1. Create a Sense of Urgency
According to Kotter (2014), creating a sense of urgency during the change process marks the most important step. Notably, successful change requires that a majority of the companys management buy into the change. Mainly, the success in creating a sense of urgency during change determines the success of the whole process. Every staff member has a responsibility to participate in taking appropriate measures that will contribute to the desired change (Solomon 2015). Procrastination is dangerous once the decision for change is of course. The employees should feel the need for action now with goals set to fix the problems in the health center. Specific cases of failure and embarrassment are good references to back up the notion of the anticipated change.
For example, a need arises for the health facility to improve its services by automating its back office operations. Notably, introducing Enterprise Resource Planning systems become inevitable. This change is paramount for the health center, which calls for the need to create a sense of urgency amongst all players to implement it. Mainly, the management can use previous customer feedback or an increasing rate of losses due to unaccountability and theft to show the sense of urgency. Therefore, the management should communicate the need to act immediately upon identifying the problem in the health facility (Kotter, 2014). Notably, it should create and use appropriate channels that foster direct and fast communication with subordinates. Such participatory decision-making minimizes resistance to the proposed change. Additionally, using real situations and financial statements as evidence create the actual picture amongst employees, which facilitates embracement of the change process.
2. Build a Guiding Coalition
The change initiative requires a team of self-motivated, committed and competent people to guide coordinate and spearhead change. These individuals should represent both the management and the staff. Action should be based on appropriate on the status of the institution (Kotter 2014). Therefore, a thorough assessment of the current manual system of the health facility will help to identify loopholes that need to be sealed. The team leading change should formulate objectives according to the findings highlighted earlier and observed in the course of the change process. A model for use in the change strategy is adapted as a guide.
Notably, teamwork fosters innovation and creativity amongst employees as unique talents collaborate to spearhead the change process. When the team incorporates both employees and management, it creates a sense of appreciation to subordinate staff. Furthermore, they see the facility values their input in the introduction of the ERP system. Consequently, they embrace the change instead of resisting it, increasing the chances of fruitful and timely transition into the new regime and eradicating the challenges of the manual system.
3. Form a Strategic Vision & Initiatives
According to Kotter (2014), vision is a high-level idea on which to aim as an organization. It is the best and perfect achievement to achieve in the end. Initiatives are fresh approaches towards realizing the vision. They are unprecedented steps- doing things differently to achieve different results hence the change of strategy. Initiatives should be at a personal level and corporate level such as departments. The chief executive should bear a vision that will inspire the entire staff. The vision should entail global standards of health care provision in the facility and customer attraction. For example, the vision of the health center is to implement an ERP system that ensures efficiency in the delivery of services, particularly, maintaining confidentiality in handling patients information and increasing financial accountability and transparency. The main benefit of a clear vision is that it creates unity in direction, as all employees understand the goal of the change process. Therefore, they work as a team towards the attainment of this aim.
4. Enlist a Volunteer Army
The volunteer army comprises people with intrinsic motivation to effect change in the firm besides external engagement in the process of change. Their focus is for the good of the organization rather than their self-gratification (Solomon 2015). These volunteers go beyond the usual level of performance in their tasks to sacrifice their personal time for the sake of the change process. The journey of change only requires creative people who can fix weaknesses in the system. All the players should embrace the spirit of teamwork and outdo each other in adding value to the company. Particularly, cohesion and harmony should be the guiding principles in the volunteer army (Kotter 2014).
Evidently, prior performance of staff plays a critical role in identifying this army. Therefore, managers should be capable of identifying dedicated and motivated employees from all departments to be in this group. Furthermore, such employees understand the need for the introduction of the ERP system and the benefit it will bring to the delivery of the services to patients. A dedicated volunteer army works tirelessly to ensure the health facility implements the change efficiently.
