A phrase I read recently sticks with me – “businesses are operating in a constant state of whitewater.” Anyone who has ever shot rapids in serious Class IV water or above can best understand that analogy. It’s experiencing constant and difficult churn, perhaps exciting and exhilarating while you’re in the middle of it, but also personally exhausting to control your raft (business) from danger.
The need to be continuously evolving is a business necessity. The need to change can leave your employees feeling ‘bombarded’ with one change after another. Some studies indicate that after extended periods of change employees develop apathy towards change. They lose energy to care; anticipating the next change and the next.
If you change a person’s job, you change the department they work in. If you change their department, then you change the organization in which they work. If you change the organization, then the whole organizational culture is shifting and ultimately changed.
As change fatigue grows, the potential for employees to disengage grows. Disengagement is in full bloom when your employees come to work, but their commitment, contribution, and value doesn’t come with them.
An engaged employee asks, “How can I make a difference? A disengaged employee asks, “Is it time to go home yet?”
Employees need time to get comfortable with change and how it impacts not just their immediate world, but how those changes may ripple into other parts of the organization. Most of all, employees need support all the while the changes are occurring. In a previous Tuesday Tip we likened this to changing trapezes. It is scary to let go of a trapeze, hanging in the air waiting for the new trapeze to arrive. Don’t leave people hanging.
In imapMyTeam® there are reports to help. One is the Stress of Change report. You should be completely familiar with your own report and if a leader, those of your direct reports. Pay attention to the ‘whitewater’ of change swirling around and, if it is triggering any of these issues, take the prescriptive actions it suggests.