Healthcare leaders have sought to improve healthcare quality, delivery, efficiency, and customer service by using organizational change as a mechanism for success. Despite all the effort, most large-scale change management programs fail. There are no easy answers as to why healthcare leaders find themselves trying to solve the same problems year after year. Dramatic change can be the result of the added complexity from innovations in information systems, improved diagnostic tools and advances in treatment technology. Along with these come pressures to improve effectiveness and efficiency in clinical treatments while also maintaining optimal patient experience.
Are you doing everything you can to ensure a successful change? The following three steps are a great starting point:
- Set goals, objectives, and scope
For a change project to succeed, key stakeholders must establish clear and measurable goals, objectives and scope. Goals are longer-term targets an organization wants to accomplish. Objectives are shorter term milestones that link to the long-term goals. Finally, scope ensures that the change project remains focused and clear. The challenge for many healthcare leaders is figuring out a place to start. There needs to be widespread and dependable support across the organization with measurable and actionable steps. Without these components, the program will result in a loss of momentum.
- Build a team
Now that you’ve established that change is needed and you have set goals, objectives, and scope, it is time to build a team. A change project requires the alignment of key leaders within the organization. These leaders make up the governance structure that will ensure milestones are reached, issues are mitigated, and communication is ongoing. There are several key roles including:
- Change Steering Committee
- Change Project Sponsor
- Change Manager
- Change Readiness Advisory Councils
- Organizational Leaders, Managers, and Supervisors
Through collaboration and teamwork, leadership alignment can lead to effective change management and organizational readiness. A lack of executive sponsorship, employee engagement, ineffective change leadership, and miscalculating the complexity of change can lead to a high rate of change failure. Engaging an organization is crucial to the success of any change project. Communication should occur early and often. Many organizational leaders avoid communication early out of fear of resistance or because decisions regarding the change have not all been made. The development of an engaging communication plan involves plotting out the required sequence of messaging throughout the transformation process. When employees feel that change is being done to them or communication occurs too late, the damage is done, and change can fail. Instead, employees need to feel they have a voice. Communication is planned, begins early, is used to educate, and focused on the benefits of the change. Change communication is not marketing but is an engaging dialogue. Change communication is based on the organizational culture and occurs at all levels of the organization.
Implementing a successful change strategy can be complex and challenging. By setting goals, objectives, and scope, building a team, and communication, organizational leaders, can lay the groundwork for successful change management. Engagement will be critical to successful implementation, but involving the organization in communication and leading the change effort cannot be underestimated.