This is the first in a series of posts on managing change overload. This initial post focuses on change demand.
When we say change is demanding, we may mean one or more of several things.
Change activities are often additive to daily work. Most members of an organization have specific responsibilities and duties that are important to the smooth operation of the business–producing products, talking to customers, keeping financial records, etc. When we ask people to change something about what they are doing, they often need to participate in planning sessions, attend training, meet with leaders, respond to communications, and experiment with new ways of doing things. In many cases, there is a clear but typically unstated expectation that this will be done without impact to daily productivity.
Change consumes mental energy. When we are doing familiar work, our brains operate in “automatic” mode much of the time. Automatic processing of information is described as “unintentional, involuntary, effortless (not consumptive of limited processing capacity), and occurring outside awareness” by cognitive scientists such as John Bargh. In contrast, when we are engaging in unfamiliar activities, our brains need to [Read more…]