If you raised your hand, you’re not alone. A new survey by Harris Interactive for Everest College says that 83% of us are stressed by at least one thing at work. That’s up 10 points from 2012.
What’s causing the stress? The #1 reason is low pay and unreasonable workloads. Many of us can’t do much about the pay. However, we can impact workloads. One of the things I see contributing to the unreasonable workloads is how much change is being introduced and how it’s being introduced.
Often, introducing change and innovation is a bit like changing the tire on a bus going 60 miles an hour. You have to keep the bus going but you also have to change the tire so the bus can get where it needs to go more efficiently, is able to take rougher roads or deal with dangerous conditions. Still, slowing the bus down, just a little can make getting that tire changed go a lot faster. Too often, when companies introduce change it is done rapid fire. We’ll change something over here, something’s over there and a few more while we’re at it. In even the most change ready and change rich environments — those where people love innovation and change– you will reach the point of overload.
To make sure your team or company are not tipping into change overload, implement listening posts to check in and talk about the pace of change, the frustrations, how it could be done better. A listening post is a regularly scheduled time for people to talk, as a group or one-on-one, with you, about what’s working and what’s not. Your job during a listening post is not to spend the majority of the time on updates about change or innovation projects. It’s not the time to sell change. It’s a time for people to talk about the personal side of change — how it feels, what it’s like for them and the impact it’s having. It’s a time to listen to what’s going on and to synthesize that input into how change is being managed and lead.