffic on the roads. Less pollution in the air.

Sounds great right?

But this permanent change in the way we work is going to mean permanent changes in the way we communicate within organisations.

Too much or too little?

In the last few weeks I’ve spoken with numerous people who are finding their internal communications haven’t been able to cope with the pace of change we’ve been all been experiencing.

I’ve also seen some excellent examples of organisations and individual leaders getting it right.

Some organisations have suffered from lack of communication, while others are communicating so much there’s no time to get any actual work done.

There’s no single solution that will address these challenges. The best solution for one organisation won’t work for another. There are so many variables to consider, including:

  • Requirements of your service or industry
  • The skillsets of of your leaders, managers and teams
  • The technology and resources available
  • The existing organisational culture (and the culture you want to establish)

Planning for life after the crisis

Those who have made a success of this huge change have taken a considered and reflective approach to their communications.

By now, many organisations will have settled into a new way of doing things that was arrived at hurriedly and out of necessity.

The next challenge may be re-engaging with team-members returning from furlough and only now adapting to working from home.

Looking ahead, you might be thinking about how you’re going to foster team spirit among groups of people who only rarely meet in person and integrate new staff members into established teams.

So now’s the time to critically assess what you’ve been doing. Then you’ll be ready to plan improvements that will keep your organisation thriving as temporary homeworking becomes a permanent way of life.

We can help. Get in touch with Rosebank Media, here support you as you review your internal communications and prepare for a new way of working.

Pulling together as a business community as the lockdown lifts

As we anticipate the announcement of the first easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions this weekend, many businesses can begin to look forward to starting the process of resuming their operations.

But with social distancing likely to be the norm for the foreseeable future, changes to the way we do business seem inevitable. 

And although staying apart socially is going to be vital in the coming months, pulling closer together as a business community is going to be key to our recovery.

Whether you’re a long-established business or a new start-up, the next few months are going to throw some challenges at all of us.

Rosebank Media launched at the start of this year, just in time to be caught up in a global crisis. The future may be uncertain for all of us, but there are things we can all do ensure the region bounces back in the months and years ahead.

Build your network

Getting to know more people in the local business community is something useful we can all be doing now and as things develop in the coming months. Now’s a great time to make a conscious effort to expand your network and build connections that form the basis of future collaborations.

Spend locally

It won’t always be possible, but look out for opportunities to spend locally. Supporting local businesses, both in your personal and work spending, will be a great way of helping our region’s business community. And the more local businesses you support, the more opportunities you have to expand your network. Bonus!

Look out for each other

Building a strong business community is about more than the bottom line – it’s about thinking about a bigger picture that encourages everyone to thrive. So think about how you can help your contacts by referring business to them when you can – that’s a favour that’s likely to be repaid.

  • If you’re in need of support with public relations and marketing as the lockdown lifts, drop us a line and let us know how Rosebank Media can help.
  • Make Rosebank Media part of your network! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Now’s the time to plan your post-lockdown communications

When will the lockdown end? When will we start the process of returning to normal operation? Will things ever return to the way they were?

Unfortunately no one knows the answer to these questions right now. 

But that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting plans in place for when things start to become clearer.

Chances are that in the next few weeks we’ll start to see the first lifting of some of the restrictions that we’re currently living under.

Eventually that’s going to mean businesses and charities resuming operations. And when that happens you’re going to want people to know about it.

So now’s the time to start getting those plans in place, not just for resuming operations but also for communicating with your target audience.

The level of uncertainty means planning everything to the last detail might not be the right approach.

Instead, focus on getting an outline in place that gives you a structure to work with while offering enough flexibility to adapt to circumstances.

  • What are your key messages?
  • Who are you aiming to communicate with?
  • What methods of communication will you use?

Invest some time in working out the answers to those questions, and you’ll be ready when the time comes to get back to business.

Internal communications has never been more important – or more challenging

Changes in our working lives caused by the Covid-19 crisis have created significant communications challenges for organisations of all sizes.

The rapid move from business as usual to home working has forced us all make changes, but there’s more to quality internal communications than moving all your meetings to Zoom.

This week I spoke with a friend who holds a senior role at a major international company. He told me that since moving to home working the number of conference calls he has been invited to has got out of control. Monthly catch-ups have become weekly. Weekly catch-ups have become daily. Daily office chats have become phone calls at all hours. As a result, he said, he was finding it hard to carve out the time to actually do his work.

So how do we ensure that we communicate effectively without impacting productivity or harming the wellbeing of our colleagues?

There’s no single answer to getting this right, and specific strategies and communication tools will vary from organisation to organisation.

Here are our three top tips for getting your internal communications right during this challenging period.

Get the balance right

Over-communication can be as counter-productive as bad as under-communication.
Micro-managing staff who are already feeling the pressure of living through a global crisis, juggling complex family lives and adapting to new ways of working won’t improve your productivity – quite the opposite.

Place your trust in your teams to fulfil their roles and give them the space they need to work. Encourage them, where possible, to stick to normal office hours and ensure that they get the chance to rest and recover.

