Have you ever heard about change fatigue? I heard about it a while back and it really resonated with me. I felt like it explained something within me that had not been named before.
Generally it’s used in the context of corporations and organizational changes. Wikipedia says:
Organizational change fatigue is a general sense of apathy or passive resignation towards organizational changes by individuals or teams. Organizational change efforts are all too often unfocused, uninspired and unsuccessful. Research shows, 70 percent of transformation efforts fail, often caused by change fatigue.
Most organizations go through some form of change in order to compete with more innovative peers and to keep up with the intense pace of the market. On the other hand, humans have a tendency and liking towards stability, structure and some kind of routine. Within this stable structure, we learn to grow, learn what we want to change and collect the energy and the knowledge to do so. Organizational changes often disrupt the structure and consistency we grow accustomed to. The more corporate changes occur, the harder it becomes to find a certain order. We tend to become overwhelmed and feel like there is a loss of control in our environment. While one day we know how to get promoted, or who to ask for when we need something – it all changes from one day to the next. The presentation you were working on for weeks, can suddenly become irrelevant. It’s this destabilizing element that causes a lot of anxiety and simply, makes people feel demoralized.
This concept spoke to me from a broader context than within a corporate organization. I am tired of updates on my phone. I’m tired of menus changing in restaurants. I am tired of the world constantly seeking to make things faster and better than it’s been the day before. It is destabilizing. Why can’t it be than a month before? Why can’t we wait? I heard a quote the other week saying “this is the slowest it will ever be again” and it was so terrifying. We often attribute these feelings of wanting to avoid change to old people, but just think about the amount of change they have seen in their lives, doesn’t it make sense that they just don’t want to see another change added to their list of changes?
Don’t get me wrong. Many, many changes are hidden as positive progress. And many changes take us in the right direction. But some changes in life, like in organizations, while thinking they are there to make things better, only minimally impact your life for the good, but add to the toll of having to put in effort.
Let me know what you think!