It’s Tuesday morning and my alarm goes off at 3:30am. I reach over to hit the “Snooze” button and look around to remember where I am. My eyes adjust to the backlight of the iPhone in my hand as I look around to see a small hotel room take shape, as my vision resets. What city am I in again? Oh, right…Chicago. Headquarters. This was a quick work trip tacked on to the back of a weekend visit with family in the area. It proved to be a very productive Monday speaking with a number of potential clients about an interesting and “top of mind” topic for many – change fatigue.
Feeling a little fatigued myself, I close my eyes for another eight minutes until the alarm goes off again. This time, I hit “Stop” and jump out of bed. Only took one “Snooze” this Tuesday morning. As I headed to the airport at 4am, I thought a lot about a question asked of me the day before. “How do you know when is the right time and what is the right amount of change to ask people to manage?”
It is a great question. We certainly all manage change differently, so a singular approach or method is not always going to fit every stakeholder. Just like we all set our alarms and snooze options differently, we deal with change fatigue differently. Sometimes we are not ready to “wake up” to the change just yet, and wish we could delay it for a little longer. Sometimes we want eight more minutes to ourselves before leaning in and starting our new steps on a transformative journey. So, I ask, where’s the snooze button on change?
Consider your last major transformation you went through at your workplace. Maybe you are still going through it? Do you remember how you were expected to stay informed and engaged on the coming changes? What did that look like? Let me guess. Slews of e-mails filled your inbox with announcements, intranet pages updated and pinged you with notifications (more e-mails), calendars were published, town halls were scheduled, feedback forms were circulated and FAQs curated. That is a lot of information coming at you.
Did you get to set your preferences on when this information came to you? Did you get to determine in advance when you would be mentally ready for the disruption and interruption to “the way things are?” Chances are, you didn’t get to set the “Snooze” button on any of these changes. What if you could back and proactively set your “change fatigue settings” so when you receive communications, invitations, updates, and notifications it minimizes interruption and decreases the level of anxiety that naturally comes with change? What if you could hit the “Snooze” button on this change one or two times? Would it allow you to better prepare yourself for the wake up and jump right in to the change? Might it help you shift from being a resistor to a participant in the change? Now, let’s be clear and fair, this isn’t an offering to hit snooze forever, because that can be quite damaging and simply dangerous to one’s growth and engagement.
In the next part of this blog, I will ask my colleague, Nick Kennedy, to explore ways you can engage your stakeholders to take the guess work out of this work. It simply requires asking stakeholders how they want to receive information, in what format, in what frequency, and with how many snooze options? Together, we will share tips and tricks we have used to minimize change fatigue for clients in this new world of constant change.