5. Enable Action by Removing Barriers
Some elements of the system in the organization act as barriers that inhibit or hinder progress. Such obstacles include inefficient processes, bureaucracies, and competitive work environment (Kotter 2014). This calls for an overhaul of the entire system to give room for new possibilities. Notably, communication can be a critical barrier in the institution. Weak or unfavorable exchange of information slows down or impedes the operation of the system. Limited communication and lack of feedback lead to inefficiency in service delivery. Mainly, poor communication among the staff members limits coordination. If the management is not approachable, the staff shy away and feel alienated thus affecting service delivery (Solomon 2015). Harsh management demotivates the staff by discouraging them from expressing themselves. More so, this alienation locks out any useful ideas that the healthcare providers would present towards the improvement of the health facility. Therefore, the management should allow free communication with the staff to explore new possibilities.
For instance, there should be telephone connectivity in the entire facility and computer network to make communication fast and convenient. This will also make work easier for the clients to get services easily and in a digitized manner. A modernized database will give a precise account of all patients and their medical records and help in planning. Digitizing the inventory will make it the process of procurement and restocking easy. Consequently, installation of new computer systems and security facilities is hampered particularly when the administration is too rigid on expenditure. Communication with the clients and service delivery determines their next course of action (Solomon 2015). Patients who receive satisfactory services bring their friends and relatives into the facility while those who leave with complaints keep off and hinder their relations too. Patients want to feel loved and appreciated as they are. They too want to experience value for their money. Therefore, health services should be free from all discomforts that disturb the patients expelling them away. Physicians and nurses should uphold the highest standards of professionalism to deliver best services (Solomon 2015). They should also address the patients and their caretakers with courtesy and utmost respect regardless of their backgrounds and personality. The staff should be self-controlled because the patients have different temperaments; some are calm and understanding while others are violent and insolent. The team ought to interrogate the patients out of concern to help them recover easily.
6. Generate Short-term Wins
Managers should acknowledge achievements no matter how small they are (Kotter 2014). The progress that is recognized at the initial levels builds on to greater goals. For example, the management should document customer feedback on the new ERP system, particularly, reduced waiting time amongst patients. An increase in the number of satisfied patients regarding faster delivery of healthcare is a good indication of a short-term win for the change process. The management then communicates the progress to the employees to challenge them to move on (Solomon 2015). This feedback motivates the staff to persist and create a culture of healthy competition among them. An important win is a shared success, and this builds cohesion and teamwork.
7. Sustain Acceleration
The change team should use the first achievements as a platform to move higher and catapult the institution to an entirely new level of success. According to Kotter (2014), the management should consider improving the systems, policies, and structures of this health facility to support acceleration. For example, fostering and holding various staff forums with an aim to collect new ideas and show the progress of the change process can ensure the implementation of the ERP remains on course. Similarly, availing necessary financial resources sustains acceleration of the change process. Notably, change takes place gradually and sustainably at a relentless pace until the vision becomes a reality. Maintaining progress in the change process ensures that the health facility achieves its vision within the set period.
8. Institute Change
This stage involves implementing the new reality by integrating new strategies into the reformed system of the institution. The initiatives come with new approaches to the organizational structure, planning, and processes that require new perspectives by the staff. Change is multifaceted and in whatever dimension it takes external factors to influence it (Kotter 2014). The dynamics of technology and lifestyle today determine the kind of change strategies to employ. For example, the emerging diseases such as HIV and rising cases of cancer demand increased confidentiality and safety in handling patient information. An organization-based initiative is relevant considering the particular challenge with which the medical facility is grappling. The latest technology is significant in service delivery (Solomon 2015). The healthcare facility should, therefore, receive and embrace this new development as soon as the management approves it for the application. The initiative team implements change from top to bottom affecting all structures of the institution. New policies should accompany the structural changes to sustain the momentum of transformation (Solomon 2015). If change is instituted, the health facility will shift from poor service delivery to heartfelt provision of patient-centric service.
Kotter, J., 2014. Accelerate (XLR8): 8-Step Process for Leading Change. Harvard Business Review Press.
Solomon, P. 2015. Will Thinking Like Apple Change the Healthcare Customer Service Paradigm?, [online] Miramedgs.com. Available at: http:// www.miramedgs.com/career/43-focus/past-issues/winter-2016/458-will-thinking-like-apple-change-the-healthcare-customer-service-paradigm. [Accessed 26 Mar 2017].
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