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Seven Essentials for Reducing Change Fatigue

We've looked at exactly what is causing Change fatigue and the cost for our people, teams, leaders and organisations.


Now let's understand how we can manage and reduce Change Fatigue so we can move forward in a productive, pragmatic and psychosocially safe way. (Find out more about Psychosocial Change here).


Seven Essentials for Reducing Change Fatigue

1. Invest in Layered Solutions

Change Fatigue is best managed through a multi-faceted approach, that encompasses individuals, teams, leaders and the organisation. While many solutions will focus on individuals, driving the accountability to team members to become 'more resilient', it's vital that each layer of the organisation be involved in mitigating the risk represented by Change Fatigue, and creating appropriate support.


Individuals need knowledge, support, skills and resources.

Teams need structure, shared language and agreed boundaries.

Leaders need personal insight and organisational tools and structure.

Organisations must create safe social systems and a porfolio change structure that accounts for not only change volume but disruption (not ignoring those small but very disruptive changes!)


2. Create Personal Resources

Individuals should receive knowledge and tools, to understand, identify and manage their personal Change Fatigue, with resources and support from internal and external sources. When individuals understand that fatigue is a real and reasonable response, and then learn the tangible tools and techniques they can use at work and home to effectively operate in a busy change environment, they quickly feel more confident in their own sufficiency and skill.


Education and training programs such as our Resilience in Change Lunch and Learn Series are designed to create personal insight and build mental fitness by learning new skills. While workshops, learning and resources will never completely remove the challenge of high levels of change, it does help team members understand their own role and boundaries and create an understanding of how to care for themselves in changing work situations.


3. Work at a Team Level

Leaders should work to create a cohesive team environment where trust and psychological safety are high and team members are safe to share their Change Fatigue challenges.


This allows the leader and their team to then collaborate through a series of activities to create a greater sense of personal and group influence over their change destiny.


This can include setting appropriate boundaries, building positive Change Perceptions or setting clear Horizons of Change. Engaging in team-focused workshops, like our Thriving in Change series, can create a common and more realistic view of change for the team, and reduce collective and individual Change Fatigue.


image is of a man standing leaning against a desk with his arms crossed. A group of people are seated behind him having a meeting


4. Give Leaders Everyday Insight and Skills

Leaders are just as fatigued as their teams, so the investment in them as individuals is just as vital as that made into team members. Leaders who are overwhelmed personally can't support and manage the fatigue of others, so they need to gain personal insight into their own circumstances and access the right resources and tools. Then they can not only start to address their own fatigue, but show empathy for their colleagues and team members.


With this personal insight, leaders also need a range of practical and pragmatic skills to create team safety to share concerns, manage feasible Horizons of Change and create more positive perceptions for teams about the control and influence they have about their day to day success in any given change situation. Instead of an information pack on every single project, invest in helping leaders think and act their way to being more capable in EVERY change situation. Not sure how that works? Book a Clarity Call to talk to us about what you need to get you and yours capable.

5. Create a Portfolio for Disruption

A portfolio approach to change is an amazing way to manage and control the quantity of changes impacting teams at any given time. And huge investments are being made by many businesses to take this approach. But when it's the smaller, frequent changes that are having a big impact – and they don't make it into a portfolio view – there can still be impact, and big fatigue.


Adjusting your portfolio view (or creating one) to account for the smaller, more disruptive changes (which can sometimes slip by as BAU work) can help to more readily provide reporting on where your teams are being impacted by the change we know is causing the biggest Change Fatigue. Even the best Change Management Software is only as good as the data it holds, and in our experience, it's the big programs that get to input into the portfolio view, not the small, often highly disruptive work that is coming up daily!


We take a different approach to portfolio change and since we don't since change as a single event with a start and finish, but rather as 'changing' - a constant and evolving process.


Taking a view of 'changing', rather than stop/start change, and incorporating the smaller disruptive changing in your view, can contribute enormously to a reduction in change fatigue.


6. Make it Safe

Change Fatigue is often characterised as change resistance, passive negativity, or even hostility. We know it's a natural response to system overwhelm and there's action that needs to be taken on many levels to address the response.


Most important is ensuring that team members and leaders who are experiencing Change Fatigue feel they are in an environment where they can safely express their concerns without penalty. In other words, creating a space psychosocial safety throughout the business. Creating this psychosocial safety is just one part of mitigating the psychosocial risks and enhancing the psychosocial climate (more about that here), but it's an essential part.


When your teams and leaders know and feel they’re in a psychologically safe environment, they’re more likely to be confident they can voice their thoughts and concerns about new changes, and constant change.


This limits the stress of ongoing and constant change and can reduce the fatigue caused by repressing, over expressing or ruminating on the responses to change that are being experienced.


Leaders play a big part in building and maintaining this safe environment, and through structured training and skills development can create psychological safety for their teams. Our Connect to Your People Workshops can provide leaders with a range of methods for adapting and adjusting their individual and team activities to create more safety and connection, especially in times of change.


image is of a group of women who seem to be listening to an unseen speaker. All of the women appear to be listening and engaged in what the speaker is saying. The women are all different ages and backgrounds

7. Get on the Same Page

Bringing together your Change, People and Culture, Safety, OD, Learning and Development, PMO and EAP is essential to managing Change Fatigue. Your internal structures for managing Project Delivery timelines, communications and feedback structures, leadership support and accountability, mental health and support training and services, and countless other organisational systems and processes will combine to create a safe social system for your people to express their Change Fatigue, and seek resources to support themselves and others.


Just ask us! At Timbs and Co, we've seen the benefits of combining six disciplines through our Change Design approach to bring the benefits of Learning and Development, OD, Cynefin, Mental Health and Wellness and Human Centred Design to our Change Management Practice.



One last thought - probably the biggest thing any organisation can do to reduce change fatigue is reduce the amount of change you are undertaking!!! So if you have the opportunity, influence or control to do this - really think about taking some change off the agenda. A tough but incredibly helpful step for the long term productivity of your teams.



Whether you start by implementing one or all of these seven essentials for reducing Change Fatigue, these are just part of a strategy for supporting your people through a changing experience.


Need some help? Book a Clarity Call to talk to us about how we can help you with Change Management that works.




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