7 Questions When Planning For Successful Change in IDD/Special Needs
Now we know why we need to change and we know not to forget that people are a critically important aspect of change – the next question is how do we plan for successful change? This blog lists the 7 most important questions you need to answer when planning for success in the IDD/Special Needs environment. Let’s start!
To determine the size of the change we must clearly define our current state (ie where we are now) and the future desired state (where we want to be). We will use implementing a company-wide EHR as an illustration here. Rolling out an EHR (or electronic medical record ie EMR) system is a significant change and will require a lot of vision, dedication and guidance by the leader(s), administration and staff. To help you clarify your vision please answer the following questions – How do you handle documentation now (current state)? What will the final implementation of Focused EHR look like (target state)? What obstacles are blocking progress towards the target state? (consider things like suspicious, resistant staff; previous failed change events that may impact staff morale/expectations etc). There could potentially be many obstacles so focus on one or two and work on them by choosing a quick PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) experiment to mitigate potential problems.
In all organizations any change (eg EHR implementation) is based on the small changes in human behavior (i.e. people acting in new ways).
To answer some of these questions you may need the help of external experts. Don’t forget to ask for help from your vendor. (FYI – Focused Software has helped hundreds of people implement the software successfully so use our extensive experience, the free user guides/videos, charts and 24/7 LIVE industry best customer service when planning for your EHR change success!)
Today’s workforce frequently is more skeptical and questioning than ever before. They want to feel that the work they do makes a contribution. They also have greater awareness of their competition, of what other companies are doing; and they want their own company to succeed, both for personal reasons and as a point of pride. To effectively tap into this you are going to have to be emotionally intelligent.
Remember that planning for success requires commitment and buy-in from every member of the team. Be sure to address any hesitancy or resistance head-on; explore any barriers or stronghold mindsets (eg if it’s not broken, don’t fix it – it’s the way we’ve always done things – the staff or Host Home providers aren’t computer-literate, etc.). Brainstorm with team members to resolve misperceptions and worries in order to empower them to be part of the solution(s)!
“It’s only when you drop yesterday’s assumptions that you can glimpse tomorrow’s patterns and possibilities. To see deeper, unsee first.” – Umair Haq
Continuing with the EHR implementation example, in your mind create a very clear image of what it will be like to have the EMR/EHR fully implemented and then communicate this vision to your company/colleagues. It is critical that your employees’ individual patterns of behavior build up to substantial unidirectional organizational change that is everyone pulling in the same direction. The way to achieve this is to:
Switched on and alert employees demand a different kind of leader. These are leaders characterized by leading by example; they are doers and not just talkers. Use the EHR daily and show that you are using the EHR by responding to notifications/alerts etc. Other ways to show engagement include following up on tasks not completed, recognizing excellent e-documentation by staff. Planning for success requires that you visibly show your commitment to the project.
Your workforce may have been through so many management-led “change initiatives” that change is a bad word at your company. Leaders must provide their employees with hope, purpose, and encouragement to try new things. They must prepare them for a struggle, it will take time and it may not work perfectly. There is a learning curve (as mentioned before learning and some degree of initial failure characterizes all significant change). Like a coach, leaders have to encourage people to push on through, even if, at first, it seems like the new direction will be hard or not exactly what was planned.
Leaders can provide a sense of common purpose by rallying their workers with stories about how their collective efforts will create a better tomorrow (for great examples of business stories click – here). Such stories should provide hope, focusing on why the workers, as a collection of individuals, can do something to improve life for themselves, the organization – even the planet. Encourage them by emphasizing again and again that they should focus on the end result, that what they are currently going through will be worth it.
Facts and figures are memorable to computers, not to people. Critical data/analytics are more effectively emotionalized and remembered (and therefore actionable) by the listener when they’re embedded in a story.
In the IDD service industry the answer to this one is always – YES. The purchase of a new piece of office equipment, software or tool is not an end in and of itself. A key way to ensure successful implementation is to prepare your staff psychologically. You want an organization in which every staff member is looking every day for ways to make a better tomorrow this includes the implementation of Focused EHR. Remind your staff that planning for change and it’s implementation will be challenging but very much worth the effort in terms of time and money saved, efficiencies and new staff skills learned (ie they are growing their own resumes). Get your staff onboard because they are critical components of your success (yes – we’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating!).
Next week look out for the fourth and final part of our change management series blog for IDD/Special Needs execs!
If you would like a change for the better at your IDD/Special Needs company we invite you to find out just how much Focused Software can help. Implementing Focused EHR is easier than you think as we help you every step of the way as you implement effective, efficient and long lasting change. Automation is the smartest and most affordable efficiency change you can make! Call FOCUSED SOFTWARE TODAY!