I love it when professional communicators get together to network, swap ideas and share their stories.
Today the Driving Change Conference in London offered comms pros the ability to do just that.
Here Sarah Mullins, @SarahMRealIC, Head of Transformation Communication at Telefónica (O2) writes for my blog on what we missed today and what’s got her thinking.
You can see the conversations online via Twitter #employeeconf. Over to you Sarah…
No time to do it well but time to do it twice…
A lasting thought from many today when some really big brands came together to share their change experiences.
For a communicator it was especially valuable because the focus was more on how and why organisations change, rather than a lots of communication case studies.
I’ve not covered everything here because it really was a packed, squeezed-in agenda and that did make for a feeling of being rushed, even bombarded, at times and too little time allowed for questions.
To be fair I’ve yet to attend a conference where this wasn’t a challenge, even the ones I’ve organised at O2 – where I’m adept at making ‘cut’ gestures in a terrifying way often to little effect.
Overall I’d recommend this day if you’re involved in delivering change in your business especially in HR and communications, but pick and choose what you try to use or you’ll end up all over the place. I’d give the day a six out of ten.
Sessions that caught my ears and eyes were:
Hearing how Lloyds has lived through what can only be described as change tsunami over the past five years was humbling.
Thanks to Francis Lake, their Head of HR Change & Operations, for a frank and often funny take on very complex and far-reaching change management.
I also need to award him best quote of the day, and there were many, with:
— Sarah Mullins (@sayr123) September 29, 2015
There’s controversy over who actually said it, but that doesn’t stop me loving it.
Working with Harkness Kennett I’ve been passionately listening to O2 colleagues this year with our very own Listening Project that includes an ‘always on’ survey, monthly focus groups. (For fans of Radio 4, yes I pinched the name). These listen in to colleague conversations. All with the aim of informing our communication plan in a real and meaningful way.
Francis sharing the quote summed up the reality of change communication in organisations for me:
if you miss out explaining why, however hard that is and however much leaders want to focus on the future end state, then your change communications will not help or add value.
People buy why you do what you do
It’s not so new anymore, but I’m a massive fan of Simon Sinek (not familiar? I recommend you find him on TED Talks and watch for five minutes, well worth it I promise) and his mantra that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
This translates for me into being effective communications leaders – we are here to be the champions of the why. Curious on the views of others, what do you think?
Anyway I digress. A crime in communications! And we wonder why all conferences run short on time…
Merging and changing
The Penguin Random House story of a merger and integration and the time it takes, years, to truly help change happen and people accept and embrace it, was compelling stuff. From the world’s biggest storytellers you’d expect that right?
What might surprise you is the fact that delivering the change was about simple tactics, a strong visible and present leader who was passionate about loving his business and wanting everyone who worked there to love their business too.
Thanks to Maureen Corish, @maureencorish, Group Communications Director, for a really clear summary of what truly mattered.
Simon Hill the CEO and co-founder of sponsor Wazoku tried admirably to get conference to lunch with a fresh perspective on change and innovation. Giants can fall is something we can all relate to.
Back from lunch the stand out speaker in the afternoon was James Rule sharing the Thompson Reuters philosophy that mindfulness matters in all aspects of working life. He’s an energetic chap who got the room debating.
Sarah-Jane Walker from Barclays shared a beautiful suite of portals for colleagues that showed how having investment in quality tools can make a difference to how change happens in a business as huge as Barclays.
I had to confess to Johanna Dickinson from KP snacks that my daughter has a severe peanut allergy, so their most famous offering is banned in our house.
She didn’t take this personally, giving a comprehensive tour of the KP story and the tactics they’ve adopted to measure change effectiveness.
I loved her style, it was clear how much she loves her job and is passionate about having the right measures to make change stick.
I really enjoyed the chance to chair the afternoon and even snapped a selfie, so thanks to the organisers. All in all well worth the money and time.
Post author: Sarah Mullins.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on today’s event Sarah. Did you go? What did you think? You’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.
Further reading about change on the All Things IC blog:
Communicating change at the BBC
How to communicate change – a look at the Washington Post
Articles tagged with change on All Things IC blog
How to change behaviour for better business
How Westminster City Council communicated change
Strategy in action – how Vodafone communicates change
How Tfl is communicating 24hr Tube changes internally
What’s on this week
Thank you for stopping by,
First published on All Things IC blog 29 September 2015.
Want to learn about internal communication? Sign up for a Masterclass: