If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer
Change in healthcare is taking place at an incredible pace, and indeed might be our only constant.
In my work as a nurse consultant, I am fortunate to see once struggling teams thrive through change and embrace a new mindset : Serving families with compassionate, efficient, patient-focused and evidence-based care.
I was talking with a practice manager not long ago about meetings she held with nursing staff to discuss a new direction the organization was taking. A young medical assistant stood up during one of the information meetings and said – “before you start telling us about what we will be doing – can you please explain why?” We both agreed her question got to the heart of the matter:
People won’t buy into what you do without knowing why you do it.
With that in mind, here are 3 strategies to consider when leading the change process:
Set an example
As a leader in your practice, others turn to you for direction in business needs, behavior, ethics, and standards. If others in your business are to change, you need to set an example. One of my early career mentors once told me during a coaching session, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
Walk around and talk to people.
Today’s leaders manage a team better through face-to-face interactions, while learning more about challenges on an individual basis. One of the most effective and well respected practice managers I know made it a weekly habit of walking through every department of the three-story practice. Not just buzzing through. He took the time to meet every single person who worked at the practice. Through his ‘walking rounds’, he built his reputation as an interested and trusted manager.
To be a leader of change, it’s critical to be honest in your interactions with other people. You don’t have to open yourself up like a book, but being a leader also doesn’t mean you need to hide your emotions. Just let people get to know you. Doing so allows you to build trust and rapport.
Target every group within your practice regarding your campaign for change, explaining to each why change is necessary. For example, the practice Board of Directors may be curious about the long-term effects of the change. Or, your staff may want to know how they will personally be affected by proposed changes.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Keep your team members up-to-date on what’s happening…before, during, and after the change. Don’t assume everyone knows. It may help to set up a formal way of communicating…something as simple as a succinct weekly email update. By keeping everyone informed, you reduce the chances of low productivity and low morale.
Change can be hard, but altering the pace of change in our environments is not likely to be a leadership option now or in the future. What is within our control is how we personally respond to change.
How have you been able to help your team cope effectively with change? I’d love to hear your story!