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  • Chuck Hulse

The Business of Change

We are in the transition business, and by that I mean change business. MedMan is helping to transition hospital owned groups to doctor owned groups; we introduce new management - people and ideas; we are implementing next generation EMRs – the business of change. Much attention has been given to the distinction between technical change (we have the solution and need to implement) and adaptive change (we have a problem with no proven solution). Adaptive change is difficult not only because there is no road map but the degree of success is unknown. The corollary would suggest that technical change easy because we have proven steps and predictable result. Not so. Change is hard for most people, and at the end of the day success depends on engaging our people. Recently, a MedMan administrator asked for ideas for the office manager to standardize disparate processes at two offices location. After I shared 3-4 techniques, I realized how incomplete my response was, and after some reflection I offer two reminders for your next change initiative.

First, change has both a leadership and a management dimension. Start thinking about change from a leadership perspective before addressing the tactical, management perspective. Here are three leadership considerations:

  • Has leadership set a tone for change – inspired and empowered people?

  • Is the right leader available to lead the effort?

  • Is the trust level within the organization going to support open and candid communication?

  • What other projects are underway that could dilute this new change effort?

Second, remember that change itself is characterized by distinct steps or stages. Author John Kotter, in his book Leading Change, gave us the 8 Stage Process of Creating Major Change. Idahoan Joseph Bujak in his book Leading Transformational Change gave us 5 stages of managed change. In brief, they are:

  • Set a vision

  • Think small – segment the vision, developing tactical plans with individual accountability

  • Move fast on short term projects

  • Set clear metrics to measure achievement of progress

  • Celebrate wins – successes that are clearly related to the change, are unambiguous and highly visible and the people responsible

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