California's Central Valley is home to about five Kaiser-affiliated hospitals, offering emergency and other medical services 24 hours a day, seven cslifornia a week. West Lancaster, CA Driving directions References Kaiser Permanente: Quick Facts. Written by Max Stirner. Max Stirner is a New York-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience. Richmond, CA 1 0.
Our analysis builds three themes. First, a pattern of widely distributed change leadership is linked to delivering improvements in service outcomes. Third, a foundation of good pre-existing relationships underpins the capacity of distributed leadership to implement service improvements.
Conversely, poor relationships and conflicts erode the concerted capacity of distributed change leadership. The key contribution of this article thus concerns the establishment of links between situated patterns of distributed leadership, and service improvement outcomes, based on the cumulative effects of actors - managers and clinical hybrids - at different organizational levels.
Amit Nigam. Ewan Ferlie , Michael D Fischer. Paul S Adler , Charles Heckscher. Mike Dent. Liz Sajdak. Gregory Marchildon. Camilo Rodriguez. Charles Heckscher. Gregory Marchildon , Graham Dickson.
Steven Lewis. Prantik Bordoloi. Julienne Meyer. Nancy Carter , Faith Donald. Stephen Shortell. Paul S Adler , Laurence Prusak. Paul S Adler. Mirko Noordegraaf , Bram Steijn.
Lauren Hamel. Jeffrey Leiter , Julianne Payne. Glenn Robert. Elizabeth Goodrick , Amy Pablo. Amy Pablo , Jim Dewald. Julie Battilana , Tiziana Casciaro. Julie Battilana , Jeffrey Alexander. Mary Keating. Roy Liff. Avon Cornelius.
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Need an account? Click here to sign up. Download Free PDF. Kristene Coller. Related Papers. Rethinking general practice — Part 2: Strategies for the future: Patient-centred responsive primary health care and the leadership challenges.
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Leadership Quarterly Distributed leadership patterns and service improvement: Evidence and argument from English healthcare. Journal of Health Organization and Management Emerald Article: Radical change in healthcare organization: Mapping transition between templates, enabling factors, and implementation processes Samia Chreim, B.
Bernie Williams, Kristene E. Coller, ,"Radical change in healthcare organization: Mapping transition between templates, enabling factors, and implementation processes", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. Information about how to choose which publication to write for and submission guidelines are available for all. Please visit www. About Emerald www. In total, Emerald publishes over journals and more than book series, as well as an extensive range of online products and services.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www. Bernie Williams and Kristene E. Coller Faculty of Management, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada Abstract Purpose — The purpose of this paper is to examine: the content of radical change by mapping differences between two templates for organizing delivery of healthcare; the enabling and constraining mechanisms underlying major change from one template to another; and the processes implicated in change implementation.
The authors conducted 90 interviews at three intervals, observed meetings, and analyzed internal and external documents. Concepts on content, process and mechanisms were used to analyze the data.
Radical change is underlain by a series of micro change processes that involve emergent, non-linear dynamics, and that follow their own track with enabling and constraining mechanisms. Implications include importance of: attention to power dynamics, persistent leadership, elimination of boundaries between collaborating groups, and aligning incentives with desired practice changes; and attending to both variance and process in understanding healthcare change.
Keywords Canada, Health care, Health organization and management, Change management, Radical change, Alternative health delivery templates, Integration of services, Enabling dynamics, Managing implementation processes Paper type Research paper Many attempts have been made around the world to restructure and redesign the organization of healthcare to achieve higher efficiency and effectiveness.
In Canada, for example, healthcare organizations have faced an array of political, economic, and technological pressures to change over the last decade Canadian Institute for Health Journal of Health Organization and Information, Calls have been made for reorganizing health delivery so that better Management Vol.
However, we know that change involving q Emerald Group Publishing Limited reorganization is a process of complex dynamics. In this paper, we report on a radical DOI Achieving integrated services and establishing collaboration across organizations in healthcare are current themes in the field e. Casebeer et al. Furthermore, healthcare organizations and systems of delivery around the world have been experiencing major change Powell et al.
Thus, there is much that can be learned from the current case, which was a case of successful change. There is sustained interest in what enables change and in how change is implemented in healthcare organizations and systems e. Greenhalgh et al. The movement to an integrated, patient-centered model of health-care delivery is far from simple.
Different organizational forces — such as embedded power and interests and lack of resources — can constrain the ability of organizations to move from a prevailing model to a different one. The continued search for more efficient models of healthcare delivery makes it important to understand the mechanisms that precipitate and enable major changes, and the processes through which these changes occur.
The goal of the study is to answer three questions: 1 What changes in values, structures and systems needed to occur for the health services to transition from one care delivery template to another? We were also interested in implications for practice as they relate to major change in health organizations and systems.
We adopted concepts from organizational theory and the healthcare management literature to inform our analysis. Literature review It is difficult to undertake radical change in organizations and systems. It is particularly difficult to successfully undertake such change in healthcare organizations and systems, which are known to be pluralistic in nature.
A pluralistic domain is one characterized by the presence of divergent objectives such as individual care, population health and cost containment and multiple actors such as administrators, various professional practitioners, government bodies, community groups linked through fluid power arrangements Denis et al.
Radical change involves changes in values, structures and practices Balogun and Hailey, Getting multiple actors in a healthcare setting to agree on the content of radical change and on the process of bringing it about requires that a variety of enabling factors be in place Greenhalgh et al.
Archetypes are ideal types that organizations might adhere to more or less; they denote a set of systems and structures that reflect underlying beliefs and values Greenwood and Hinings, ; Kitchener and Harrington, The consistency of the underlying beliefs with systems and structures lends archetypal coherence to an organization.
