“The Valley of Despair”—Asking yourself the right questions
- Posted by Joe Crandall
- On March 4, 2019
If you are launching a new project, new change initiative or introducing a new process—or improving an existing one—that significantly impacts your employees, there are some questions you should ask to ensure you are not lagging behind on your project or, even worse, missing your objective altogether. By asking a few simple questions, you can quickly understand whether or not you will achieve the desired outcome.
Question 1: Is your project on schedule, within your budget and well received by your employees?
If you answered, “Yes,” congratulations—you are doing something right!
If you answered, “No,” you may be stuck in the Valley of Despair.
Question 2: What is the Valley of Despair?
Answer: With each new project, there is a period of time where productivity decreases immediately after implementation. This loss in productivity occurs as a result of shifting your routine away from the way things are—how your employees do business before the change—to your desired outcome. Ideally, after this period of reduced productivity passes, your new project becomes a program and delivers the desired outcome, and your success will climb well beyond the level experienced before implementation.
Question 3: What causes the loss in productivity associated with the Valley of Despair?
Answer: There are several things that cause a dip in productivity, but some of the most significant culprits include:
1. Inefficient implementation processes
2. Ignorance of new responsibilities that come with the project
3. Lack of stakeholder buy-in
4. Inadequate change management plan
If you need a little more information to understand why your project isn’t working, think of it in these simple terms—New and better book keeping software would drastically improve the efficiency of a small business, but even the best new software on the market will fail to deliver value for your organization if you try and implement it with a broken or outdated process. If your employees do not understand how or why they will benefit from using the new software, they will not experience any benefit (and neither will your customers) If your management team cannot articulate the value of the new software and encourage their staff to get up to speed, your initiative will get lost in the mix. And if you fail to plan for the change that will need to take place in order to get everyone up and running with the new software system, it will never get out of the starting blocks.