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10 Key Concepts to overcome change fatigue and create a winning working environment

Let’s be honest – we’re all tired…

The truth is that fatigue is a very common feeling for most of us at this time of year, as we deal with a year’s worth of pressure in addition to the demands of always being available and having to respond instantly. This has blurred the lines between our work and home life, causing a tiresome imbalance.

In the workplace, our fatigue levels have been compounded by several changes that have been made since the pandemic, often implemented in haste and, thus, incorrectly. Change is only successful if the right change system is used and implemented with the right partners. As a coach, trainer and co-founder of We Do Change, Rochelle Roos is determined to help individuals and organisations embrace change positively and seamlessly to overcome change fatigue in the workplace.

Here are Rochelle Roos’ top ten concepts to apply…

  1. Firstly, don’t be afraid of change

Big, or small, change is all around us – it is a part of who we are and is necessary because there is always room for improvement. Some people love change and embrace the uncertainty while others fear it, simply because they don’t know how to deal with the dramatic, sudden alterations that threaten the status quo.

In our change management programmes, we clearly explain the changes that are being introduced to quell worry and concern. Communication is key to ensuring that everyone understands that things are under control, the change process is rational, and the emotional responses people feel towards this change are not ignored.

  1. Visualise change 

Work with a small representative group to discover and visualise the result from idea to impact. People want to see the change to know what impact it will have on them. Only then will the process create greater empathy, be more transparent, and foster trust amongst employees.

  1. Model change in-house

Before embarking on any changes, it is crucial to get the right people on your side that have the right influence to affect this change and reinforce it through their behaviour. Creating a shared purpose as to why you are embarking on this change journey is very important as the motivation for change is often more important than the change itself. If you have created a shared understanding as to why change is needed, you have created the opportunity for change to happen organically.

  1. Be prepared for peaks and troughs 

Like with anything new, big risky changes can generate excitement at the start, but the unfamiliar territory can cause disarray and things can quickly come crashing down. Family therapist, Virginia Satir, calls this the Change Curve, where usual behaviours don’t work so performance drops and people often revert to their previous habits. This can be minimised by adopting evolutionary, incremental change that reduces the dip into chaos.

  1. Have strong leadership 

Effective change needs resilient leaders that possess maturity, patience, and the ability to pull people together and see the change process through. According to Dr. John Kotter, Harvard Business School professor and entrepreneur, having a guiding coalition – a group of individuals within an organisation who are the social leaders of the change initiatives – is essential. These early adopters bring expertise, energy, and perspective across a variety of areas and are willing to try something new, even if it’s not perfect, to create the movement of change.

  1. Don’t change everything at once 

There is a strong narrative across multiple organisations that changes are introduced several times a year before they reap any reward or benefit from the previous change.

If your organisation starts with a new change initiative and before seeing it through, jumps onto another and another, it creates turmoil and uncertainty that will soon become part of the organisation’s DNA.  Symptoms like having too much work, not completing tasks and multi-tasking causes bottlenecks and dependencies. It also slows down any chance of progress and employees begin to exhibit signs of change fatigue on both personal and professional levels.

  1. Change up your belief structure  

Many organisations seem to be stuck in a cycle of change without ever achieving real results which reflects negatively on the belief systems of employees. Unsuccessful or rather unsupported change means employees either believe that leaders are giving it  lip service and not fully supporting the change initiative, or that there isn’t real influence over managing the change from both sides. To change behaviour we need to look at changing the environment first.

Creating conditions in which the behaviour that you consider desirable will be easier and more natural than it is now! This means that for us to change the “culture” we need to create new belief systems for the people in the organisation; and you create new belief systems through new experiences.

  1. Welcome resistance 

Resistance to change is not a bad thing. It should instead be seen as a feedback vehicle for leaders, helping them to gather information from the people that are going through the change. I strongly believe people matter, relationships matter. People don’t resist change; they resist being changed and having the change being forced upon them. Let’s start involving people in the change effort.

  1. Establish the right feedback loops 

Don’t rely on PowerPoint presentations, email or even inspiring words painted on walls to communicate change. Instead find ways to have face-to-face conversations with the people on the ground and create a platform where they feel safe to express their concerns. This will help develop unity, alignment, and a shared purpose.

  1. Measure it

Be deliberate about what improvement you are trying to seek and how to measure it. Only then will you avoid unreflective knee-jerk responses. If the goal is to continually develop a fit-for-purpose capability through your change initiatives, you need to capture the correct data to learn if the process is working.

Embracing change positively and seamlessly to overcome change fatigue in the workplace begins with understanding these concepts and finding the right partner to help you implement it properly for lasting success.

Co-Founder at We Do Change | + posts

As a coach, trainer and co-founder of We Do Change, Rochelle Roos is determined to make a difference in individuals’ and organisations’ lives by challenging their mental models and empowering them to achieve significant success in business and life.

Her transformational knowledge and skill are derived from the Kanban method for which she is an accredited trainer. First developed by Japanese car maker Toyota to help define, manage, and improve their services, the workflow management method is fairly unknown in South Africa, but is quickly gaining global traction, and especially advancing in South Africa.

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