Perfect Phrases for Communicating Change

Perfect Phrases for Communicating Change by Lawrence Polsky and Antoine Gerschel is a nice and useful book about how to effectively communicate change to your employees. More importantly and for situations in which you’re at a lost for words, this book serves as a handy guide with suggested phrases to use.

Sometimes books take on a novel theme where authors mix stories with what they really wish to communicate with the reader. This book leaves out the stories part which, in my opinion, is great because it is a short book.

In fact, although the book is 165 pages, it is actually about 26 pages worth of highlights for how to lay the foundations for communicating change with the other (roughly) 139 pages listing “ready-to-use phrases.” Polsky & Gerschel outline the launch, execution, and sustain phases of change. They address balancing information, emotions, and action. I really like the section on “Three Common Mistakes Leaders Make When Communicating Change” where the authors list: not telling enough, not listening enough, and not telling the truth enough. There’s also an “Easy-to-Use Checklist for Change Messages” to help managers draft and polish their communication message to their employees.

In the book, readers will learn about the phrases to use when:

  1. Articulating new company initiatives
  2. Responding to questions
  3. Easing workers’ fears
  4. Clarifying employee roles and responsibilities
  5. Addressing resistance and performance issues

One of my favorite ready-to-use phrases section is “Coaching for Skills.” In this section, the book offers ready-made phrases to assist managers/supervisors in coaching employees about skills. Here’s an excerpt:

This new strategy will shift the parameters of your job. Accordingly, there are new skills you should acquire/refresh. Do you have any thoughts about what new skills you will need in order to succeed within this new strategy?

Because the new strategy is a significant departure from what we have done before and because a thorough understanding…are key to your success in the company, I invite you to:

(Here’s one example of a response) familiarize yourself with our new strategy documents/resources. If you come across any piece…that you are not clear about, ask me.

Summary:

“Perfect Phrases for Communicating Change” by Lawrence Polsky and Antoine Gerschel is a useful guide for managers desiring to communicate change (both verbally and in writing) to their employees. There are hundreds of phrases that can be modified (or used verbatim) depending on the business needs. You’ll want to keep this guide within arm’s-length as you will find that this lightweight book contains practical as well as powerful phrases on how to best communicate with your workers during times of change.

* Amazon and Barnes & Noble carry this book for $7.88 (as of this post date).