The Curse of Continual Improvement

Shawnee Love   •
September 7, 2018

Continual improvement is in fashion. Whether personally or in business, everything should be trying to improve. Supposedly inspirational quotes include:

“Grow or die.”

“If you are not getting better, you are getting worse.”

“He who stops being better, stops being good.”

Put it that way and one might feel like a lazy schmuck for stopping to catch her breath.

However, we know that continually working to improve can be frustrating, exhausting and scary for employees.  So much so that there is a name for it:

Change Fatigue

Of course some people just aren’t very adaptable and prefer things to stay the same.  But even those people who would normally be open to new and different things can get tired of change because:

  1. Change efforts are often poorly planned, communicated, and executed leaving employees uninspired, uninformed, and overwhelmed.
  2. Change itself is mentally challenging- people have to learn how to do something new or differently and then incorporate the learning into their regular patterns and habits,
  3. Actual job duties don’t go away while the change is occurring so employees have to work longer and harder to accomplish their same job,
  4. Mistakes (inevitable when doing something new) are embarrassing and annoying for those who used to be good at their tasks.

Figuring out ways to overcome these obstacles will help your change-able employees minimize change fatigue.

Successful large scale change initiatives require that employees understand and agree with the need for the change. That need must be authentic and compelling so that it can persuade your employees to persevere even when times are tough. Moreover, the change must be well planned, communicated and executed!

Many of our clients also embed learning and innovation into their culture thereby instilling passion for continually improving.

How do you ensure your people continue to improve?