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7 Jun 2012

Change Management – Tactic #6: Guard Employees’ Time

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Change Management Tactics

Change Management & Effecting ChangeManagers delegate to their people; sometimes they empower them. Regardless, managers have a tendency to dump. Dumping occurs when managers feel the need to clean their plates. Sometimes this occurs just to demonstrate they acted upon a task assigned to them by saying, “Yes, I’ve assigned it to Mike.” Other times it occurs because some managers just need to feel part of the “clean plate” club or to scratch something off their “To Do List.”

However, when dumping occurs it’s often demoralizing to employees for three main reasons:

  1. Employees usually have other assignments; new ones disrupt priorities
  2. The tasks often are process improvements, better ways of doing current work; too many introduced at once can imply employees weren’t performing well
  3. If current tasks already overwhelm employees, the addition of excess new ones injects frustration and helplessness into the mix

No matter how urgent the tasks or how good the ideas, dumping too many on employees at once are akin to watering plants too much . . . they drown. Thus, to avoid dumping, managers should give employees three things:

  1. Help prioritizing the new tasks with the old
  2. Only a few new tasks at a time, saving the rest for later so employees have a chance to integrate new ones in stages
  3. Time to get the old and new tasks done; tying them up in meetings and discussions about new tasks and changes doesn’t allow them to do their work

After a settling period, managers can introduce the next wave of new tasks or changes. While this might be unsettling for managers who like to announce that they’ve “done” something about a task, for effectiveness sake, they need to be vigilant, disciplined wards of their people’s time.

Series Navigation<< Change Management – Tactic #5: Request DemonstrationChange Management – Tactic #7: Setting the Mood >>

2 Responses

  1. Kevin Peter

    Mike, how handy would a time tracker tool come in? I’d love to understand you’re aspect. As a company using these high end technology boon definitely improvizes our process and does ease the burden on the employees as well.

    1. Mike Lehr

      Thank you for visiting and leaving your question, Kevin. A time tracker would help as long as something was done with the information. What this post addresses is that employees are often given more to do without adjusting priorities. That dilutes all the other priorities. If we use the time tracker to accomplish that, then “yes” it would be helpful. If we don’t, then it won’t be helpful.

      As a reminder, I ask this question: “Are we spending more time trying to keep score or trying to score?” Once we know the score, what adjustments do we make?

      Thank you again for visiting, Kevin.

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