Enterprise Transformation communications are something everyone intends to do. However, only a few do it, and then the only a fraction does it well. Hence, while communications plan galore during transformations, effective communications are few and far between.
As George Bernard Shaw famously said: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” That holds true for communications programs during an enterprise transformation program.
Here are some best practices, principles, and perspectives to keep in mind while designing and executing enterprise transformation communications.

If things are going to hell in a hand basket and the communique paints a rosy picture, it is disingenuous. Such communication will not endear the management to anyone. Of course, one can soften the blow, but the conversations need to be trusted, and the communicators need to be trustworthy.

Enterprise Transformation Communications – Principles, Practices, and Perspectives:

  1. Communication is a two-way street: While the transformation program office determines the strategy, content, and frequency of the communications, it is far from a top-down flow of information. There is a need to allow, actually encourage, the multi-way movement of communication.
  2. Pay attention to informal communications: In addition to the formal communications, in every company, there are the influencers and power-centers who can and will channel communications over and above the official communications. How a company harnesses this grapevine for the better will determine the efficacy of the overall communications strategy.
  3. Have a clarity of purpose: The primary goal of the communications plan has to do with the north star of the transformation effort. The communication is a means to an end, and a clarity of mission and purpose elevates it a great deal.
  4. Boil down to the essence: Unnecessary frills and embellishments are entirely useless. Whatever be the core of the message – good, bad, or ugly – it needs to be encapsulated into bite sized nuggets. Convey the message, and then you can tell the story.
  5. Different strokes for different folks: In every company, employees are all over the place with regards to their level of commitment to the transformation, the specific FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) each one harbor. Hence, segmenting the stakeholders into logical groups and tailoring the communications to take into account each group’s preferences and predilections will help improve the quality of communications.
  6. Have the courage of conviction and believe what you are saying: If things are going to hell in a hand basket and the communique paints a rosy picture, it is disingenuous. Such communication will not endear the management to anyone. Of course, one can soften the blow, but the discussions need to be trusted, and the communicators need to be trustworthy.
  7. Leverage all available mediums: Today, we live in a multimedia society, and an effective communication program takes advantage of all forms of communications – audio, video, online, offline, seminars, self-study, peer groups, and what have you.
  8. Solicit ongoing feedback: Effective communications are good at seeking and then acting on that feedback. If the team members know that their concerns are listened to and then acted upon, it immediately engenders a high level of confidence and commitment.

For further reading, there are several useful resources, including this one and that one.

If your enterprise is going through a business transformation, or functional area transformations, CIOPages.com offers communications related deliverables to jump start your endeavors. Please consider the following:

CRM Transformation Communications Best Practices
Accounting and Finance Transformation Communications Best Practices
Supply Chain Transformation Communications Best Practices
HR Transformation Communications Best Practices