Implementation Insights Blog

Implementation Management Associates help organizations around the world achieve large-scale, complex change. This blog discusses our insights into organizational change.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Organizational Change Management Should Be A Core Capability for Healthcare Transformation

There's a lot in the news right now about the need for healthcare transformation, both in the U.S. and the UK. While there are differences in the current state and the future vision depending on the country, healthcare transformation won't be successful without significant attention being paid to the implementation of these changes.

Naturally, there is focus on healthcare IT, including electronic medical records and other technology improvements, and attention on healthcare business process improvement, there's a lot less discussion on healthcare change management. How do you get adoption and behavior change in a complex organization structure involving nurses, physicians, technicians and a variety of healthcare professionals who have important work to do? Work disruption created by significant organizational change can impact quality of patient care, patient satisfaction, and patient outcomes.

If you are concerned about how to manage resistance to change (yes, it is inevitable) and how to accelerate healthcare business changes, you have to develop internal capability across the organization. Organizational change management consulting has to be focused not on doing it for you, but on how you can do it better for yourself.

These changes are not going to end anytime soon, so your organization best be prepared with a systematic and systemic approach for implementing healthcare transformation that can be repeated for the programmatic changes you will continue to experience. If you can unite in using a common framework like IMA's Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) to build change agent capacity, if you can use a common language, and common deliverables across all the healthcare transformation changes you will gain acceleration and reduce the human casualties of organizational change.

We do have examples of success that we can point to in the healthcare environment where change management best practices have been applied. For example, in Australia, the New South Wales Health organization has been using IMA's AIM methodology for a variety of clinical transformations, including electronic medical records. IMA's role in institutionalizing the AIM methodology has been to provide organizational change management consulting focused on teaching change agents and sponsors involved in a variety of healthcare transformation activities how to tactically apply change management principles that will improve change readiness, sponsorship, communications and behavioral change reinforcements.

Healthcare transformation and organizational change management must be considered together in order to achieve implementation success and project return on investment.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sponsorship is #1 Factor in Organizational Change Management Success

There was an interesting question in the Project Manager Discussion Group on LinkedIn this morning--- what is the number 1 reason for project failure? There are lots of contributing factors, but without a doubt, the top reason for project failure and reduced project return on investment is lack of Project Sponsorship.

If you get Sponsorship for your strategic initiative right, you will be positioned for success. Without it, you are pretty much doomed to fail. We find that despite its critical importance, Sponsorship is one of the most misunderstood aspects of organizational change management. It is an active condition, and it’s based on three distinct behaviors that a Sponsor must demonstrate for the entire lifecycle of the project:
1. What is Expressed by the Sponsor
2. What is Modeled by the Sponsor
3. What is Reinforced by the Sponsor

Since project implementation success is directly linked to adoption of behavioral change, the Sponsor must Express, Model and Reinforce the new behaviors. Most Sponsors have never been made aware of how their own behavior contributes to organizational change management and project return on investment.

This is true for all types of projects and strategic initiatives, including healthcare transformation, business process re-engineering, mergers and acquisitions, and organizational re-structurings.

The good news is that you can measure Sponsorship and train Sponsors why what they model and reinforce is so critical to successful organizational change management. If you want to accelerate implementation, limit resistance to organizational changes, and get to project return on investment, focus your attention on Sponsorship.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Business Transformation is Both Strategic and Tactical

The current economic climate has spurred many organizations to assess their own strategic weaknesses while also identifying competitive market opportunities. This is leading to an increase in business transformation activities. By its nature, business transformation is strategic, but it is also tactical. In other words, business transformation can only be successful when it is linked to tactical organizational change management processes.

If your organization is going to engage in large scale, complex organizational change that involves multiple work streams, you will not achieve your business change objectives without a structured, tactical process that can be applied across these multiple projects. Business transformation programs typically involve projects with significant interdependencies, and must be managed on an enterprisewide basis. At the same time, it is extremely useful to have a robust, systematic organizational change management methodology (like AIM—the Accelerated Implementation Methodology) that can be applied through all phases of the programmatic lifecycle.

Remember that it isn’t sufficient to just install business transformation changes—these changes need to be implemented through to behavior change and behavior adoption if the organization is going to achieve project return on investment. Business transformation initiatives that focus solely on business and technical objectives, but ignore the human objectives, will fall short. You’ll pay for this in resistance to the business transformation changes that will slow you down or even cause failure.

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