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Three great ways to manage so much change

Vanessa Judelman

President, Mosaic People Development

As a leader, part of your job is to manage and communicate change.

One of the problems is that many organizations have too many changes taking place at once…and this makes people tired.

I call this phenomenon change fatigue

Are you suffering from change fatigue?  It’s so common these days.

In fact, while the pace of change has accelerated dramatically in the past 10 years, business books and on-going research have been advising about how best to lead change since the early 1980s. This concept is not a new phenomenon. But it does need to be managed properly!

So, here are 3 great ways that you can lead change to help your team experience less change fatigue.

1.Understand that you are NOT actually managing a change but a TRANSITION.

Change is something that actually happens really fast. For example, your new system, process or structure has been implemented. What people really struggle with is transitioning from the old way to the new way.

It takes time to learn how to use a new program, learn a new process or develop the skills required for a new organizational or team structure.

So, remember…be patient as people transition to the new way of working.  Ensure that you provide them with all the training or coaching they need to be successful in the new world.

2.Recognize that change comes with a psychological and emotional cost.

Any change, even a “good” change, comes with some loss. I remember when I had my first child, I mourned the loss of my independence even though I loved my child with all my heart. I remember moving to a new company after being at my old place of work for nine years. While I was excited about my new opportunity, I mourned the loss of working in a safe place with people that I trusted and cared about.  Can you relate?

So, remember…give people time and space to mourn, feel angry and show frustration as they maneuver through any transition. These emotions are all normal. Over time, they will start to feel more hopeful and adjust…but it can take time.

  1. Ensure that you communicate the “WHY”.

So often, leaders start the change process without ever explaining why the change is necessary in the first place.

For example, one of my clients recently changed their performance management process…after putting in a new process just six months earlier. My client knew that this transition was going to be frustrating for managers, so she started her communication strategy by explaining “WHY” this change is necessary. She explained that they need to align their system with their head office in Europe in order to be more efficient and effective in the long run. Just understanding the “WHY”, eased the frustration of her management team.

So, remember…change without a purpose can be really frustrating for people, especially those who already have change fatigue.  Make sure that you have a detailed communication plan for your change and start by explaining the “WHY”.

Leading change is hard. It’s expensive. It takes time.

But with a purpose and a plan…it is always more successful.

What can you do to manage the transitions more effectively for your team?

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