Communication is tough at the best of times and even tougher when it is challenging news on a departmental or company level. Most sales leaders do not communicate challenging news well. Learning to improve their communication tactics will help them face less resistance and facilitate a smooth transition when changes are to be made.
SLiA Group Sales Leadership in Action Group Communicating Challenging News Executive Summary: Communication is tough at the best of times and even tougher when it is challenging news on a departmental or company level. Most sales leaders do not communicate challenging news well. Learning to improve their communication tactics will help them face less resistance and facilitate a smooth transition when changes are to be made. Bottom Line & Business Impact: As sales leaders adopt an open communication policy they will be better able to communicate challenging news, and dispel any negative murmurings early on amongst the sales staff. This will increase employee morale, and lead to a more motivated team. © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 1 The Impact of Poor Communication Poor communication creates risk. Even a program or strategy designed to strengthen the company or department can have adverse effects if not communicated well. This impacts the perception of management, and can adversely affect the morale and performance of the sales team. Sales leaders must understand and utilize effective communication when Lay of the Land presenting challenging news. • The Process of Communication • Methods to Communicate Effectively and Mitigate Risk The Process of Communication Communication is not what is said and how it is said, but what is heard and internalized. Communicating news such as downsizing, outsourcing, and mergers and acquisitions are challenging enough for experienced managers, let alone for new sales leaders. Issues such as potential disruptions, decreased results, and resignation can all result from poor communication. Methods to Communicate Effectively and Mitigate Risk 1. Assume that the conﬁdential information will get out. • “Hot” news rarely stays conﬁdential for long. There is a greater negative impact when only part of the news gets out as opposed to when the entire story is shared. 2. Inform as soon as possible. • Share information as soon as possible in front of the entire team where the message can be controlled. This prevents rumors and partial stories from being circulated later. 3. Clearly explain why the change is happening and why it is necessary. • Provide background information to better explain the thought process which led to the decision, and what management is hoping to accomplish through the change. • Share the plan to move forward and other options that were considered along with the reasons they were rejected. • Sharing as much of the big picture as possible allows the team to learn and understand the reasons for the change and provides some level of credibility to the management team. 4. Communicate often. • Focus on key points, especially when discussing subsequent information. • Celebrate milestones. • If there is a big change, distribute an informing email amongst staff. 5. Do not communicate big news in small amounts. • Share all news at once. People grow tired of change, which therefore creates a negative perception of management by their staff. “Do they not know what they’re doing?” • People need time to work through change. Constant change is very emotionally draining. 6. Be as honest as possible. • Acknowledge that the change will have bumps, such as more work or employee evaluation. This will add credibility. • Provide honest answers to questions and concerns. Avoiding the truth only provides short term gains. Lying results in a tremendous amount of negative results. 7. Avoid having senior management communicate everything. • People feel more comfortable hearing news from someone they are familiar with. © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 2 • While some news, such as downsizing a department, needs to come from the ‘top’, direct changes to the department such as role & responsibility changes should come from the sales leader. 8. Create a formal process for addressing employee questions and concerns. • Staff want to know that their questions and concerns will be heard and taken into consideration. • Answering these questions in a timely fashion is a priority. 9. Follow up. • The bigger the change, the longer it takes to implement. • Report on progress to date, including improvements being realized. 10.The parade effect. • Be cognizant that while one department may have already gone through the change, others may be just starting or part way through. • This creates a mix of emotions at different stages, and communication must be different at each level. © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 3 Putting into Practice Effective One-on-One Coaching Coaching on an Individual Basis The 10 Steps of Coaching How to Give Effective Feedback Sale Leadership in Action Group products are for the exclusive use of SLiA Group’s clients, and for internal purposes only. Members can use the document in whole or in part. The products are to be used for internal purposes only, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the paid memberships. Members may customize the tools and templates by editing titles, headers and footers with their company information. © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 4
Pages to are hidden for
"Communicating Challenging News"Please download to view full document