A quick look at the health and human service field finds what I like to think of as a living laboratory for change management—from newly empowered consumers, to rapid turnover of employees and leadership, and the increasingly difficult practice of “connecting the strategic dots” in the face of new tech, new competition, new financing systems, and new performance expectations. The requirements to “keep up” are changing so quickly, that the ability to thrive seems close to impossible for many leaders who are under the gun to deliver on value-based contracting. The demand for leaders that can lead provider organizations through change management initiatives—“change agents”—is extremely high.
For health and human service executives, the “change agent” mindset is key, and it means recognizing that change management is integral to all performance management—from identifying targets, setting goals, and managing a team with strong metrics (see For ‘Agile’ Organizations, Change Management IS Performance Management). The question is, how do you become an effective change agent when most of what today’s executives know was learned during a previous era of more stable health care operations management? I thought the Forbes article, Every Leader Must Be A Change Agent Or Face Extinction, laid out a few key elements today’s executive should build into their skillset. Here is my quick test to decide if you are a change agent leader.
Do you have multigenerational influence? Many leaders understand that the latest generation of professionals (the Millennials) to enter the workforce are key to adapting to the new market, but few have actively prepared for this shift. This is a mistake, as the talent, perspectives, and expertise (think technology) of this generation will be key to adapting to the future (see The Keys To Growing Millennial Leaders).
Do you have cultural intelligence? “Culture is the new currency for growth” is a great mantra, but only if leadership understands that building an organizational culture that values both staff and consumers from a wide variety of backgrounds is fundamental to adaptability and market staying power (see Operationalize Your Connection Culture).
Do you meet consumer demand? This is common knowledge for most industries, but consumer behavior has just become one of the most powerful influences in how many health care provider organizations run their operations. If you don’t know what your consumers want and how to deliver it, no amount of change will be radically successful (see What Do Your Consumers Want?).
Have you invested in women leaders? Women are underrepresented in leadership (just 15% of executives are women), with fewer promotions (for every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted) and smaller paychecks (women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man). This state of affairs isn’t going to last at the most successful organizations and represents one of the key ways for organizations to build positive change into their strategies (see Developing Female Leaders In Your Organization).
Do you have an entrepreneurial attitude? Entrepreneurial and innovative are technically different but should still be fundamentally linked in any strategy for adapting to future change. They both demand creativity, vision, risk, and the ability to work with stakeholders and partners both in health care, as well as organizations that are making in-roads from other fields (see A Big Opportunity For Someone).
Have you invested in technology? More and more executives are asking about the role that tech plays in their organizations, which is good. But tech changes so quickly, and the opportunities for using it are easily missed (or adopted too late). Provider organizations need to make a tech scan a key part of their strategic planning, and hire the staff needed to adopt and utilize it (see After ‘Reinventing’ The CFO, It’s The CIO’s Turn).
Can you manage a crisis? For health care, “crisis” usually means dealing with consumers in crisis. But when it comes to change management, this means that leaders need the vision to identify major obstacles and changes coming down the pipe and position the organization to weather the change. In an increasingly competitive and changing market, this means understanding strategic advantage of an organization’s services and the financial metrics of sustainability (see Implementing A Strategic Plan? Go From Vision To Project Plan).
Has your business model evolved? Everything on this list leads up to the primary challenge for today’s health and human service executive. How do you build a business model that can take all the changes into account and leverage solutions to the biggest change of all: value-based reimbursement (VBR)? No matter how you slice it, you will need to prove your business case, as well as demonstrate you have the operational ability to pull it off (see The Four-Part Checklist For VBR Success).
For more on change management, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:
- What Do Today’s Leaders Think About Managing Change?
- Creating and Leading A Team in Times of Change
- Don’t Just Sit There: Change!
- Managing Change as a Leader’s Challenge
- Managing at the Speed of Change: What Does It Take to Be Nimble?
- Bot, Anyone? The Question-What Services Can You Automate?
- Anticipating The Looming Strategic Surprises
- Add ‘Speed’ To Your Treatment Tech Planning List
- Even ‘Change Management’ Is Changing
- Taking The Risk On A New Service
For more on adapting to the fast-paced change in today’s health and human services field, join me on September 12 for The 2019 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat session, “Executive Strategic Role Becoming The Agent Of Change For Your Organization”, featuring Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, EdM, Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS.