If you’ve have ever moved home you will have experienced Crazy Time. It’s that point when you have just moved into your new home and everything is still in boxes. You’re not quite sure how the heating works or where you left your kettle. It can be an exciting time, but it’s also a time of stress and confusion. Then one day you drive home from work and pull up outside your house only to find you’ve arrived at your old place. You are in Crazy Time.
The same sort of thing happens when you are transitioning through major organisation change. You may feel disorientated as your try to navigate the world of work with an out-of-date map; you’re not sure what’s expected of you, who’s responsible for what and who makes which decisions. This can be disconcerting and stressful, encouraging people to suspect that the change is not working or that change is something to be avoided. As a result, they may resist the change or feel demoralized, leading to a drop in performance.
The antidote to all of this, as ever, is good leadership. More specifically, if people are made aware of Crazy Time ahead of change, they will view it as a normal part of the process and a temporary phase that needs to be endured, like unpacking your belongings in your new home or ‘re-programming’ your brain to take a different route home. They also need a compelling vision for the change, one that inspires them to overcome obstacles and see it through to the end. And finally, leaders need to provide people with a reliable map of the new world of work, complete with clear expectations, goals, responsibilities and processes.
Crazy Time need not undermine organizational change provided leaders are willing and able to do what it takes to guide people through uncertain times. Click here for relevant training and publications.