Non-Negotiables for Successful Change / Adoption Effectiveness

This is the fourth post in a series of articles highlighting adoption effectiveness for the healthcare setting.

In our last blog on August 30, we discussed the importance of leveraging active executive sponsorship and on-the-ground change agents to enhance adoption of any new initiative or technology. This post will highlight three “Non-Negotiables” for consideration during program design and implementation, which can greatly increase adoption success across the organization.

Three Non-Negotiables

1) Maintaining the Balance of Technical Requirements + People Preparation

Maintaining the balance between an initiative’s technical requirements and the people preparation required to bring about rapid, effective adoption is a critical aspect of program planning, design and implementation. The first step in creating that balance is understanding that there is a significant difference between project management and change management. While both are intended to bring the organization from a current state to a future state, the focus area of each is quite different.

Project management tends to primarily be about the technical aspects of the initiative – planning and executing a move from an “old” process or technology to a “new” process or technology. There is usually some training planned, but that too is often technically oriented – how to use the new system and what support is available if problems arise. Key documents in project management often include technology specifications, budget estimates, transition schedules by department, training schedules and other functional plans and measures.

Change management instead is primarily focused on the people aspects of this same change. Highlighted in the previous blog, recognizing the personal aspects of change is the starting point.  Performing stakeholder analysis activities and readiness assessments are critical aspects of designing for and then preparing people for the coming change. Identifying end users’ current processes and workflow needs will highlight how much change management will be required. By combining technical requirements planning and people preparation activities, chances of successful adoption effectiveness are greatly increased

2) Clear, Compelling and Consistent Communications

Probably one of the most challenging aspects for both initiators and receivers of change is related to program communications. Creating clear, compelling and consistent communications is one of the key, make-or-break aspects of program success.

To really make the connection and win both hearts and minds, the executive sponsor should clearly communicate “why” the program is being undertaken. Simon Sinek, author and consultant, aptly argues that great leaders who want to inspire organizations to act should “start with why” – why the program is being undertaken, why it matters to the organization and the people whom the organization serves and how it will take everyone into a new vision, a new future.

In addition to the why, another key component of the communication planning is helping stakeholders understand how they personally and professionally fit into this new future – what their role is, how they will be a key piece of bringing about this vision and how their role and daily operations will change for the better as the organization moves together toward the new vision.

3) Resistance and Incentive Planning

Most people have heard the phrase, “Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail.” As it relates to adoption effectiveness, the statement certainly rings true and is particularly relevant for understanding potential sources of resistance and appropriate incentives for change. Resistance and incentives can be thought of as two sides of the same coin.

Human nature is such that in situations requiring behavior change, even when we instigate the change ourselves, we are more likely to resist until avenues of resistance are removed and effective incentives have been implemented.

In looking at resistance, organizations should be mindful that there are two types – active and passive.  Active resistance is more likely seen in overt actions, such as a quiet refusal to use the new technology by continuing to use the old system, for example. Passive resistance tends to be less overt in that an individual may avoid the situation altogether, neither using the new or the old systems and instead finding work-arounds to postpone having to make any changes or choices.

What are executives, department leads, functional team managers, and non-management staff actually incented to do?  What are the stated and unstated expectations and norms in the organization which may heavily influence behaviors and, therefore, results?  While we may immediately think of financial incentives, often the more powerful incentives are somewhat subtle and can be found in social interactions, workflows and other personal standards of behavior.

When evaluating the most impactful method for incentives and to counter resistance, it’s important to garner feedback and listen to what change agents and staff need to be successful and to understand what motivates them. Understanding how staff are responding to the new implementation and how the process can be improved creates a sense of ownership and empowerment, leading to less resistance and more employees embracing how the new technology will benefit their lives on a daily basis.

Join us September 13 for the final iteration of our series: Rearview Mirror – Lessons Learned and the Path Forward for Enhanced Adoption Effectiveness. InDemand Interpreting Client Services Manager Tricia Gervais will highlight key aspects of InDemand’s adoption effectiveness journey and its impact on client success.

Please reach out to me, Kim Taylor, with your thoughts and feedback on this post and if there’s something you’d like for us to cover in this series at mailto:kimt@slalom.com or czanetti@indemandinterpreting.com.

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