There are many people you may have discussions with regarding change management. To be effective, each of these different conversations must be meaningful to the person you are speaking with. The conversation about change management and why it is important is very different if you are talking to the CEO, or a front-line manager, or a communication specialist or a project manager.

This tutorial presents examples of a number of short 'elevator speeches' that can help you connect change management to what the listener cares about. An elevator speech is a brief overview - 30-60 seconds or the time it would take to ride in an elevator - that provides the key points and attempts to get the listener engaged and curious in what you are talking about.

Building their 'awareness' of the need for change management means appealing to what keeps them up at night and what they are concerned about. An effective elevator speech about change management connects what the listener cares about (specific to your audience) with the benefits of managing the human side of change.

elevator speeches and key talking points for different audiences

An executive or senior manager

Example:
"I know that you are concerned with the financials and the strategic direction of the organization. Our experience shows, and research validates, that we can only meet our strategic goals if we manage the 'people side' of the changes we are implementing as part of our strategic plan. Research also shows that your role as a change sponsor- by being active and visible throughout the project, building a coalition of support at the top and communicating why change is happening directly to employees - is the number one contributor to success. With change management, we can develop the specific actions we need to take to meet our ROI objectives by driving the speed of adoption, utilization and proficiency of the changes we are introducing."

Key talking points:

  • Change management supports financial and strategic goals
  • Effective sponsorship is the number one contributor to project success
  • Good change management = ROI
  • Your role and involvement are crucial success factors

A project manager

Example:
"When you take on a project, you use a process and set of tools to manage the specific steps to implement the project - like a project charter, a business case and a work breakdown structure. This is focused on the technical side of the project. There is also a set of processes and tools that can be used to manage the human side of these projects. Studies show that to meet the objectives of any project, we need to manage both the technical side - using effective project management - and the people side - using effective change management. A structured approach to managing the people side of change exists and gives us the specific actions and steps we need to take to help people through the changes we are introducing."

Key talking points:

  • Project management focuses on technical side, change management focuses on people side
  • Both have structured processes and sets of tools
  • Both project management and change management are needed for changes to meet their objectives

A front-line manager or supervisors

Example:
"Change is difficult. Many times, you feel caught in the middle - hearing messages from above in the organization and being asked to convey these messages down to your direct reports. We have spent a lot of time training you on how to manage your area of the business, but we have not given you the training and tools to manage the human side of changes that are being introduced. You are one of the most important pieces of successful change. Research shows that you play a central role in communicating with employees, identifying and managing resistance, coaching in both group and individual settings and reinforcing changes to make them stick. We need you involved if we want to be successful at change, and change management can give you a set of tools you can use to help your direct reports be successful during change."

Key talking points:

  • Managing change is a unique skill that can be developed
  • Your employees need you during change
  • Your role: communicate, manage resistance, coach and reinforce
  • Your role and involvement are crucial success factors

A communication specialist

Example:
"Communication is a critical tool for making change successful, but it cannot be done in a vacuum. Change management provides a solid
framework for all of the levers that need to be used to manage change, including communication. Organizationally, it gives structure to how communication, leadership involvement, training and coaching fit together. Individually, it gives us the 'targets' or goals we are trying to achieve when we communicate. Change management can help you shape your communication by answering what needs to be communicated, when and by whom. With a structured approach to change management, we can create a solid partnership between you as a communication specialist and the others in the organization who work to implement change."

Key talking points:

  • Change management gives context for communication
  • Individual focus answers 'what' to communicate
  • Result is effective partnership

A project team member

Example:
"Ultimately, the goal of the project is to impr
ove the organization in some way. The project has specific objectives it is trying to achieve, usually with associated metrics for measuring our success. So, how many of these objectives require people to change how they do their jobs? Probably most, or at least many. Change management is a discipline that complements project management. Both work together toward a common goal - changing how the organization operates. It takes both a hammer and a screw driver to build a house, and project management and change management are these complementary tools we can use to achieve successful change. In fact, we will be most successful when we integrate the activities of project management and change management under one unified plan for improving the organization."

Key talking points:

  • Change management and project management are complementary tools
  • Both disciplines share a common goal of successful change
  • Change managers and project managers must work together as a team to integrate their activities

Managing Change on Your Projects

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Prosci has spent nine years researching what works and what doesn't when managing the human side of change. As a research and publishing firm, we spend our time turning the best practices into easy-to-use, holistic and research-based tools. Visit our Thought Leadership Library for more tools advice for applying change management.

Prosci Change Management Certification Program - CTA

Written by
Tim Creasey
Tim Creasey

Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.

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