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The Tedium Of Change

by David Brock on August 24th, 2021

Change is a popular topic. Simultaneously, we celebrate, embrace, resist, and fear change. We initiate endless change initiatives.

The process of recognizing the need to change is invigorating. We do a lot of analysis, there are innumerable meetings talking about the need to change, discussions of the options, planning for the change.

Then we implement change initiatives, often with a bang. There are kick-off or launch meetings. There are events and programs to roll out the initiatives. There may be training, there may be new tools and systems, new processes.

We worry about buy-in and resistance to change initiatives. We anticipate what might impact the change initiatives, putting in place programs to manage these challenges.

And then we move on to the next thing…….

Some months later, we may reflect on the change initiative. We realize that nothing may have changed. We realize that we may have changed a little, but have fallen short of our goals. We may have new stuff in place, but the same old stuff is happening.

But we know how to deal with this, we institute another change initiative. We go through the whole cycle again, possibly assessing why the original initiative didn’t achieve the goals.

And the cycle continues.

In some sense, we are change “junkies.” There’s an adrenaline rush when we think of a major initiative, design it and kick it off. Then, too often, we rush off to the next exciting challenge, and the next, and the …..

And then we realize an initiative went off the rails. No problem, we know how to fix that, we put in place a new initiative….

The problem with any change initiative is that once you get past the exciting part of designing and rolling it out, it gets really tedious and boring. We have to continuously review, coach, adjust. It’s detailed, we have to do this with each person and all the teams involved. We have to this tedious detailed work day after day, week after week, for months.

Regardless of the level of management, we have to constantly be paying attention to the detail and making it happen.

Change is less about the specific initiative, but more about developing new habits. And we know in habit formation, we have to consciously focus on the new behaviors, the new actions. We have to reinforce them until they become habit.

But if we don’t do the things that lock in the new behaviors and habits, we will fail with what we are trying to change.

The devil is in the details…..and the tedium.

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