Kotter's Leading Change Step 4

Communicating the Vision

Overview

There is little point in having an agreed vision for change if it is not communicated. Communicating the vision is the fourth step in Kotter's seminal book called Leading Change*. This step builds on the change process so far where a sense of urgency has been established, a guiding coalition formed and the vision created.

Communicating the vision is important as it creates a shared sense of a desired future and motivates and coordinates action towards the change outlined in the vision.

Elements of effective communication

In Leading Change the 7 elements to effectively communicate the vision are:

  1. Keep communications simple, direct, focused and jargon-free.
  2. Use metaphors, analogies, and examples to bring the messages to life.
  3. Deliver the message across lots of different forums and vehicles.
  4. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
  5. Lead by example. Behaviour is the most powerful way to communicate so walk the talk.
  6. Address inconsistencies and communicate with honesty and openness.
  7. Listen and be listened to in a two-way endeavour. Solicit feedback and encourage questions, challenges and arguments about the vision and what it means for your organisation.

Ownership

The amount of time, effort and resource to communicate a vision properly can be overwhelming, however building the key messages of the future vision into already established communications will help somewhat. Encourage ownership of the messages at all levels and ensure the change effort is not seen as something additional to, or outside of, the day to day business activities but integral to the organisation's future and success.

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