The Despair Curve

All change is negative in the short run.  Some change is necessary to get a business to a higher level.  A problem.

If a business changes something, they expect to be better for the change.  If it is a good change, they will be, just not right away.

Most businesses are familiar with how a learning curve works.  In the beginning, you lose productivity.  Say when you implement new software.  There is a period of disorientation and frustration.  “The old way was better.”  Eventually the productivity enhancement built in to the change will come through and all the trouble is forgotten.

Change Curve

Giving a change time to mature is an important element of the decision.  Never, as in not ever, should you make a change and measure it before it has a chance to become routine.  Build in a reasonable time when implementing and abide by it.

Failure to do so puts the business on to the despair curve.

Assessing too soon leads to a serious problem.  Multiple changes.

If you decide the change has failed and change again the productivity will turn down again.  This time from a lower point.  Assessing and changing again will drop productivity further still.  Eventually the process or even the whole business fails.

Despair Curve

When making a change no matter how innocuous, build in a time to adjust.

How long is a hard call.  As a test, do something extremely simple and see how long it takes to get used to it.

Move your wastebasket to the other side of your desk.  Estimate how long it will take to get used to it.  Write it down.  Check how long it actually takes until you can use it without thinking about it.  Compare your guess to actual.

How long would it take to adjust to something complicated, a new machine, a reorganized factory floor, a new advertising agency, new manger of marketing, or a new supplier?

Longer than you would guess.

Same rules apply to the non-business part of your life.  Pay attention please.

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