The Real Truth about Change Management
The more you keep changing the basic structure of something, the more likely people will stop believing in it. According to a 2017 survey by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence (the seventh year in a row the study has been conducted), people exposed to change are much more likely to have chronic stress and less likely to trust their employer. So, change in the workplace, as important and necessary as it is, has a track record for having a negative impact on employee culture and performance.
Regardless of how much we talk about embracing change and needing to be flexible, changing too often is never a great idea for employee retention. On some level, it’s a lot like getting update after update on your cellphone. After repeatedly adjusting to change upon change, ultimately you just want to throw the phone away. Also, let’s be honest – if you are changing all the time, it’s highly likely you are the victim of self-inflicted poor planning. Additionally, you could end up with “Fix it till it’s broke” syndrome in which we start to believe that change itself is more important than success.
Change is inevitable and unavoidable for organizations; and you will learn to implement and navigate change better as you gain more information and experience (though learning from the mistakes of others is smarter and less painful). But if you have a well-thought-out, practical and simple basic structure, you will not have to change as often. You can adjust to new situations as they arise, or plan to make the “right new move” and apply tweaks along the way. Sometimes we forget the basics and then wonder why the specifics won’t work.
1 American Psychological Association. 2017 Work and Well-being Survey. Washington, DC: APA Center for Organizational Excellence, 2018. Avalaible at http://www.apaexcellence.org/assets/general/2017-work-and-wellbeing-survey-results.pdf.
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