“I’m ready for things to change around here.” “I like change.” “I’m always up for something different.” These are the lies that we tell ourselves and others with so much confidence that we all believe it. These are the statements that I hear every time I enter a new medical practice. Things aren’t going well, there are tons of inefficiencies and something must be done about the morale.
Although these statements are made earnestly and the problems truly do exist, what typically prevents meaningful change from happening is that it requires that absolutely everyone make a personal change. Each individual is going to have to accept that there is something that they are doing that will have to be different and that’s where things stop progressing. Never have I kicked off a practice transformation hearing things like, “I need to mix things up with my workflow, there has got to be a better way,” or “I’ve really got to stop being the victim.” The fingers always point to someone, somewhere or something else. The need to change lies elsewhere.
How do we get passed this then? Well I can offer one insight to this issue, understand that historically change and efficiency have often lead to “fat” cutting. People will not “improve” themselves out of a job (sourced Journal of Healthcare Management). They need to feel secure that if they streamline their workflow they will continue to be employed, valued and redeployed to something else important. Culture won’t happen overnight. As you make incremental changes and demonstrate loyalty to your staff, the more secure and empowered people will feel to make changes and improvements. They’ll do so without fear of one day having made everything work so well that they’re no longer needed.