In the first part of this series, we talked about how people resist being changed when the senior management propose new initiatives. We have identified some barriers that hinder collective buy-in as part of continuous process improvement. We have said that lack of support from staff and middle management, lack of know-how or expertise on new methodologies to support leadership, lack of or deficiency in internal resources to roll out initiatives, budget constraints and hesitancy to invest in new strategies result to overall ineffective healthcare delivery system.
What can be done to address these challenges? Where do we look for solutions if indeed there are?
Get Staff and Middle Management to Buy-In To Enforce the Change That You Want
Resisting change is one thing, but dealing with people who resist change is another. It is such a daunting task. Who can get people to change their minds and hearts into accepting and supporting something new? It’s not like offering a substitute gourmet in lieu of the unavailable order from the menu of your restaurant and getting the answer, “Yes, we’d like to try that out please!” Waiters have better luck than the senior management of healthcare organizations when it comes to enticing people to try out something different.
Process improvement begins with eliciting trust from the staff and middle management. This is the first step in getting the support from the people. They should be able to see and feel that the change will benefit and help them in the long run even if the new initiatives mean added responsibilities and more time investment on their part. Senior management should know how to empathize with their people, to let them know that they see the problems that they see.
Remember, too, that workers are smart people and are experts at being hands-on. Without evidence of a potential success, mobilizing people would feel like dragging a heavy load without wheels. How about having data available for reference? This simple change can make a lot of difference.
Sometimes, in dire situations when trust is such a magnanimous issue, it is also better to endorse process improvement to external providers of such services. For one thing, people always trust a fresh perspective, especially from a bird’s eye view of known experts in their field.
On the other hand, lack of leadership support can be addressed in a variety of ways. Again, it may be best to seek services of experts who can say “done that, been there, and yeah, we did great!”. Your organization might be their next success story.
Support comes not only from people. Support for leadership may also mean availability of a common platform for communication, of automated processes to cut cost and time, of document and information management, or of restructured employee development and performance evaluations.
When lack of internal resources is a problem, engaging people for a collective buy-in can be outsourced. We cannot overemphasize this enough. To promote trust, the first step might as well be employee engagement as the management works on the premise that happy workers produce better quantity and quality output. If outsourcing is not an option at the moment, providing training on collaboration and closed loop communication just might be the answer to management dilemmas.
Budget constraints are harder to work around with. It’s like forcing more out of limited resources; doing more with less. Investing on new methodologies brings out skepticism from the top management who themselves desire change. What can help? Data presentation can help erase clouds of doubt that the new methods would work. Or it can be as simple as understanding the concept of investing more to be able to save more in the long term such as investing in workforce development, for example.
As many as there are barriers to gaining collective buy-in to roll out initiatives within health care organizations, so are solutions that are available to the management. Can ManageUp help? Yes, we can. Check out our menu of solutions here.