Updated: Nov 23
The change elevator speech should be a clear, brief business message, the ‘commercial’ or ‘advertisement’ of the change programme. It communicates the ‘What’, ‘Why’ and the ‘Benefits’ of the change programme. The elevator speech should be no longer than eighty to a hundred words or eight to ten sentences. The concept is that you can share the information about the change with anyone quickly within an elevator trip lasting no longer than thirty seconds.
"Develop a change elevator speech that communicates what the change programme is about, why it is important to the employees and the organisation and the benefits both tangible and intangible"
A compelling change elevator speech is indispensable for securing early buy-in and dispelling misconceptions when introducing major organisational transformations. The stakes for getting this brief communication right are high. Without it, early resistance can swell and rumours gain momentum, potentially undermining initiatives before they commence.
What Is the Purpose of a Change Elevator Speech?
The change elevator speech serves as a concise “commercial” conveying the essence of a change initiative to employees. Its name comes from the concept that the speech should be deliverable in the time span of a short elevator ride. Leaders can share the elevator speech in individual interactions across the organisation early to pave the way for formal announcements.
Why It Is Important to the Employees and the Organisation?
The change elevator speech serves as a concise ‘commercial’ or ‘advertisement’ conveying the essence of a change initiative to employees. Its name comes from the concept that the speech should be deliverable in the time span of a short elevator ride. Leaders can share the elevator speech in individual interactions across the organisation early to pave the way for formal announcements.
The Benefits Both Tangible and Intangible Are:
The change initiative is an important investment for the organisation’s future that can yield many tangible and intangible benefits if implemented successfully. The potential benefits, both tangible and intangible, should be outlined:
Tangible Benefits Include: Increased cost savings due to process improvements, enhanced competitiveness from new product features, and higher revenues through expansion into new markets.
Intangible Benefits Include: Improved employee engagement and collaboration from cross-functional restructuring, increased innovation across teams, and an elevated external reputation and market profile from adopting industry-leading best practices.
A well-constructed change elevator speech will:
Communicate the change to gain stakeholder support and buy-in, as well as help to sell the change case to secure critical organisation resources.
Communicate the most important aspects of the change programme within a short amount of time.
Be used as part of all stakeholder communications.
Help to communicate a consistent change message.
Help prevent rumours from starting and resistance from building.
Find out more:
Further Reading: Change Management Handbook - Leadership of Change Volume 3
Peter consults, speaks, and writes on the Leadership of Change®.
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Peter F Gallagher is a Change Management Global Thought Leader, Guru, Expert, International Speaker, Author and Leadership Alignment Coach.
Listed #1 by leadersHum Top 40 Change Management Gurus You Should Follow in 2022 (Mar 2022).
Ranked #1 Change Management Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Change Management (2023-2022-2021-2020) by Thinkers360.
Ranked #1 Business Strategy Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Business Strategy (2022) by Thinkers360.
Ranked #2 Leadership Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Leadership (Aug 2020) by Thinkers360.
Business Book Ranking
Change Management Behaviour - Leadership of Change® Volume 6, listed among the 50 Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders to read in 2022.
Change Management Adoption - Leadership of Change® Volume 5, listed among year-to-date’s (Jul 2021) most popular books on business and technology from Thinkers360 member thought leaders.
Change Management Handbook - Leadership of Change® Volume 3, listed among the 50 Business and Technology Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders to read in 2021.
Change Management Pocket Guide - Leadership of Change® Volume 2, ranked within the top 50 Business and Technology Books (Jan 2020) from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders.