Everything Is Changing but Change Management

September 6, 2019

Why Doesn’t It Work?

// By Andrea Simon, PhD //

Change is hard, and leadership style can either make it easier — or more difficult. When traditional change management processes try to fix the symptoms, not the disease, the result is friction, resistance, and company fatigue.

In today’s highly competitive, technologically disrupted health care environment, a constant across all industries is change. It cannot be ignored — it must be tackled.

Case in point: We were working with large health systems on how to manage the acquisition of new hospitals to ensure they changed their cultures to match that of the acquirer. The challenge was that the acquiring medical center was not sure what its own culture was today, much less what the newly acquired hospital’s culture was before the acquisition. How could it effectively change the new to fit the old? Without a process for culture change, it was struggling with the emergence of a dysfunctional merged organization.

Another case: A fast-moving health care system was now bringing on new managers. These young, energetic, and very different millennials had their own ideas about how to get things done. And they were certain that the old ways of doing things needed to change. The average age of the prior nurses and managers was 50. Both the current managers and those moving into those positions were certain that their ideas about how to do things were correct. How could we help them adapt both groups to create the future “ways we do things here” without the current tensions where everyone was resisting or rebelling?

It was time to change. But how, and how to make the changes stick?

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