Change vs Comms: What's the difference?

change leadership change management communication organisational change Jul 12, 2022
Lata at harbour looking surprised, white text on black background: change vs comms: what's the difference?

We Changies fall into the trap of everyone thinking we just do communications (abbreviated as comms).

For far too long, Change Managers have been lumped with creating and managing all the communications with a change project or program.


And let me tell you: comms is a huge part of Change, but Change is so much broader that comms is actually just a drop in the ocean of all the value a Change Manager brings.


The thing is, I really can't blame anyone - comms just tends to be what most people see.



So what is the difference between Change and Comms?


As discussed in last week's blog post on the difference between IT Change and Organisational Change Management, Change Management is: "Moving a group of people from what they are currently thinking, feeling and doing to a new way of thinking, feeling and doing, in order to realise the benefits of a business change." And we do that through communications, training, and business readiness. 


Now I actually have a Media and Communications degree, and communications is pretty much: "the successful sending and receiving of information". In an organisation, we often see this as internal communications - all the emails, newsletters, events, town halls, leader videos, and more that help explain and convey organisational information, news, updates, processes and actions.



For an Internal Communications team, that's almost all of what they do.

For a Change Manager, that's only one tiny part of what they do.



You see, a Change Manager might also be lead, drive or support: change strategy; benefits identification; vision setting; change risk assessment; stakeholder mapping; stakeholder engagement; change impact assessment; change planning; communication planning (for the change); key messaging, themes and narratives (for the change); communication drafting, review and delivery; training needs analysis; training design and delivery; ways of working design and embed; leadership coaching; change capability; business readiness; user / customer experience considerations; post implementation reviews; and, benefits realisation.


I teach how to do all of these in my Leading Successful Change program.




So you can see that you're not comparing Change apples with Comms apples. 


Expecting an Internal Comms person to do Change Management is unfair because they usually aren't equipped with the capacity or capability to cover all potential areas of change work.


Expecting a Change Manager to only do comms is unfair because it undervalues all the positive benefits, clarity and confidence a Changie can bring to a project, team, or organisation. When dedicated comms resource is brought in to support a Change Manager, it's an absolute dream because it frees us up to do everything else we could offer from a Change perspective.



And so a lot of Project Managers and Business Leaders think we Changies just make pretty packs. Which is true - we do. I love a pretty pack as much as the next Change Manager (I'm not a barbarian!).


But wow, do we do a lot more than comms!



If you'd like to learn how to craft incredible communications and lead great change end-to-end, come join my Leading Successful Change program:


CLICK HERE to find out more about Leading Successful Change


Lata xx

Free Coaching Action Guide :  Underpaid & Overlooked

If you're thinking about a pay rise, promotion or full career change, download my free "Underpaid & Overlooked Coaching Action Guide" now to change with confidence and earn your worth.

By completing this form, you'll join my mailing list for info and marketing and can unsubscribe at any time.