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BPI Communication Plan- Focus Phase

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

BPI Communication Plan- Focus Phase

BPI Communication Plan - Focus Phase.png


  • A comprehensive plan that addresses the key messages, vehicles, accountability and timing of communication to employees and other stakeholders involved in and affected by the BPI initiative.

Organisation Value

  • A two-way communication plan facilitates the acceptance of BPI related change by those people or groups, internal and external to the organization, who will be affected. An effective plan informs and energizes the organization and key stake­holders by providing consistent, appropriate communication of BPI program objec­tives, progress, and results to the client. Other benefits include:   
    • Alleviating unfounded client concerns that arise during the BPI effort
    • Educating specific constituencies within the organization on the need for change
    • Facilitating early ‘buy-in’ to, and ownership of, the BPI program and associated     changes
  • The lack of a Communication Plan increases the likelihood that key constituencies within the organization will get misleading information about the progress of the BPI project, or no information at all. Loss of project momentum, and of the credibility of its leaders, can result from poor communication.


Accountability for the communication plan is agreed upon by the sponsors, who will be heavily involved in its implementation. Typically, a Communication Plan will be developed for each phase of the initiative. The initial plan is particularly important as it sets stakeholder expectations for subsequent communication plans.
  1. Establish a communication task force or team composed of client and consultant     team members.
    1. Co-develop a project brief with the task force encompassing the steps noted below.
    2. Include a member of the appropriate industrial body (e.g.unions, professional associations or workers councils), as appropriate.
  2. Undertake a stakeholder analysis
    1. Identify all internal and external stakeholders.
    2. Ascertain their current level of commitment to, and influence over, the change.
    3. Chart their respective positions on a Stakeholder Analysis grid
    4. Determine the preferred / most effective means of communication to particular     individuals and groups represented in the Stakeholder Analysis.   
  3. Develop a draft Communication Plan outlining objectives and key messages, timing of communication, which communication vehicles will be used and who is accountable for the implementation of the plan.    
  4. Ensure that the plan focuses both on the overall BPI initiative and the component elements of the initiative. (This becomes increasingly an issue as the BPI initiative moves into its latter stages.) Include mechanisms for feedback from stakeholders on the effectiveness and adequacy of the communication.
  5. Review draft Communication Plan with sponsor(s) and confirm accountability for the various stages.
  6. The plan may have significant implications on the way sponsors currently behave, typically requiring them to ‘walk the talk’. The provision of mentoring and coaching support to sponsors may be required.
  7. Initiate Communication Plan with appropriate supporting communication vehicles, using the team and other appropriate resources identified above to execute the plan, and appropriate presentations and documentation to sat­isfy the information and involvement needs of the various stakeholders.
  8. Provide sponsors and change agents with feedback on the implementation of the Communication Plan and review, in conjunction with the task force, the next stages of the plan.



Common errors of Communication Plans are:
  • Over-reliance upon one-way communication, such as large scale briefings, newsletters and other forms of written communication
  • Over-reliance upon high-tech media   
    • Disregard of the informal and ‘first-line’ level of influence within an organization, such as supervisors, union representatives and other people that employees tend to approach first for information
    • Failure to advertise your efforts
    • Belief that telling the message once is enough
    • Poor segmentation of the organization into stakeholders with legitimately different     interests, concerns and needs       
    • Communicating too late or too early, too much or too little
    • Gradual separation of the communication process from the overall BPI initiative which thus produces fragmentation.   

Tactics/Helpful Hints

  1. Involve key client personnel to achieve early ‘buy-in’, ownership, and commitment, and to avoid having the communications program being viewed as unnecessary.
  2. Monitor the execution of the communication plan and stress the importance of the plan to those who are accountable for its implementation.
  3. Address all audiences with clear, regular communications, including external stakeholders such as customers, regulators, suppliers, boards of directors and the media/general public as appropriate.
  4. Utilise client’s internal public relations/communications/marketing department for further insight into appropriate communications vehicles (e.g. newsletters and magazine articles) and production assistance.
  5. Utilise presentation formats that are familiar to the organization to make it easier for the audience to assimilate information.
  6. Ensure that audiences are not too large to inhibit good communication. (Divide into smaller groups if necessary).
  7. Conduct ‘previews’ with sponsor(s) of the component communication packages to avoid any surprises and to address potential political problems before they arise.


  1. Enlist the support of internal informal networks to advise on the content and style of communication and to ‘spread the word’.
  2. Recognise that communication is an ongoing process and that the plan will require constant refinements and expansions to respond to the increasingly wide impact that a major BPI initiative is likely to have.

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