Seven Strategies Help Drive Successful Change

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

Creating a strategy for home health changeDeborah Lipman Slobodnik, principal at Options for Change, says that body language and other visual cues can speak volumes about whether someone actually is willing to embrace the change process. So how can you make your case for change within your home health or hospice agency in a way that achieves true buy-in among your clinicians and staff?

She outlines seven steps:

  1. Establish your case for change
  2. Engage the “early adopters”
  3. Teach people what they need to learn
  4. Provide reinforcement for learning new tools, policies and procedures
  5. Expect resistance and depersonalize it
  6. Build and reinforce new habits
  7. Communicate, communicate, communicate

That last item, communication, is crucial to the success of any change initiative. Communicating effectively should be top of mind during each step of the process. To establish your case for change, for example, you need to articulate the need. What’s the impact of not doing it? Why is it urgent? Why is it worth it?

The proper messaging will depend on the audience. How have you communicated effectively in the past? Who is your audience, and how do you craft the message so that the audience understands the impact on them? You also need to figure out the best way to deliver the message and determine who will deliver it. For an agency-wide change, the CEO at an all-employee meeting might be a smart choice. But as you know, home health and hospice workers are a mobile bunch and hard to get together in the same room.

People are naturally resistant to change, so expect that you will encounter tough questions and difficult moments. Anticipate the resistance you’re likely to encounter, and think ahead about how you will answer the tough questions without getting personal.

Slobodnik also outlines these communication engagement “musts”:

  1. Set up regular opportunities for engagement
  2. Cast a wide net
  3. Use the personal touch
  4. Be direct, honest and simple
  5. Remember that communication goes two ways
  6. Be positive

We all communicate all the time, but to create an atmosphere where new ideas and changes can prosper, that communication must be well-planned, deliberate and delivered in a meaningful and positive way.

Hospice and home health technology can help to improve communication among key stakeholders within your organization. Stay up to date on the latest from the home health industry by subscribing to our blog.

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