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There is no doubt that we have experienced a LOT of change
in the last year. Whilst it has caused a
lot of stress and anxiety, I have been amazed at how quickly we adapt to change:
how quickly it has become normal to remember your mask as you’re leaving the
house; how quickly we set ourselves up to work from home and transition our
careers and businesses online. We are an
adaptable and resilient bunch.
What is clear, however, is that these radical changes can have
a massively negative impact on us.
Change fatigue is not a new concept brought about by
COVID-19. Every organisation that
operates in our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world is aware
of how constant change can adversely affect employees and culture. Transformation and change experts have been
talking about this issue for decades.
When it hit me
In the early days of Lockdown 1.0, I was doing a lot of work
with people whose roles had been made redundant. That’s a hefty, and often swift, change blow. With these clients, we work through the
Change Curve (written about here) so that they can understand the emotions in play.
Rather than change fatigue though, I think this is more akin
to being dropped into a change ice bath.
Then, in December, I ran a Strengths Challenge. I had an engaged group of people who wanted
to explore their strengths and what that meant for them and their careers going
forward. We did some great work about
using strengths more. However, when it
came time to think about what “unused” strengths they might want to use more in
the future, several people held up a metaphorical hand. “Stop! This is the end of 2020 and I can’t contemplate any more change right
And then it hit me. People may not be happy with their career but, for now, it’s stability
we want. We have been wrung out by
having to adapt so quickly and so constantly and, back then in December 2020,
we just needed to have some consistency.
Dealing with Change Fatigue
But! Now it’s 2021
and we are edging towards Spring. Perhaps it’s time to contemplate those changes that might just make us
happier and more fulfilled.
There are hundreds of articles on the internet outlining how
to deal with change fatigue. They deal
with this mostly from a corporate perspective. There are a few guidelines that I really like that we can apply to us
personally and to our careers.
I have already seen a greater appetite for ringing the
changes this year. We can work on this
stuff together, making small and incremental steps towards that 10/10
career. I’m on the journey. I hope you’re coming with me!
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