Listening and being heard
According to Kotter, two-way communication is crucial to help people answer any questions that arise during a transformation project. There is a need for consistent and repetitive communication from different sources, that is clear, simple and memorable . However, most people, especially highly educated, accept something only after they have been able to wrestle with it. This ‘wrestling’ means asking questions, disputing and arguing something.
It’s incredibly important to get as many employees as possible to view situations from their daily practice through the lens of the new vision. This involves promoting dozens of inexpensive ways to engage in discussions about the vision. It could be just five minutes in a product launch meeting, two minutes during casual hallway chat or 10 minutes at the end of a speech. These little moments may seem short, but they add up to thousands of minutes of valuable engagement.
Kotter points out that executives often avoid these activities because they fear their vision might not withstand challenges. It’s understandable but unfortunate because without employee buy-in, the later stages of the transformation process, like gaining broad support for the change, will fail to make progress.