Change Blog

When yet another change is on the horizon

By Michael Timmermann, published on 10 July 2024


The team leader stood in dismay, pondering, "How do I approach this now?" The evident spread of change fatigue was palpable. The perpetual need to persuade the workforce makes it progressively challenging to align with the objectives of the transformation.

A major pitfall in change processes is the misconception that once a change is implemented, everything will be smooth sailing indefinitely. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case as another change is often on the horizon, leading employees to lose trust when promised lasting stability only to face yet another necessary transformation shortly after.

The readiness to embrace and adapt to changes kept dwindling, along with the erosion of trust in the leadership. Despite this, it was evident that many of the implemented changes successfully met their objective: safeguarding the company - for the benefit of the employees as well.

We supported a client within the plastics industry, where the workforce had been greatly impacted. This company, with a rich history dating back to the early twentieth century as a trailblazer in innovation, had navigated through a series of changes in recent years. Each transformation left a lasting imprint: starting with the acquisition by a private equity investor, followed by the loss of its defining company name upon merging into a new entity. The original name was eventually reinstated, but the challenges persisted with financial sacrifices and new agreements during tough economic times. Regrettably, the business unit found itself marginalized within the parent company due to its lack of profitability, fostering a sense of victimhood among the employees. Despite finding solace in working under the cherished original name, another shift occurred when the business unit was carved out and merged with a competitor's division, resulting in yet another loss of its traditional identity.

Michael Timmermann mit Führungskraft im Tiefendialog

"They're trying to screw us over" was one of the main messages.

As part of the solution, it was crucial to first validate and acknowledge employees' emotions without sugarcoating the situation. This approach not only strengthened the trust relationship between employees and their direct team leaders but also empowered them to not just "sell" the new changes but to integrate them into a shared narrative that was not only communicated but made easily shareable. Utilizing existing dialogue formats, trust in management was reinforced through meaningful "moments of truth."

The challenges faced were reframed as a testament to ongoing resilience showcasing employees' ability to adapt and evolve, rather than as a string of disruptions.

This much is clear:

Addressing change fatigue is achievable when individuals shift their perspective from being victims of change to becoming active participants in shaping it.

Topics: Change

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