5 Tips to Become a Successful Change Agent in Healthcare

Change Agent Healthcare
By:
Cejka Search
Posted:
October 15, 2019 02:45 AM (GMT-05:00)
Categories:
Thought Leadership

An organization that resists change cannot move forward. When healthcare leadership is inflexible, unmotivated or simply doesn’t understand current challenges, new leaders are often brought in to correct the situation. To be successful in this endeavor, those new leaders must be true change agents.
But what does that really mean?

Successful change agents can come from varied backgrounds however, they tend to have specific traits in common:

  • Change agents are excellent listeners. They earn the trust of their teams by creating open lines of communication and they gain buy-in by allowing their team member’s concerns to be heard.
  • Change agents tie business goals with operational and cultural priorities, streamlining and standardizing the decision-making process.
  • Change agents bring an entrepreneurial attitude and a clear focus on accountability; they want to move forward and inspire others to move forward, as well.

While most true agents of change can come into a difficult situation and make improvements, the best change agents will hardwire process improvements into the organization’s culture, to ensure future returns on the investment. To effectively lead change that lasts, healthcare leaders must be mindful of these critical points during the journey:

The first step in driving successful change is often overlooked or it is skipped based on assumptions. Before you know where you are going, you must truly understand where you are. It is easy to look at the large problems and try to move forward quickly. However, you must understand how the problems developed and how far they reach beneath the surface. This requires work to create a clear picture of the challenges your organization faces, the current performance metrics across the entire continuum and an accurate measurement of the current levels of employee engagement.

When leading change, goals are much more than just numbers or metrics. Aspects of operations, finance and culture must all come together to create a set of future goals that will move your organization forward. Building a plan to reach those goals should include checkpoints along the way, progress markers, key performance indicators and opportunities to increase buy-in by celebrating successes with your team during the journey.

  1. Be clear on your starting point

    The first step in driving successful change is often overlooked or it is skipped based on assumptions. Before you know where you are going, you must truly understand where you are. It is easy to look at the large problems and try to move forward quickly. However, you must understand how the problems developed and how far they reach beneath the surface. This requires work to create a clear picture of the challenges your organization faces, the current performance metrics across the entire continuum and an accurate measurement of the current levels of employee engagement.

  2. Understand the organization’s goals

    When leading change, goals are much more than just numbers or metrics. Aspects of operations, finance and culture must all come together to create a set of future goals that will move your organization forward. Building a plan to reach those goals should include checkpoints along the way, progress markers, key performance indicators and opportunities to increase buy-in by celebrating successes with your team during the journey.

  3. Communicate with your team

    In order to gain commitment from your team, you must tell them where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. Communicate openly and allow team members to be candid with their questions, concerns and feedback. The stronger the connection is between your team and your organization’s change journey, the greater their passion will be to achieve positive outcomes. Creating a plan for consistent, credible communications will keep your team updated on progress, as well as quelling any rumors that may arise during times of change.

  4. Use the tools available

    In today’s quality-focused healthcare environment, data is the driver behind many change initiatives. To successfully lead change, you need to measure and monitor data on every level – outcomes data, utilization data, cost data. Data is a common language that can cut through the emotional reactions during a time of change and demonstrate the truth of the situation. Data can also provide benchmarks and keep team members accountable to staying on course.

  5. Focus on people AND processes

    Successfully leading change is about the organization and the team, so you must incorporate elements of both into your goals and plans. There is almost always resistance to change, simply based on fear of the unknown. To instill change that will last, you must understand the resources required, as well as the feelings and passions of the team regarding the current and future state of your organization. As you build your plans for the future, make sure that the goals and priorities are aligned to meet both the operational and personal needs of your team.

The idea is, ultimately, for your change agent to not just fix the problems, but to build a culture of change for the organization moving forward.

Connect with a Cejka Search executive leader to learn more about how to find the right healthcare leader to meet this challenge, and many other’s in today’s healthcare environment.

Bookmark and Share