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You Have the Model -- Now Here are 10 Actionable Tips for Successfully Implementing Change

By Scott Stanley

Did you miss last week's blog that introduced a model for managing complex change? Check it out here!

It seems simple: just download the Pulsara app from the App Store or Google Play store, and voilà! We've reduced communication errors, decreased door to balloon times, and we given our stroke patients a better chance at an improved quality of life after their recovery. It's that simple, right?

Not so fast ... the technology is only about 5% of the solution. Process workflows account for another 15%. But 80% of successfully implementing the Pulsara platform is about PEOPLE!

Think about it -- something as seemingly simple as asking a paramedic to use an app on their smartphone actually requires a significant change in their current process. And, it's a process that they've been repeating their whole careers, multiple times a day. Considering that, it's no wonder teams can be resistant to change! So how can you alleviate this fear of change and get your people on board? Read on!

A perfect implementation of change doesn't exist, though if you read my colleague's blog from last week about change management, you're well equipped with a framework that Team Pulsara has seen great success following. You've seen that change management is possible. But even with this framework, you'll undoubtedly still encounter challenges from within. Below are ten actionable tips to help you implement change successfully in your organization.

1. Address the human side of the change.

New processes will be created, and new skills will have to be learned. A formal approach to this change should be adopted early, and adapted often, starting with the leadership team, and flowing all the way through to team member. Change often produces fear -- be available to support your staff, and assure them that they will withstand the change and have simpler processes as an outcome.

2. Start at the top.

Teams will look to their leadership for strength and guidance during times of change. When staff sees executives supporting and encouraging change, they are more likely to buy in to the process.

3. Involve every layer.

Changes (like implementing Pulsara) involve everyone from management all the way down to the new CT Tech who's fresh out of orientation. Get input from departments on the best way to roll out the change and find out what resources they will need to make this successful. Provide them the outcome and let them provide the process to get there. Their ingenuity may just surprise you!

4. Make the formal case.

People are rational. Articulate the reason you need change --  the “why.” Then provide your team with a roadmap for how this change will get them there. By providing this guidance, you will be setting your staff up for success.

5. Create Ownership.

This is more than having your staff buy in to the change; this is the team being involved early on and providing input on the best way to change processes that are not working. When they own the change, it is more likely to be successful.

6. Communicate the Message.

In step 4, we made the formal case for change and established our “why.” If we fail to communicate that message, staff will not understand the need for this change and will often resist. When communicating the message, use various different media and even redundant channels to ensure that the message reaches all involved in the way they prefer to consume it.

7. Assess the cultural landscape.

This step will help leadership assess the organization's readiness and willingness to change, identify conflicts and competing interests to the change, and understand what influences sources of leadership and resistance. If you have a strong positive culture, use that to your advantage.

8. Address that culture explicitly.

Leaders should be explicit about the culture and underlying behaviors that will best support the new processes, as well as find opportunities to model and reward those behaviors. Understanding that all companies have a cultural center — the locus of thought, activity, influence, or personal identification — is often an effective way to jump-start culture change.

9. Prepare for the unexpected.

Human nature is unpredictable. Throw in a little change, and you have a perfect formula for the unexpected. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the change, you will be able to anticipate where there may be issues. Flexibility and continual reassessment of the change process will allow you to enact back up plans and stay on track for successful implementation and future adherence to new processes and technologies.

10. Speak to the individual.

Individuals (and teams of individuals) need to know how their work will change, what is expected of them during and after the change program, how they will be measured, and what success or failure will mean for them and those around them. It is the individual that makes change happen. Providing them with honest, frequent feedback is vital to the overall change process so that they know that they are on target for success in rolling out the change that is asked of them.

Change can be perceived by people in different ways. Using these ten tips will help you and your leadership team roll out a change in your facility or agency a little bit easier. Plan ahead, have an action plan, reassess, and communicate with your staff.

Change can be exciting and can bring great rewards to your team and those who benefit from their care. Remember, when implementing Pulsara, you are never alone. Team Pulsara will be with you every step of the way to help implement successful change in your facility. It's About People!

ARTICLE CATEGORIES: Change Management
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Scott Stanley

Scott Stanley

Scott has served as a Combat Medic, as a corpsman with the Naval Reserves Marine Unit, as a Firefighter, EMT, and paramedic, as a nurse, and most recently as the EMS coordinator at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

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