Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC) does a lot of work with clients that are struggling to drive change. Many are healthcare clients, and over the years, we’ve become adept at spotting trends while we’re out in the field. What we’ve been noticing lately is something that, frankly, we find rather troubling.
What we’re hearing firsthand from a number of healthcare leaders is that these fast-changing times are posing serious challenges for them. As I explain in my recent article in Hospital Impact, CEOs are feeling enormous pressure to reduce costs, improve quality, change care delivery, reduce readmissions, focus on the population’s health, concentrate on the individual’s utilization, and on and on. (You can read the article here.)
Are you feeling intense pressure to change, too?
As I say in my article: “It doesn’t matter if it is a hospital or a multi-specialty group of doctors joining a new healthcare system. The demands upon leaders and staff to change is proving overwhelming.”
But diametrically opposed to these demands is the fact that our brains hate to change. Learning new things is just hard, meaning that old ideas and ways of doing things often survive long past the time when they make any sense or add much value. The result? In the blink of an eye, an organization can find itself drastically behind.
The times they are a-changin’. What to do? How do you drive change?
New ways of working involving new policies and procedures. Here are five steps to help start your company’s change process and keep it going:
- Rewrite the story. If you are going to implement a change process that your team will actually embrace and put into practice, you need to rethink your company’s core story. Have your staff write down today’s story and read it out loud. Then have them write a second story about how the company is going to change and what that will mean for them. Both stories will reveal to you the major obstacles your people are anticipating, i.e. their worst nightmares.
- Anticipate the hurdles. Step 2 is to pay attention to the barriers to change that come out of their stories. In the new story, everyone on your team needs to become new players, performers and heroes, and hopefully, they will love their new roles.
- Build in small wins. Step 3 revolves around creating small wins.Celebrate each win with the team. Then set forth an action plan for maximum engagement. You want everyone to be learning a new role and playing it at the same time.
- Encourage skill development. Step 4 is all about skill development, which is essential. Change programs often fail because people are told what to do or are directed to change. Real change requires new skills, and your team members need time to learn how to perform their new jobs using these new skills.
- Hold off altering your compensation structure. The lesson of Step 5 is not to focus on the financial rewards and salaries too soon. What motivates people the most, even more than money? A feeling of camaraderie, shared effort, teamwork and celebrating shared success—far more than if they had done something alone.
How to start your own change journey
A successful change process ought to be about you and your team learning how to bring new solutions to life for your organization. When you plan it, manage it and put it into practice (rather than outside consultants), your team will champion your leadership.
Want to know more about adapting to today’s healthcare challenges?
These 2 blogs about how to adapt in today’s volatile, fast-changing times.
1. Innovative Solutions Abound As Healthcare Shifts From the Hospital to the Home
2. What To Do Now That Consumers Are Redesigning Their Own Healthcare Solutions?
These days, healthcare organizations must learn to adapt, and fast. The old ways of doing things aren’t going to cut it anymore. But implementing real change, and making it stick, is very hard to do.
Are you ready to change? We can help you navigate the process and most importantly, make sure your team is on board. Contact us for a complimentary consultation. We’d love to hear from you.
From Observation to Innovation,
Andi Simon, Ph.D.
Corporate Anthropologist | President
Simon Associates Management Consultants