BLOG: The chain

Listen to the wind blow

Seasons changing – especially when impactful autumn arrives in its vivid shades of red, gold and brown – are a popularly used metaphor for transition journeys.

According to the Office for National Statistics, UK merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has been on the increase this year:

“The value of inward M&A (foreign companies abroad acquiring UK companies) was £18.4 billion in Quarter 2 2019, a sizeable increase of £10.8 billion on the £7.6 billion recorded in Quarter 1 2019.

The value of domestic M&A (UK companies acquiring other UK companies) in Quarter 2 2019 was £2.8 billion, a £1.0 billion increase on the value recorded in Quarter 1 2019 (£1.8 billion).

Yet, in the world of work we often hear the phrase ‘business as usual’, even when all around us business can be changing significantly.

As a phrase, ‘business as usual’ has all the right intentions – putting employees’ minds at rest, keeping calm and carrying on, minimising disruption and so on. But, when major change is inevitable, and nothing will actually remain as usual, could confronting it head on be a better option?

Actively adopting the language of change with staff can create a positive chain reaction of excitement, engagement and new beginnings, helping employees themselves not just see the change coming but to be the change the business needs.

Words associated with growth, opportunity, fluidity, renewal, alongside a visibly refreshed brand identity, can be just the reinvigoration staff need in unsettling times and some of their best work can appear when stepped outside the norm.

Take ‘The Chain’, one of only a few Fleetwood Mac songs whose authorship is credited to all members of the band at the time, it was one of their best performing songs yet written at a time of internal fracture within the band.

Break the silence

Whether it’s for M&A activity, change management or internal business transformation projects, internal comms provides the chain links that keep everyone together.

Break through any silent corners to keep reinforcing key messages and cultural values through comms. Over communication will only strengthen the chain.

Never break the chain

External comms always need to be carefully controlled, giving the right amount of information to be interesting enough to be covered but without anything that could be negatively perceived / misconstrued.

This year’s novel sensation ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’, loosely based on the story of Fleetwood Mac, gives a great depiction of the band members living through it but all remembering what happened slightly differently – the opposite of what you’d want to happen in business!

Clear and consistent customer-facing materials, sales support assets and even phone scripts will help give alignment of message across large number of employees, backed up by a permanent home for the change messages on your website.

So, when business is not as usual, transparency, high frequency and consistency in comms will help preserve the chain, keeping you strongly connected together.

Song credit: Fleetwood Mac. Watch the music video.