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Avoid Change Fatigue in Digital Business Transformation

by Elise Olding  |  July 23, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

Too much change. I hear it from clients and conference attendees. It’s causing change fatigue. Change fatigue is characterized by an inertia or paralysis in the organization that affects each individual’s ability to embrace the next set of changes. Digital business is all about change. Get good at dealing with constant change or perish.

One cause of change fatigue and the topic of this blog, is overusing “go- to” employees. You know who they are – when you get into a bind and the stakes are high to come up with a fix – their names are on the list. Maybe you are one of them. You get pulled in once things have gone bad and put into the tough position of fixing a mess you didn’t create.

How to get out of this bind? If you are leadership – put a plan together to develop the other 80% of your employees. You will need them for the long term and they will all have to contribute to the big change that digital business will bring. Put together mentoring programs, understand where skills may need augmenting and give them on the job training or classes. Let them fail and learn from their mistakes in lower risk scenarios. Start giving your go-to employees a break from fire-fighting or they will soon be in the change fatigue camp too.

If you are one of the go-to employees – don’t hoard your expertise. There is no room for heroes in digital business. Be a hero by sharing your insights and expertise and helping someone gain the needed skills, rather than doing it yourself. Don’t wait for a formal mentoring program, find an eager partner and pull them in. You will not only be doing them a favor, but also yourself, perhaps starting with some work/life balance.

And…to stem this particular problem all together, do things right the first time. Collect the best practices from employees and use the knowledge of your 20% to instill quality, not just firefight. They likely have a lot of insights so set up mechanisms to share. Start this practice and you will not only broaden the base of talented employees, but also not burn out your precious 20%. You need them and the other 80% for the long march to digital business.

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Category: bpm-strategic-planning  digitalization  employee-engagement  organizational-change  

Tags: change-fatigue  digital-business  employee-burnout  gartner  

Elise Olding
Research Director
7 years at Gartner
32 years IT industry

Elise Olding is a Research Director covering the complex challenges of organizational change and business transformation from a people perspective. Her areas of focus include organizational change, communications strategies and emerging trends in employee engagement from a hands-on practitioner view. Ms. Olding provides research on a worldwide basis, advising clients on best practices to achieve sustainable change and business transformation. She is a member of Gartner's Business Process and Transformation team. Read Full Bio

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