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Using Cost-Benefit Analysis to Avoid Change Fatigue

By Christopher Lee

The pursuit of perfection, the 5th Lean principle, represents a continuous improvement mindset, where the pursuit of perfection is an ongoing process that continuously evolves.  However, if not used properly, this concept can be taken to an extreme and cause change fatigue in an organization.

Organizational change fatigue is defined as “a general sense of apathy or passive resignation towards organizational changes by individuals or teams.”  It can be caused by several factors, but usually happens when change efforts are unfocused, uninspired, and/or unsuccessful. 

As business landscapes continuously change and the competition continues to be fierce, organizations become agitated and feel like they are missing out if they are not also continuously innovating.   While innovation is an important long-term goal, “as humans, we inherently need stability, order, and predictability. When change is always occurring, individuals begin to become overwhelmed, their ability to adapt becomes depleted, and the loss of control and uncertainty skyrocket.”.

Therefore, it’s critical to be mindful of the pace of change in order to allow staff to catch up and keep up.  Employees need time to understand and accept new concepts before an organization tries to improve or change those concepts again.  Change for the sake of change can become overwhelming and leave your employees apathetic at best and resistant at worst.

What Can We Do?

Change is important, but it’s even more important to prioritize which initiatives have higher priority and are time-sensitive. Staff and leaders have limited capacity and overextending their efforts can be detrimental to their production efficiency and morale.

In order to compare the investment efforts of each initiative and then to prioritize them properly, Trindent recommends the use of a familiar but powerful tool – a cost-benefit analysis.  This is a systematic approach to estimate and weigh the dollar value of benefits against the cost, financial and otherwise, that may be incurred in implementing those benefits.   

Once the analysis has been performed on each proposed initiative, they can be assessed and prioritized in orders of urgency, need, and return on investment.


Organizational leaders need to be cognizant of their teams’ capacity.  There is a balance between maintaining operational excellence and over-dedicating resource and time to continuous development initiatives.  By using cost-benefit analysis on each proposed project, executives can make informed and impactful decisions on which projects to prioritize.  

Instead of overloading employees with one change initiative after another and risking change fatigue, an informed and analyzed approach will ensure that your organization continues to evolve effectively.

Click here to learn more about Trindent’s approach to cost-benefit analysis