Research says leader communication is crucial to change efforts

I must live right.

I was preparing to conduct a post-session interview for a Conference Board podcast when I heard a remark from one of the panelists that made me sit up straight and lean forward. Afterward, I approached the speaker and asked to interview him for the conference podcast series. Of course, the focus of my interview was this one remark.

The speaker was Charles Watts, principal of Towers Perrin and leader of the consulting firm’s Change Implementation practice. Watts notes that the practice focuses on reseach and communication around change management. Watts referred to a study Towers Perrin conducted among 40,000 workers… Read More »

We get letters

I just got a copy of the Sept. 12 issue of the Ragan Report, which includes some letters to the editor from readers who read my analysis of Dr. TJ Larkin’s talk at the IABC Research Foundation luncheon and Dr. Larkin’s response. A couple snippets and a couple responses follow.

From Jeffrey Brooke, ABC, director, Employee Communications Office, United States Government Printing Office:

Larkin gave a lecture that was not only compelling and backed up with exhaustive research, but one that was gracious. Holtz???s slanderous and rude statements were entirely out of bounds??? especially for an IABC Fellow.

I’ve reread my original item… Read More »

Leadership’s role in change communication

Finally, I find myself with a few minutes to begin my response to Dr. Larkin’s rebuttal of my original criticism of his talk at the IABC international conference. This is just the first entry; there’s more to come, although I hope it won’t be as long as this one. I welcome your comments.


In his own words, here is one of the chief arguments Dr. TJ Larkin made in his rebuttal:

“Our book is about communicating major change to employee groups who are putting up serious resistance.” In other words, various communication channels other than the immediate supervisor may be appropriate in other circumstances, but the immediate supervisor is…

Read More »

TJ Larkin’s response to my response

Warning: Long post follows

You may remember, during IABC’s international conference in June, I posted an item reacting to a talk given by Dr. TJ Larkin at the IABC Research Foundation luncheon. I re-ran the piece as part of an email newsletter I produce for Ragan Communications. The folks at Ragan (with my permission) sent the article to Dr. Larkin for his reaction. Dr. Larkin has graciously given me permission to reproduce that response here (note the typos are copied directly from the original copy I received). I’ll be commenting on this in several shorter posts to follow over the next few days, as time allows.

I’m creating a new… Read More »

Deconstructing Larkin

Warning: Long post follows.

T.J. Larkin is an excellent presenter. He’s entertaining, engaging, witty, and charming. At the end of his presentation at the IABC Research Foundation luncheon today, the crowd of about 500 gave him a standing ovation. His performance deserved it. The substance of his presentation? Well, that’s another thing altogether.

I first became aware of Larkin when I read “Communicating Change.” In this book, Larkin points to research conducted in the late 1980s by Towers Perrin in which employees were asked their prefeerred source of information. The answer, it should come as no surprise to anyone, was: “My… Read More »

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