The Neutral Zone is the middle phase of the transition process and the realm between where the change started and where it is supposed to become. There are several measures that need to be taken in advance to prevent any potential unpleasant or inconvenient things from occurring. Transparency is vital to the change effort, helping to establish a trusting environment.
The change agent will need to do a proper analysis of all stakeholders and develop a communications plan. A communications plan allows the change agent to determine the needs of their target audience when communicating any information about the project. It allows them to determine the frequency of communications at the level of detail needed. Details may need to be shared with stakeholders that are deemed essential for their duties while other information may be withheld and provided at a time that they are considered necessary.
Certain change initiatives do require some secrecy. Reasons for secrecy from lower levels of the organization may include a major change to the organization and its culture, perhaps a merger in process with the initial stages needing to be implemented before lower level needs to be informed. Perhaps upper management needs to ensure that details of a change are not leaked to consumers before the change is fully implemented as the organization does not want competitors to receive the news.
The level of transparency is also defined by the organizational culture. Upper management often sets the level of transparency within the organization. Transparency is often a good thing because it helps to keep everyone on the same page. Work effort is not duplicated, there is less confusion and components of projects are much more likely to fit together rather than conflict and have to be redone.
Certain changes such as corporate restructuring also need to be withheld form lower levels, as it can greatly impact the morality of employees and when given advanced notice, star employees may desert the organization leaving management with the leftovers. Where if done quietly, management can be selective of who to keep and who to get rid of in the best interests of the organization.