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Kevan Reeve

WHY – The Key to Offsetting the Effects of Change Fatigue

Guest Blogger

Name: Kevan Reeve

Title: Managing Director

Company: Kevan Reeve Associates Group AB

Location: Sweden

LinkedIn Profile: Kevan Reeve

LinkedIn Company web site: www.kragab.com

A quote about Procurement:

‘Not all companies see the full benefits from truly strategic approaches to Procurement, but we are making very good progress towards that – don’t give up!’

Introduction to Kevan

Kevan has over 30 years of experience in business, building and driving teams and networks to great success across a number of industries and functions. For the last 13 years he has worked successfully in the AstraZeneca Global Procurement arena. He consistently gets positive feedback about his breadth of knowledge and experience, ability to build effective relationships and deliver breakthrough results.

WHY – The Key to Offsetting the Effects of Change Fatigue

Are you and your team suffering from Change Fatigue?

Procurement, especially in big corporations, is continuously subjected to multiple, sometimes overlapping, initiatives & changes; reorganisations, new processes & systems and many more just keep on coming. Wherever they come from or whatever they are about, the effects at the sharp end of the organisation, the people who have to make them work, are often overlooked, overestimated or simply dismissed. Getting it wrong can result in demotivation, confusion, loss of productivity and reduced benefit delivery. Getting it right can drive up motivation, add value & reduce wasted time.

So how do we ensure more energising change & less fatigue? After 13 years in Procurement at AstraZeneca, I have seen more than my fair share of the good & bad sides of this, and always through the eyes of a middle manager & his team.

So what have I learned?

Processes are a very good thing IF they are truly enabling, save time in the day job & are SEEN to add value.Too often, a process change is conceived at the top & just passed down level by level with a ‘we have to do this’ message – no attempt made to say WHY it is happening. That frustrates the teams who have to implement it, more so when other changes just keep on coming.

One answer? A good clear explanation of WHY, leading into the WHAT & HOW, helps people to approach it positively. Line management is key here – each level needing to pass on a consistent message to the next in language that can be understood. In my experience, mass communication (meetings, generic mails etc) doesn’t work unless that personal hand down is also in place.

The same principles apply to reorganisations. Having the right organisational structure is critical. But once again, ensuring understanding of WHY as well as WHAT & HOW, communicated empathetically through the line, is the key to success. Making any organisational change is disruptive on daily work so that maintaining the goodwill of the staff affected is a major mitigating factor in assuring success.

And what about systems? Big companies love big IT solutions but the sharp end people often have a love hate relationship with them – love what they are designed to do, hate what they do in practice! In this case, in addition to the above, having good business/user input to the design phase to increase the chances of a user friendly system that supports professionals doing their jobs better & more efficiently.

In summary, change is inevitable & very necessary for progress. However, when conceiving & planning the implementation of a ‘big’ change always ensure that WHY it is happening is very clear & communicated through the organisation. Line communication is the key so that these are the times when great managers are worth their weight in gold.

So, have I just been unlucky to suffer this stuff a lot or have you had similar (good or bad) experiences?

2 comments

  1. In large enterprises, there is always layers of management and execution. Chances are high in such situation that change of fatigue is felt. We should work in both top down and button up approaches. Think about the employee in mid-management as well as the execution layer, work with them on the why, listen to their thoughts on what and how. Set the tone and create the atmosphere to embrace change and expect improvement. This would ensure that once a change decision is made, it is made correctly, and it will be conducted correctly from the strategy and management down to the daily execution.

  2. This is a sore subject of present-day reality. Since 2003 I have suffered 3 mergers and 1 acquisition. Each time employees had only rumors to refer to on why it was happening. No official explanation was available. During and after the mergers many of my colleagues had quit companies, those who stayed were really demoralized and demotivated and everyone was looking for another job. I believe that no matter what changes are in progress in the company it’s employees should be informed of why and what is going on.

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