old library with books

Editor’s Note: In 2015 we wrote a series of articles on organizational change management and risk management. We created the fictional nonprofit “Bayside Community Library” to help illustrate the elements of change. Given the change and risk involved for any nonprofit in 2020 and 2021, we have been updating these articles. You can find others in the series here.

Bayside Community Libraries is chugging through its change journey, with two organizational components remaining to address: process and performance. Using Brighter Strategies’ Model for Change Communication, Bayside’s next move is to complete the process communication checklist—perhaps the most crucial of the communication checklists in strategic change management.

Change communication for process

The process checklist includes the following items:

  • Describe the project’s scope, any changes occurring to the scope, and how the change management plan applies.
  • List all of the steps necessary.
  • Describe the process by which the change will be managed.
  • Explain how internal process changes will affect an organization’s external stakeholders.

Why is this checklist so critical? Because a well-crafted change message is the fundamental building block of all successful change communication. When combined, the bulleted items create a unified, compelling message of process change within an organization. This message should be short, simple, and specific. Like a 30-second elevator speech, it must be easy to remember.

With the above checklist items in mind, Bayside created the following compelling message of the change process within its network of libraries. It distributed this message to all stakeholder groups [link to article four in series] through a variety of communication channels—email, newsletter, print mail, and digital collateral. It also trained employees to share their personal versions of the nonprofit’s message.

“Bayside Community Libraries is dedicated to its mission of ‘A book in every hand.’ To ensure that the readers in our community have the best access to our publications, we have streamlined our libraries’ efforts to provide more digital content to the general public. By focusing our resources on boosting the number of digital books, we have decided to close the doors of Shady Grove Library in December 2015. In 2016 we will convert half of our existing hard copy publications to digital editions. At the same time we will train staff to teach our customers how use e-reader technology. We are excited about moving Bayside Community Libraries into the 21st century by evolving with these new technologies. We are confident that our Board of Directors, staff, funders, and the community at large will see a profound impact as our digital publications reach a broader audience.”

Change communication for performance

For any organizational initiative to be considered effective, it must prove its impact. Especially with change management, communicating desired results is necessary for ongoing evaluation and benchmarking.

Bayside used the following guidelines to communicate the performance of its change program.

  • Describe any tools needed to implement the desired change.
  • Document the new budget for implementing the project change.
  • Perform a risk analysis for implementing any change in your project management plan.
  • Create the change management schedule.

The below chart was an integral tool for Bayside to track its change initiative’s performance.

Costs analyzed Baseline measure

(current costs dedicated to the existing

program and includes staff, time, facilities, software, etc.)

Benchmark measure

(best practice measures in industry-leading competitor companies or sister agencies)

New measure after change, month one

(compare to baseline and benchmark numbers)

New measure after change, month two

(compare to baseline and benchmark numbers)

New measure after change, month three

(compare to baseline and benchmark numbers)

People resources
Facilities expenses
Operational costs

Bayside communicated the above metrics to stakeholders on an ongoing basis. The nonprofit also used it to improve any areas of the change initiative that were not working as well as expected. Remember that change management is a continuous quality improvement (CQI) process and as such should be treated with a measure of flexibility.

Sitting in 2021 and looking back at these articles from 2015 it becomes clear. The details of how and why our world and organizations change differ from year to year. But the basics of good organizational change management remain the same.

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: The Role of Strategic Communication

Change management is the process of helping individuals and the organization to transition from a current state to a desired state.

This workbook explores change management as a communication function. It lays the groundwork with an explanation of popular change models, including The Change Curve and The Change Cycle. It then guides readers through the process of strategic change communication focused specifically on organization planning, people, processes, and performance.

Learn how to craft a vision for change, manage stakeholder expectations, set measurable change objectives, and communicate change effectively in your organization in this latest addition to Brighter Strategies’ Training Series: Planning, Process, People, Performance.

Change Management: The Role of Strategic Communication ebook