Dr. Paul Metler
Leading Change in Health Care
At the core of leadership is a desire to pursue a set of actions that create and sustain momentum toward a preferred future. That is what it means to lead positive change. They cast a vision, inspire commitment, cultivate engagement and unity so that they can execute meaningful change. The rewards of creating a purposeful culture that produces positive outcomes are immensely fulfilling. But, it’s naïve to think that the path toward leading positive change is a straight line, especially in health care.
Purposeful leadership in health care is a bold quest. Retired 2-star General Steve McCamy leads a physician based company. He connects lessons learned during his military service to leadership in health care. “Great leaders have it in their gut that they want to make everything they touch better.”
What’s in your gut? You may be more comfortable asking, “What’s in your heart?” But, you need to ask the question. Perhaps more than any other realm of leadership, health care naturally resonates with a heartfelt commitment to make what and who they touch better. Yet, they face stark reminders every day that their leadership takes place in an arena that is fraught with layers of uncertainty. The future of health care is complex. In fact, Joe Flower aptly describes health care as a complex adaptive system with many interdependent parts. Leading change, even positive change is daunting.
It’s important to remember that change leadership is an adaptive mission. It’s not just about discovering technical expertise that connects to solutions. It’s a process. Effective change leadership requires you to engage with thoughtful leaders who will champion the reason you exist and engage in real time problem solving. When leading change, it’s helpful to borrow terminology from health care. Courage is contagious. Creating resonance with the right people is a strategic investment of time and energy. If you want a courageous, growth mindset to circulate throughout your culture, then you need to utilize the best pathway. Two diagnostic questions will help you target your efforts.
What are the specific positive messages you need to spread throughout your culture?
Who are the thoughtful leaders who are best suited to carry those messages into the trenches?
Thoughtful leaders are natural conduits. They are connectors. They are trusted ambassadors of information. In an article summarizing what it means to be considered among “The Best Places to Work in 2017,” Dave Stuart clarifies what it means to have a connected culture that is tuned in to a sense of purpose. Simply stated, Purpose means connecting people to your organization’s reason for being and the difference you will make in the world.
Clarify the messages and share them with thoughtful leaders in your organization. Enable those trusted leaders to become catalysts for the change process.