Leveraging Change for Continuous Process Improvement

Introduction

Today, scientific and business literature is abundant with guidelines and recommendations on how to manage organizational changes. Some of the most common suggestions are creating a plan, thoroughly assessing its feasibility, considering the interests of all the stakeholders, reviewing the results, and making needed corrections. The central obstruction to change implementation is resistance from the employees due to the fear of the unknown. Overcoming the fear is crucial for the success of the endeavor. Even though the considerations mentioned above are designed for organizations, they are useable for personal changes if adequately modified.

Situation Description

One of the major changes in my life was to retire from the US military and return to school to start a new career. After several years in the army, I decided that the occupation does no suit me since I wanted to have a normal life with a job that can provide a stable income to support my family. It was evident that a bachelor’s degree was crucial for a new career. I was too old to start a medical school, and becoming a nurse was the next best option. Even though I had to overcome many difficulties, it was a worthy endeavor, and I am fully satisfied with my decision.

While I had little doubt in my decision, I still had to face several problems. First, I was older than an ordinary student, and I feared that I would be unable to fit into the process. Even though this may appear to be a minor psychological concern, the feeling made me procrastinate and doubt my judgment. Second, I was aware that I would face financial problems. I had sufficient savings to support my living for the transitional phase. However, I was unsure how long it will last and tried to keep my expenses to the minimum. Third, I had to deal with the reactions of my friends and family since I would have less personal time, and my socialization circle would change. While most of my family supported my decision, many of my friends expressed deep concern and discontent with it. In short, the challenges I faced were typical for any personal or organizational change.

Analysis

One of the major problems with retiring from service and returning to school was the fear of the unknown. Since I did not create a feasible plan, I did not have documented proof that the change would be beneficial in the long run. According to Bhandola (2015), seeing changes in a positive light is vital for favorable reactions from all the stakeholders. Even though I was unable to articulate the problem, I found ways to address the issue. I started looking for examples among my acquaintances made a similar decision to prove its feasibility. This search was crucial for overcoming the psychological factors described above since I realized that today, many people return to school being much older than typical students. However, the fear of financial instability remained unaddressed, and I lived through the change with it.

Another central obstruction to the change process becoming efficient was the failure to communicate with my friends and family about it. At that time, I believed that the decision had nothing to do with anybody else since I was the only one affected by its implications. In other words, I did not fully realize that the change process had other stakeholders, and their resistance could make the process go slower. According to Prosci (n.d.), communication with all the stakeholders is crucial for the success of the endeavor. Communication planning “begins with a careful analysis of the audiences, key messages, and the timing for those messages” (Prosci, n.d., para. 11). I also failed to collect the feedback about the change in any form to make corrections to my actions, which is one of the essentials in change management, according to Doll, Cornelison, Rath, and Syme (2017). In brief, the analysis shows that the change was poor management due to the absence of appreciation of others’ interests.

Recommendations

Recent research in business and healthcare management could have been used to make the change process go smoother. According to Joshi (2014), any change should be safe, effective, timely, and efficient. Therefore, I should have elaborated a plan that would assess all the factors and issues to abandon all doubts. The paper needed to include a financial prediction with specific references to other people who had lived through a similar change. Such a plan would be central for confirming the feasibility of the project and would help to assess the readiness for change, which vital, according to Prosci (n.d.). In short, the first recommendation for implementing such a change is to create a written plan of action.

Another suggestion that becomes evident from the analysis section is the need to appreciate all the stakeholders and communicate with them. I had to realize that many people have a vested interest in my affairs, and they can help the change to go more natural. For instance, if I discussed with my friends that my decision was vital, they would be able to support me emotionally. We could think of the time to spend together instead of being upset and misunderstood. The information from the recent research gave me an insight that the lack of psychological support was my mistake and not the fault of my friends and family. In brief, my second recommendation would be to assess the possible stakeholders of the change process and attend to their needs.

Conclusion

Organizational change is comparable to personal change due to the similarity of challenges that are met during the implementation. The present paper offers an example of how principles articulated in modern business, and scientific literature can be used to manage personal changes. The common problems of the endeavor include emotional issues, fear of financial instability, and failure to appreciate all the stakeholders. The recommendations include the elaboration of a plan of operations to ensure financial feasibility and overcome the fear of the unknown and recognize all the people who have a vested interest in the change process to take their considerations into account.

Discussion Question 1

Q.: Given the different perspectives on change by those who like it and those who dread it, discuss how you would develop readiness for change in a group that mixes both types of people.

A.: Readiness for change is developed by effective communication with all the staff members. First, awareness about the need for change is crucial to create a desire among employees. This is achieved by thoughtful assessment of the audience, precise articulation of the message, and careful choice of time (Prosci, n.d.). Second, the feasibility of the change should be confirmed and communicated to all the stakeholders to address the possible fear of failure. This is done by recruiting experienced leaders and attracting sponsors to ensure financial and management stability of change (Prosci, n.d.). Third, the change process plan is to be thoroughly documented to help to manage the fear of the unknown among employees. The plan should include vivid examples of first-hand experiences of other people who have gone through similar change and its results. I also want to point out that change is a constant process, and the three points mentioned above are relevant for developing readiness for improvement projects. For the staff to be ready for any change, the lead culture should be developed on hospital grounds, and the turn-over rate needs to be kept a minimum.

Discussion Question 2

Q.: In health care, change agents are faced with the challenge of engaging both employed staff and physicians in change initiatives. Frequently they have different perspectives and different agendas. Discuss your thoughts on how this can be managed so that everyone can feel that they are heard and that some common ground can be achieved.

A.: In change management, it is vital to keep all the stakeholders satisfied with the process and results. The feeling is best achieved through numerous collaborations to considered different perspective and agendas. The primary strategy to keep all staff members pleases with the change is by creating a multidisciplinary management team. Doll, Cornelison, Rath, and Syme (2017) state that change process “must be led by an interdisciplinary group of change leaders who understand the transformational quality of organizational change” (p. 313). These leaders are to become representative of different groups of stakeholders and advocate their interests. However, these leaders should not be top managers who may appear detached from the everyday needs of care providers. All the members of the change management team should be valued and respected employees to reinforce the feeling that the process is in good hands.

In addition to the considerations above, the results of the change process are to be evaluated by conducting a survey among all the staff members. A careful review of the results and further corrections considering the feedback from the stakeholders can become central for making everyone feel that they are heard. In short, even though the implementation of changes may be challenging, efficient techniques may be implemented to negate the possible adverse events.

References

Bhandola, P. (2015). Leveraging change for continuous process improvement. Pharmaceutical Technology. Web.

Doll, G., Cornelison, L., Rath, H., & Syme, M. (2017). Actualizing culture change: The Promoting Excellent Alternatives in Kansas Nursing Homes (PEAK 2.0) program. Psychological Services, 14(3), 307-315. Web.

Joshi, M. (2014). Change is constant, but improvement is rapid. Hospitals & Health Networks. Web.

Prosci. (n.d.). Change management process. Web.