I became interested in change management this year through a series of case studies I was commissioned to write for the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. Each showed how a diversity and inclusion initiative at a leading Canadian organization led to brand growth, competitive advantage or was a catalyst to innovation. Change management strategies underpinned the successful initiatives in each of the case studies. As I went on to learn more, it resonated with what I’ve seen in startup circles – and showed how important it is for companies of all sizes to communicate well.
John Kotter’s book, Leading Change, outlines an eight-stage change process with principles are relevant to startups, though it's written for corporate leadership. There's a particular worldview successful founders seem to share that mixes big-picture, 360° vision from above with deep, narrow subject expertise. These founders are simultaneously broadly open-minded while specific and detailed, with an ultimate goal to change the status quo and be disruptive.
I’ve simplified Kotter’s eight-stage change management process to shift the lens to startup founders and CEOs. What I’ve seen is that change management needs good communication throughout and there is no stage at which audience-centric communications don’t matter.
1. Create a sense of urgency
2. Form a powerful coalition
3. Create the vision for change
4. Communicate the vision
5. Remove barriers to adoption
6. Create short-term wins
7. Build on the change
8. Anchor the change in culture
Brenda van Ginkel
Every great brand that's making a difference to people or the planet deserves to stand out and be noticed. I write about creative direction and brand strategy for entrepreneurs and those supporting them, packaging concepts with messaging for growth and audience engagement in a crowded, noisy digital space.