Have you heard Jared Herzog sing on ‘The Voice’?
You may have watched him turn three judges chairs but have no idea that the performance was actually his SIXTH attempt to nab a place on reality TV.
Herzog is a local hero to me and other Chattanoogans. He attends Lee College “just up the road” in Cleveland, TN. Nope, he’s not a music major. He is attending on an athletics scholarship, runs cross-country and will graduate with a marketing degree.
Jared and his perseverance have something in common with practice change. He set a goal and managed life’s moments.
We live in an age of dramatic change and uncertainty. Your dedication to change might not earn you a national platform to display your musical talent; but, you are a rock star to your patients. Helping people see clearly in all life’s challenging situations is your passion. This passion involves changing job responsibilities, practice direction and endlessly impacting team dynamics. Someone on your team (perhaps you) finds all this change unsettling.
Our dilemna is that we hate change and love it at the same time: what we want is for things to remain the same but get better. — Sydney Harris
Nobody is immune to wanting to resist change.
If you don’t like change, there’s nowhere else to go … you can’t avoid change by switching careers or flipping from private practice to corporate employment (or vice versa.) The challenge of dealing with change and the resulting stress have created new dilemmas and problems.
- Job-related suicides and employee violence are up. Workplace violence is the fastest-growing type of homicide. We live in the age of rage.
- Global uncertainty proliferates.
- Children are hurting. While 69 percent of parents say their stress has only a slight or no impact on their children, just 14 percent of youth say their parents’ stress doesn’t bother them.
The message is clear.: Many, if not most, have not learned to manage change.
Why is it that some people are change-skilled (able to cope with the changes they encounter) and others are change-averse (unable or incapable of responding successfully)?
Whether you are moving your office, going paperless or absorbing the function of electronic billing and coding into the DNA of employees’ daily job tasks, change is constant. Helping your employees navigate change is a big part of keeping your most valuable asset, your employees. When you introduce a change into the practice you are going to be changing one (or all) of four things.
- A process
- Someone’s job ( daily tasks or assignments)
- Organizational structure and culture
It is not merely enough to prescribe the change and sit back and watch it happen. Selling and reselling the change required and the business reasons behind the request becomes your main job.
When you are so sick of talking about it that you feel you are overcommunicating, you are finally starting to get your message across to employees.
Hold Regular Meetings
Once your decision is made, be clear that change is not an option.
This doesn’t mean not recognizing the emotion. It just means change will happen. One of the biggest mistakes managers make is not involving others in the process, It is important to learn how to hear opposing viewpoints without radiating a defensive posture.
It’s helpful for people to share, briefly, what they are working on that relates to the goals behind the change. Discussing what will happen during your transition from Point A to Point B provides opportunities for two-way communication. How often and when depends on what works best for the practice. Have a basic agenda — matters that will be discussed — announced.
Identifying early milestones and quick wins start during the mission planning process. If these projects are not clearly defined, time-bound and owned by specific people the chances of being able to celebrate early successes diminishes. It starts by asking simple questions such as:
What are our top priorities for the first twelve to twenty-four months of this transformation?
What projects – that will show measurable progress – can we plan to complete at the six and twelve month mark? Or even earlier?
Who is going to own these projects? Who is accountable, responsible and informed?
What will our internal communications strategy be when we do accomplish these goals?
Why we resist
To the fearful, change is threatening because they worry that things may get worse. To the hopeful, change is encouraging because they feel things may get better. — Buck Rogers
I suspect that Jarod felt inadequate at some point in the process. A local article told fans that Jarod came this close to not auditing for that sixth time (his second for ‘The Voice.’) He says he did it at the insistence of friends and family. Your office is very much like a family, The most commonly cited reasons people resist change are as follows:
- Fear of the unknown
Better your odds of achieving success and keeping your best employees by becoming an encourager. When it comes to practice change, you are all in it together. Funny thing about being an encourager, it will encourage you. The more optimistically realistic you can discuss change the more success you will have getting your employees to support the change.
The enhanced feelings of self-worth, combined with their work accomplishments and development, will build people’s confidence and loyalty, Their personal growth is a delightful side-effect of practice change handled well.