Communication is an important factor in improvement programs. Communication using visual management pictures the goals and approach. It motivates people to commit to change, by showing expected benefits and early results. But wrong or too much communication can also frustrate people, getting them to resist changing.
Many improvement programs are run by technical persons, in a technical environment. Often communication is undervalued and underestimated, and perceived as difficult. It is something that people are inexperienced in, which makes them feel uncomfortable. But if you get started, and learn along the way, you will get better in it. And, if you want people to do something, it helps a lot if you let them know what you expect from them.
There are several ways that we communicate in improvement programs, and how we show results in the organization. Different communication tools and techniques serve different purposes. Most improvement programs use a balanced mix of paper and electronic communication means, like:
- Posters, fyers and brochures
- Twitter and/or yammer
Even more important is face 2 face communication, from the improvement team to the organisation under change. These richers forms of communication help to understand the changes, and to build trust. Change is about showing up, and being visible! Possible forms of communication are:
- Kick-off meetings or all employee meeting
- Training and coaching
- Open spaces
- Team meetings
- One on one meetings
- Walking around (walk the talk)
A presentation that I gave at the International Conference on Software Process Improvement gives some background on how to use some of the above mentioned the communication means effectively.
[pdf http://www.benlinders.com/wp-content/uploads/ICSPI_VisibleProcessImprovement.pdf 640 500]
Communication is vital communication is for improvement programs. (as is feedback, I’ll address that topic in a next posting). It influences and supports the behavior change, and what should be done to sustain improvements, and make them last. Also it keeps the stakeholders of involved, and links the improvents to the goals that they want to reach.