Delivering organisational change that is truly transformative
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Leadership and management is an ever evolving topic and so its common to see trends come and go; the trick is in grasping the themes that emerge. A decade ago, Jurgen Appelo published Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders. This book appealed to project managers and software companies especially and heralded a new form of leadership. The concept is rooted in complexity theory and proposes that management styles had to reset to 3.0 in order to develop agile and responsive organisations. The author saw three phases of management style:
Management 1.0 focusses on hierarchies where people are seen as resources, parts in a system that need to be given structure, processes, tasks in order to deliver the organisation goals
Management 2.0 adds in management science models such as performance scorecards, six sigma and so on which are intended to improve productivity and quality
Management 3.0 is a shift to recognising that organisations are social networks and that management is not about tick sheets and systems; rather it is about people and relationships. That for organisations to thrive they must adapt to people and draw out their ingenuity and creativity.
People attracted into healthcare management often have this as an intuitive power and have a high degree of emotional intelligence in their day to day interactions with teams. After all, they care about people who care about people. There are times though where that very human approach takes a back step to process once more. For example, the size of an organisation can increase its dependence on systems in order to standardise how people are managed. At times of crisis or in response to external shocks such as COVID-19 the organisation will resort to systems in order to drive that pace of change through, from top to bottom.
So, what steps can a leader take to deliver necessary change and to fully engage team members?
Build empathy into the process. The first step of understanding and sharing the feelings of other people is to be aware of your own responses to change. Leaders could honestly reflect on their own experiences and observations of change management in order to better hypothesise on the reactions of others to change.
Connect back to a shared cause. Good strategy is alive and is the lifeblood coursing through the veins of an organisation. Good strategy creates a clear vision of the future that connects with and motivates team members. Leaders can use the goals of the organisation or a version of national policy reinterpreted for local communities to create a compelling statement that strikes a chord with team member and helps them to see how this change fits into a bigger picture.
Open up the opportunity for collaborative design. Granted, there will be some elements of change that are non-negotiable but the majority of decisions do not need to be driven from the top down. This can stifle an organisation when team members feel that they do not have discretion or autonomy to act. It can unnecessarily expose the organisation to greater risk and increase psychological burden for leaders. The most effective way to cope with change is to help create it. Leaders can consciously build in opportunities for feedback and delegate design elements to the team. This creates sustainable change but MUST be followed through to build trust.
Communicate communicate communicate. If there were a single ingredient to guarantee success or failure it would be communication. In presenting, leaders must consider the communication preferences and needs of team members. Combining written and verbal communication can meet the needs of those who need to reflect and those that need to be heard. Consistent messaging at a one to one level and in groups is important as is building in opportunity for feedback. 80% of the leader’s energy and time committed to the project should be allocated to communication, even if it is as a buffer for interruptions or unplanned conversations.
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