BEWARE: Implementation by Email

Blog Post Enabling Successful Change

The final step in Insigniam’s transformation approach is implementation. How do you translate ideas, projects, and concepts into practice with a tangible impact on the business and with the true commitment of the people involved?

Let it suffice to say: DO NOT USE EMAIL.

We have seen time and time again that some companies think that you can change people’s behaviors and actions with an email addressed to all employees and leaders. There are many reasons why email just will not cut it. Some are very practical. As our clients in healthcare like to remind us when we forget our own mantra, some people do not sit at their desk. They jump around and are on their feet for their shifts. So, emails will not be an effective vehicle.

Besides the practical issues, emails will never work in changing people’s behavior and actions. Emails are cold and atonal (even though, they always sound passive-aggressive). By nature, they convey information. This is normally interpreted as a telling style or command-and-control leadership. From now on, do this in this new way. For the benefit of brevity, they do not explain the why behind, the context, and how that decision was reached. And if they do, you probably have not read to the bottom.

Most importantly, they fail to anchor the request for new behavior and action in relationship. No matter how hard we try to build a relationship with the recipient, most of these efforts fall flat. Otherwise said, “hope you had a great weekend” is NOT building the kind of relationship foundation on which to base the implementation.

Implementation takes time and we understand the alluring appeal of a quick email. Most email implementation though will never move from the, “I know about it,” to the “I use the mission and value as a compass for action.” That is why implementations need to be rooted in a clear and focused effort with people at all levels of the organization having conversations and touching most, if not all employees. In a conversation, they can build a strong foundation, explain the why and the context, clarify how decisions were made, what it would make possible, and address any concerns.

With the pace and scope of change accelerating and widening, think of digital alone, understanding that emails can only be used to convey information is extremely important. The success of any implementation is rooted in people’s seeing for themselves the possibilities the implementation provides.  And that, most likely, happens in a face-to-face conversation(s).

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