Going Through “Valley of Despair” and SUCCEED

Valley of Despair Change ManagementWhen a new business system or model is implemented something like a learning curve happens, but on a much larger scale. The phenomenon is often called “Valley of Despair”. It gets its name from the visual representation in charts and graphs that track productivity and other key metrics enterprise-wide.

“The Valley of Despair” describes an early but steep decline in performance metrics, followed by an anticipated rise to previously established performance levels which then go on to exceed previous conditions.

Valley of Despair

The “Valley of Despair” is a natural reaction to a major change when a new business model or system is implemented. This negative impact can be exasperated by confusion and social resistance expressed in the actions of individuals across key work groups.

It can foster a culture of competition and/or resistance vs. cooperation. It can compromise engagement and can create barriers to information sharing and workplace innovation. All this if you have a wise change management approach.

The condition is common enough that it is generally factored into the economic business case that financially justifies the new venture. However, it can be proactively managed and thus shortened providing a source of incremental net revenue for the firm. The use of recognition is a valuable tool for companies looking to accelerate positive outcomes.

Devices that communicate the rationality for change, set expectations that align values, recognize individuals or work groups who adoption to change are valuable tools in humanizing performance expectations.

Thru recognition individuals begin to see first hand how the change benefits them personally and helps them understand their role in helping the enterprise and its stakeholders archive their goals.

How to know if you will get out of Valley of Despair?

It’s all about asking yourself the right questions.  “Is your project withing the planned budget and on schedule? Are your employees happy with the way business evolves?”

A “YES” answer means that you are doing well. Better days will come soon!

An “NO” answer talks about stacking in Valley of Despair. Take measures as soon as possible!

What is the cause of the sharp drop in productivity in Valley of Despair?

There are many problems that may cause a stagnation in productivity. However, some of the most common reasons are limited to:

  • Not paying attention to the new challenges occurring during the project;
  • The process of implementation is executed with many deficiencies;
  • Lack of involvement of stakeholders in decision-making process;
  • Bad handling of change management plan.


In the start, people are excited, but along with the increase of workflow they start to have problems with taking decisions and stop seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  This is the Valley of Despair. It is a natural stage during your business development.

Nothing to fear of. All you have to do is to plan for change so that you will manage to get everyone running up and get out of stagnation blocks.  Strong employees support and recognition is definitely a great way to keep them motivated until they start feeling the joy of  uphill riding.

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