The failure to execute change is a common problem in many organizations, but especially so in health care delivery organizations. Dan McLaughlin has often written on this blog about the challenges of executing strategy in health care organizations and how execution tools developed in the business world can be used by health care leaders to effectively implement change. In a recent blog post, Durwin Long shares an interesting analysis of the importance leadership plays in sparking change in any organization. Read on for his thoughts on change management.
This post was originally published by Durwin Long on March 21, 2011, on the Long on Leadership blog.
Most leaders acknowledge that change management is a key requirement of their job. Yet simply telling others to “Change!” is a singularly ineffective strategy. No matter how many times a leader’s dictate gets repeated, the people responsible for creating change simply won’t respond. They may not understand the change that’s being sought. They may not believe in the need for change or the benefits of the particular change in question. Or, they may resist the change outright in favor of the perceived safety and familiarity of the status quo.
I’ve been thinking about change management for two reasons. First, Daniel Coyle writes about change when he introduces the concept of “ignition” in The Talent Code. Simply put, Coyle’s concept of ignition refers to the exact moment when an individual is captivated by a new idea or experience. In turn, that spark of interest crystallizes a goal and motivates action toward that goal. Ignition is what happens, Coyle says, when a girl watching a superstar athlete says, “I want to do that too!” Or, when a boy in a classroom is thrilled by a song or a painting and decides to become a musician or artist himself.
The transformational change represented by ignition is the precursor to the “deep practice” that Coyle says is also essential for anyone who seeks to achieve excellence. For once a person is committed to a goal because he or she wholeheartedly believes in it, the work required to achieve the goal is no longer a chore but a source of fulfillment. (more…)