Effective communication with staff is vital to the success of change management, according to former chief executive of the London Borough of Lambeth Heather Rabbatts.
Speaking at the HRD 2000 conference, Rabbatts said her own experiences at the beleaguered authority had driven home the importance of telling people within the organisation what was going on.
She said it was important to ensure the consistency of the message being communicated.
"If you do not align what you are saying to your people in your organisation and what you are saying to the public you will come unstuck. You have to engage honestly with people about what is going on."
Although she accepted the importance of electronic communication methods, she warned against using it as a replacement for traditional means of sharing information in the office.
"It does not capture the essence of communication."
In order to keep staff motivated, Rabbatts said it was important to implement initiatives that put "runs on the board", in terms of easily recognisable successes.
In Lambeth she drove forward a scheme to ensure all public lights on local estates were functioning correctly.
In addition, she stressed the importance of allowing staff to make decisions.
"Nine times out of 10 it does not matter what decision you make - just make the decision."
Rabbatts also highlighted maintaining the momentum of change as a key component of change management. Motivation needs to be considered in terms of how people are incentivised and rewarded, she said.