change fatigue

As the world moves faster and faster, there are demands on each of us to match the pace. Yet, as humans, we count on a level of predictability and stability to move forward effectively. In fact, our brains count on being able to kick into habit to manage the demands of all that’s coming at us. 

When it gets to be too much, we get fatigued by all the change—hence the term Change Fatigue.

Organizational change fatigue can become a major obstacle as organizations work to compete in the ever evolving economy. Change that is impulsive, not thought through, and is experienced as the “flavor of the month” can significantly contribute to change fatigue.

And, while organizational leaders can’t slow the pace of the world, they can do some things to make it easier on their managers and staff.

  1. Name it.

    A simple and very powerful way to work with change fatigue is to name it.

    When people can name and talk about their experience of being overwhelmed, they feel respected through the change and they have an opportunity to give input to influence how they move forward with the change.

  2. Support them.

    Support your teams in stepping into their leadership, regardless of their role or title.  

    Teaching them that leadership is a willingness to influence their world and be influenced by their world, helps them feel some sense of impact and control as they influence decision makers and learn from them how to focus on the key priorities.

  3. PAUSE.

    It’s critical that you pause and ask if what you are about to do as an organization is truly in alignment with the mission and vision.

    When things are coming at you fast, it’s tempting to get reactive and just do. But this doing often leads to just the kind of decision-making and change management that is experienced as “flavor of the month” initiatives—which people won’t get behind and won’t have a lasting impact.

Your managers (and staff) need to understand your thinking behind the change efforts you’re undertaking, they need to understand your logic for doing them now, and they need the opportunity to influence your thinking with their wisdom and perspective.  

Bring change initiatives to those people who will be impacted the most and ask them three things: 

  1. What are the benefits of the initiative? 
  2. What concerns do they have? 
  3. Do they have any suggestions they’d like to offer as you’re thinking things through? 

This process alone helps individuals align their thinking with yours and gives them the opportunity to provide input that is genuinely helpful.

The people in your organization are truly the hands that keep the company moving forward successfully. Paying attention to their needs and the demands that they face day-to-day and inviting their input will help you create a more resilient and passionate workforce. 

Doing what it takes to combat change fatigue will help you slow down, assess the benefits and costs of your decisions and initiatives, and lead into the future thoughtfully and effectively.

This week, bring people who are most affected into the loop so that they understand what you’re thinking (you are influencing them) and so that they can provide you with their perspective (they are influencing you) before you move forward. Continuing to practice this over and over again can really change your company’s culture.

Let us know how it goes,
Your Coaches at Carpenter Smith Consulting

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