A Change in Mindset (3 Things to Consider)

The last several days have not been short on change. There’s been notable change on the home front at the South Carolina State House. Internationally, there have been landmark agreements involving Greece and Iran. Even on an interstellar level, there’s been change in how we see and understand the world around us with new, up close views of the distant Pluto.

Changes in business are also starting to take shape, and catch our attention. Take Google, which added the fewest number of employees to its ranks since the end of 2013 and is widely being observed as taking a new, closer look at expenses. That’s right. Even Google is looking at its cost structure. Or, the communications changes believed to be needed within the Republican party (this time offered by pollster Kirsten Soltis Anderson). Even La-Z-Boy talked changed this week, with comments that its future margin goals are set on repositioning the furniture brand in the minds of younger, urban would-be consumers.

Whether world changing or business changing, when we look across these changes and others like them, the constant seems to be the involvement of a change in mindset. And when there’s a change in mindset, communications is never too far in the distance.

In our work, we often deal in the realm that builds toward the intended or desired change in mindset. In other cases, we deal with the results of a mindset shift that’s unfolding or already taken hold. On either side of a shifting mindset, there are communications practices to keep front and center. As you strive for or wrestle with the outcome of change, here are some important lessons to keep in mind:

  • Set the Table First. Gather your facts, build your rationale, test it, defend it, adjust it, and then adjust it again. The words and visuals you choose to  announce change or shift minds —and keep them there — will need to do hard work. Give them the best chance to succeed by doing the upfront work first.
  • Distill the Purpose. Whether you are aiming to change public opinion, or you are articulating a newly changed viewpoint — simplify, simplify, simplify. Make every word of your message matter and use the simplest language possible to widen understanding and limit confusion.
  • Take the Message to the People. Identify the most precious people to win over and find a mix of novel and reliable ways to engage with them. Force your messages to run away from what is expected and they will find their way into the hearts and minds of your audiences.

Changes in mindset don’t come easy. However, with the right communications work done up front and often, you are more likely to find success whether announcement day is still to come or it’s behind you.

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