Remember to listen

You’ll doubtless have important information you need to get to your teams, but remember that communication is a two-way process. Share the information you need to share, but remember the importance of listening too.

Provide opportunities for your teams to give find back on what’s working, what’s not, and what their concerns are. Take the time to find out about their successes and celebrate them.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

If things aren’t working as well as you’d like, don’t beat yourself up. This is new for all of us, and the important thing is to learn from your mistakes. No one knows how long it will be before life returns to normal. In fact there’s a strong chance that home working will become more common when the crisis is over, so what you learn now is likely be a good investment for the future of your organisation.

  • Need advice or support? Contact us to find out how we can help you redesign your internal communications strategy in these changing times.

Trust a PR pro to steer you through times of trouble

Sometimes what you don’t say can be just as important as what you do say.

At times of crisis a PR consultant can help you to craft the message that will tell your side of the story.

There’s a cliched view of people in the PR profession as ‘spin doctors’ who bend the truth and employ subterfuge and manipulation as their main tactics.

But the reality is that most PR people know that honesty is always the best policy, and anyone who is prepared to lie on your behalf is falling way short of the integrity expected of the of the profession.

Anyone can respond to a journalist’s question or knock together a press release, but when you or your organisation is facing criticism, you need a seasoned comms professional on your team.

Context and timing is everything, and an experienced PR expert will know how to nuance your response depending on which news outlet you’re talking to, what questions are being asked, and how the situation is developing.

And sometimes it takes experience to know when the best thing to do is to not respond. Faced with a hostile journalist or publication, rebutting a story might feel like the best approach. It will certainly make us feel better. But is it making matters worse?

That detailed and factual response you just wrote has now provided the content for another story. Another will come up tomorrow when someone pick holes in what you’ve written today.

But working with a PR pro can help you steer the conversation the way you want it to go, avoiding becoming embroiled in a public argument and instead focusing on getting your real message out there.

If you’d benefit from affordable PR advice from experienced professionals, contact Rosebank Media today.

Here to help your sports club

We love a bit of sport here at Rosebank Media.

From supporting elite athletes on the international stage to local teams and clubs, there’s no more powerful force for bringing people together.

Local sports clubs unite communities and provide the opportunity for athletes at all levels to pursue their passion.

Like any organisation, communication is vital for sports clubs. Sharing fixtures and results, communication with your players and raising your profile can all be made easier with the right tools and the correct strategy.

And we’re here to help you identify your communications needs and put together an affordable package of support.

Whether you want a website for your club, help setting up an email newsletter, a social media strategy for recruiting players or attracting supporters, or photography and video or your players in action, we can help!

Get in touch and let us know how we can support your club.

Tell your story to build your brand

Who you are is every bit as important as what you do when it comes to letting people know about your business.

And having a strong strategy for your personal social media is a great way of telling that story and getting it out there for your potential customers to see.

Telling your story in an authentic way is a great supplement to your official business social media presence, letting your customers find out more about the services you can offer them.

Share your successes and the highlights of your working day to show people how good you are at what you do.

Show off your latest finished project, tell the world about how you’ve helped a client, or share your latest good feedback. 

Having a strong personal social media presence can also be an asset in times of crisis.

If things go wrong, there’s a lot to be said for using your platform to tell your side of the story. People value openness and honesty, and the right approach can help to diffuse difficult situations.

Whether you’re part of a local business or an international company, your thoughts, ideas and insights are valuable tools that can help you to build your brand. Don’t be shy – start a conversation with your audience today!

  • Don’t know where to start? We can help. Contact Rosebank Media to find out how we can help you build your social media strategy.

A Royal drama that shows the importance of good PR

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step back from public life is perfectly understandable. Their treatment by certain sections of the press and the level of scrutiny they’ve had to endure must have been unbearable.

But from a public relations perspective the handling of their announcement could arguably make matters worse for them, at least in the short term.

Hang around with PR people for long enough and you’ll eventually hear the word ‘stakeholders’. This bit of jargon is shorthand for everyone else who’s interested or involved in the thing you’re talking about. In Harry and Meghan’s situation there’s a long list of stakeholders, including their close family who are reportedly upset and hurt by their decision and the way it’s been announced. There’s nothing more frustrating than reading in the papers something you should have been told by someone close to you, and rushing this announcement without squaring their decision behind the scenes has reportedly caused further rifts.

As well as keeping your stakeholders happy, those of us who have worked in both the press and the world of PR know that journalists need to be carefully handled. Though there must have been some instant gratification in abandoning the royal rota system and denying access to specific publications, it’s likely to increase editors’ determination to generate stories about the couple. The couple can expect to be pursued by the media outlets they’ve shunned, who were already hostile and won’t hesitate to intensify their attacks. 

The Duke and Duchess must have anticipated the reaction their announcement would receive, and it will be intriguing to see how this plays out over the coming weeks and months. Whatever happens, this feels like a case study that PR people will be talking about for years to come.