Nature abhors a vacuum. A vacuum is a space with no matter. Aristotle argued that assuming a vacuum could exist, the denser surrounding material would immediately fill that space. Scientists have debated this construct for generations.
I like this concept though when thinking about communication and change leadership.
Just like when nature encounters a vacuum, when a vacuum in communication exists (and this is certainly possible) a force occurs to fill that vacuum.
“Nothing has changed since the last update.”
“We don’t have anything to say.”
“We’re not sure what’s going to happen.”
“They’re busy and don’t have time to hear about this change that’s going to happen months from now.”
Any of these examples of thinking cause you to not communicate.
Think of a space between you and your constituent. This space cannot be empty. Someone will fill this space. If you are in fact a change LEADER, you must cause that space, that vacuum, to be filled. You must influence what goes into that space.
If you don’t, what fills the vacuum? Conjecture, innuendo, rumor, misunderstandings.
Tips for the change leader:
- Identify resistance and talk it through.
- Provide value.
- Provide leaders with communication content. Help them communicate.
- Communicate regularly. Every two weeks, minimum. Think about conversations with your constituents. If you had a fixed meeting every two weeks that couldn’t be cancelled what would you say about your change initiative?
- Tell the story.
- Localize the message. Make it meaningful.
- Test communication. Is the message getting through?
Change communication is a campaign rather than a spreadsheet with dates to send emails. Like any influence campaign it involves multi-media, custom messages, dealing with the details, and providing a road map for those traveling with you.