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Shifting Perceptions of Change From Episodic Solutions to Always-on Strategy

Shifting Perceptions of Change From Episodic Solutions to Always-on Strategy

—Adapted from “Elevating Change Management: From Point Solution to Continuous Transformation,” by Tonia Breckenridge, Michelle Bright and Ryan McPherson, HealthLeaders, Oct. 14, 2019.

Healthcare leaders are grappling with unprecedented disruption, resulting in a greater need for agile, change-ready cultures. A change-ready culture accepts that change is constant and understands that success will not come from point-in-time solutions, but rather from meaningful, perpetual improvement. To create a change-ready culture, leaders must shift the organization’s perceptions of change management from an episodic solution to an ongoing strategy that becomes part of the organization’s DNA.

As traditional approaches to change shift, leadership practices must evolve to align with the organization’s aspirations. By actively modeling desired behaviors, leaders reinforce the mentality required for changes to be successful. To cultivate an organization that is able to evolve continuously, its leaders should do the following:

  • See change as a transformative competency. Recognize that change is continuous, and multiple changes must occur simultaneously. This requires a culture that accepts change as the norm and becomes so good at changing that it thrives during disruption.
  • Focus on your mission. This is your “why” for transformation and needs to be clearly, compellingly and continuously articulated in order to engage key stakeholders.
  • Hold employees accountable. Make it clear that adapting is not optional and reinforce this mentality through validation, coaching, rewards and recognition.

If the transformation employees are asked to take on are interpreted as overwhelming and complicated, it will make it harder for the changes to be adopted and sustained. Change should not feel impossible to achieve, and it does not have to require a significant amount of effort. Here are several essential steps:

  • Establish a shared vision of transformation within your organization. This will help curb change-related stress and confusion regarding the way forward.
  • Leverage data to create a high-level view of the organization. Rather than focusing on a broad problem, conduct an objective assessment and diagnose the challenges at hand with quantifiable data. Share these insights broadly to promote buy-in.
  • Demonstrate why. After you build your strategy, share data with stakeholders to explain why changes are critical for reaching organizational goals.
  • Identify advocates. Seek out individuals who will display model behaviors and encourage others to contribute to growth and sustainable performance. They can help determine who will be affected by change and how certain team dynamics may impede or accelerate progress.

Change within healthcare is no longer an option; it’s a necessity for long-term viability. Make sure leaders make the essential mind shift, then build momentum for transformational capability.



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