Leading Change Within Organizations: Why Disruption Is a Good Thing

August 25, 2021

// By Jane Weber Brubaker //

Jane Weber BrubakerHealth care has largely focused on disruption as a threat coming from outside the industry. The author of The Disruption Mindset turns that notion around, challenging companies to lead disruption from within.

The pandemic forced massive change on the world in a very short space of time. The health care industry shouldered its share of the disruption — and benefited from it, as provider organizations found new ways to safely connect with patients and deliver care.

“Change and disruption can be an incredibly positive force in our lives,” says Charlene Li, author of The Disruption Mindset and other bestselling business books. Li kicked off CMSWire’s Digital Experience Summit virtual summer session on July 29, delivering the keynote address, “Orchestrating Disruption to Create Your Next-Gen Customer Experience.”

If the health care industry was a living organism, now might feel like the right time to take a deep breath, slow the pace of change, and reflect on the past 18 months. And yet the impulse to slow down or even go backward to the old familiar ways is the wrong choice.

Charlene Li, bestselling author and expert on digital transformation, leadership, and customer experience

Charlene Li, bestselling author and expert on digital transformation, leadership, and customer experience

Because of the pandemic, Li says, “The way that we see the world — the inequities, the possibilities, our whole entire way that we think about the world — is completely different. That has fundamentally changed the way that customers are expecting us to show up for them.”

Anticipating those changed expectations, some enterprising individuals are “skating to where the puck is going,” as Wayne Gretzky famously said. Business formations in the U.S. are up 46 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, according to Li. “People are starting their own businesses, and the key thing that’s driving that is they see opportunities that are being created through all of this change and disruption,” she says.

There are abundant opportunities within health care to skate where the puck is going. Treating patients like customers and putting them front and center is an ongoing challenge in health care, but it’s the right challenge. “If you’re not focused on customer experience 100 percent of your time, if everyone in your organization isn’t focused on this, then you’re working on the wrong thing,” Li emphasizes.


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