Q: People at my company have change fatigue, and I’ve been asked to lead yet another change. Teams will get reorganized somewhat and processes will change. How can I help people get energized around our new approach? — Bryan, 50, VP, product delivery
A: You will have a lot to do, from redesigning processes to figuring out new staffing models. But none of this will work if you don’t get the people behind it.
Let me ask you first, where are you on the change-fatigue spectrum? You will struggle to energize your teams if you have unaddressed concerns yourself.
That’s not to say you will have all of your feelings resolved. However, being able to acknowledge them will send an authentic message to others who may be struggling.
Then move on to team communication. If this change affects a large group, it won’t be feasible for you to meet with each person individually. In that case, work closely with your management team to be sure they understand what is happening and how their groups may be affected.
Ask for their guidance on the best ways to support their individual teams. They should be close to their concerns and priorities. If they are not tuned in, this is a different management challenge for you to solve.
Consider a variety of options. An “all-team” meeting where you can explain what’s going on, create context for the reasons for the new changes, and express empathy with the fatigue can lay the groundwork.
Cultivate change ambassadors. They may be your managers or they may be influential team members. Invest time in them to nurture an additional two-way channel of communication.
At the beginning of this initiative, managing the human aspect of change should be your top priority. Make sure you set aside enough hours in your day to do it justice.
This may require you to set other work aside. What can be delayed? There may be tasks that will change anyway as your new initiative is rolled out. Put these on hold if you can. Realistically, too, there are always lower-value responsibilities that can be deprioritized.
Look at delegation opportunities. You may need to let others take on tasks you’d normally do. It will be worth it.
Moving into the logistical aspects of change, think of yourself as the conductor of the orchestra. Make a plan with your team and others affected by the changes, then turn the leadership over to them. You will be most effective in helping problem solve and remove barriers.
Lastly, identify ways to inspire, motivate and refresh the people who are affected by the change. Recognizing that change can be exhausting, can you give them a little extra personal time off? It’s a tangible recognition of their need to replenish their energy. Be creative and ask them what would be most valued.
Treating your team as partners in this change every way you can will be the best way to manage their change fatigue.