Like all significant change activity, many artwork improvement programmes commence, but not all are successful.
We have learnt many lessons from our involvement in numerous labelling and artwork improvement projects that we believe are key to ensuring success. In the last article we talked about developing a vision that the organisation buy’s in too. I this article, we will discuss the importance of communication to the success of a labelling and artwork change activity.
Key Learning 4: Communication – Communicate across the extended organisation. Help people understand what’s in it for them
Labeling and artwork processes are typically highly labor intensive, involving many tens or hundreds of people from across an organisation and it’s partners. Furthermore, in many cases, the people carrying out the process are doing so for less than 10% of their time and do it in their own location. Therefore, the successful implementation of any change rests on a project’s ability to effectively communicate with this very wide audience.
Don’t forget that, in order to get any individual to fully accept a change, it is not only necessary for them to understand how the change impacts them, but also to understand what is in it for them.
One useful way to visualise the change management problem that communication plays a key role in helping, is to consider the child’s game with different shaped pegs and holes, the objective being to match the right shaped peg with the right shaped hole. A typical change project will spend a lot of time creating the pegs. Communication, amongst other activities, helps create the corresponding holes, which in turn prevent the need for the project to use force to drive their pegs into non-matching holes, which in turn usually leads to failure of all or part of the program.
Also remember that people take time to understand and accept change. Therefore, successful communication is far from a onetime activity. One of the more well-known communication phrases is “7 times in 7 ways”, which not only captures the need for multiple communications, but also makes it clear that, to be effective, the communication needs to take different forms.
Communicating to such a large group of people, often spread across the world, requires a significant amount of planned effort on the part of a change program. It is not unusual for a large labeling and artwork change activity to have team members dedicated to the task of planning and executing communication throughout the life of the program.
If you have any examples of ways in which you have successfully managed communication on change projects please let us know.
To help you in your Artwork Improvement Program, you can also find useful information in my book Developing and Sustaining Excellent Packaging Labelling and Artwork Capabilities
Should you have any questions about this or any other of my blogs, or would simply like to request a copy of my booklets, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly on my email.