Archetypes exhibit the clustering of an internally consistent set of attributes. A shift between archetypal templates entails a complex array of mechanisms and processes. Radical change — unlike continuous change involving small accommodations — tends to be episodic and intentional in nature Weick and Quinn, Successful radical change is based on a change in values and beliefs that underpin and give shape and meaning to structural aspects of organizations.
In the case reported here, the change involved a fast paced shift between two well-known templates in the healthcare field Denis et al.
The first subscribes to a provider-driven model that involves fragmented, treatment-based care for patients, and the second centers on the patient and values an integrative, prevention-based model of care. This change entailed the replacement of existing organizational structures and systems with new ones. Greenwood and Hinings elaborate on organizational elements that enable radical change. Their model places the notion of power at the center of mechanisms that facilitate or constrain change.
According to their framework, radical change requires precipitating and enabling dynamics. Precipitating dynamics on their own do not guarantee that change will occur, and thus there is a need for enabling dynamics. Enabling dynamics consist of flow of resources from powerful groups as well as capacity for action.
An important element in capacity for action consists of ability to mobilize, which is a mark of leadership and change agency. Change agency can take a top-down or a bottom-up direction Balogun and Hailey, The literature on major change in organizations in general, and in healthcare systems and organizations in particular, points to the role of senior management in the change. While it is generally argued that senior management involvement in major change is essential Appelbaum et al.
For example, Waring and Currie show that changes involving managerial challenges to professional autonomy may result in circumvention of the managerial plan.
McNulty and Ferlie show the limits of radical change that adopts top-down strategies in healthcare organizations. The insular nature of practices in healthcare sites is attended to by Ferlie et al.
These authors point to the embeddedness of communities of practice of health professionals that tend to be self-sealing and highly institutionalized as an element that hinders change requiring collaboration across professional groups. While precipitating and enabling mechanisms point to the variables associated with change, they do not provide an adequate view of the process of change. Researchers have made a distinction between variance and process theories Langley, Variance theories attend to the relationships among dependent and independent variables, while process theories focus on sequencing and temporal development.
As Langley indicates, attention to process offers an essential element to our understanding that is dynamic and that is unavailable through variance-based concepts. Process addresses how phenomena move from A to B and provides explanations by looking at patterns of events and activities over time. In our study, we attended to the processes underlying the movement of the system from one template to another.
Variance and process-based approaches are complementary modes of understanding change, and we rely on both in our study. We use case study data that we collected in a longitudinal research spanning more than four years to describe the two templates. We then address the mechanisms that enabled the shift from one template to another, as well as the process through which the change occurred.
The case The present study is based on a case in a province in Canada. Essential medical services in Canada are funded by provincial governments. In the province where the change occurred, regional health authorities RHAs were set up by the provincial government to oversee health services and providers — except physicians. Physicians in the province negotiated their fee structures with the provincial government through their professional association.
The study examined healthcare delivery in a small community in the province. The system of healthcare delivery in this area included a medical clinic owned and operated by eight physicians. Before the changes, the eight physicians practiced medical care autonomously and were paid on a fee-for-service basis by the provincial government.
Available in the area were also other health services that included a hospital, a public health unit and an extended care unit — all of which came under the purview of the RHA. Neither the RHA nor the physicians had jurisdiction over the other, and RHA providers and physicians offered some services that overlapped, such as well baby services and care for asthma and diabetes patients.
As an example, both the physicians and the public health nurses saw the parents of well babies. The physicians in the case we studied were motivated to identify and implement an alternate model of healthcare.
They were dissatisfied with their high-volume practice, which did not allow time to educate patients or to engage in prevention activities. The RHA was interested in experimenting with new service delivery models and exploring ways to organization improve patient care and population health. The change initiative received approval and funding from the province, which at the time had made funds available for experimentation with new delivery models.
The team reviewed population health statistics for the region and identified several areas, such as well baby, asthma, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses where integration of services could have the greatest impact. For each of these areas the team mapped existing service delivery and examined ways to integrate services and improve education and prevention efforts. The integration team was also responsible for system wide changes that would impact service areas. One was the remuneration system for the physicians.
The new system, referred to as APP alternate payment plan called for paying physicians on a capitation basis instead of fee for services. This change would allow physicians to spend more time with patients and to deal with issues in a more holistic way.
Still another change was physical co-location of services that would provide better opportunities for collaboration between practitioners and more convenient access for patients. Methodology Research approach The research adopts a case study approach to examine the dynamics of radical change. This approach is appropriate when the objective of the research is to understand the dynamics and the context that are present and evolving within a setting Eisenhardt, ; Pettigrew, ; Stake, Yin indicates that the need to understand the complexity of healthcare systems and organizations calls for the use of case study methodology, and points to case studies that have addressed such topics as knowledge utilization, innovations, and implementation of policies and programs.
Other authors have also pointed to the importance of using qualitative studies that take the context into account in healthcare research e. Case studies can be used for a variety of purposes Eisenhardt, , and this study was designed to provide insight and elaboration of content, mechanisms and process of radical change. We chose to study this case because it was unique Yin, in the sense that the change attempted had not been previously experienced in the province in terms of its content and scope.
It was also unique in the sense that a variety of powerful stakeholders had agreed on the change. The study was longitudinal, spanning a four-year period, and thus was well-suited to tracking change processes in real time Langley, Patton indicates that multiple sources of data can provide context and can increase the overall credibility of the findings.
Our data consisted of three rounds of interviews, extensive notes obtained during observation of meetings throughout the life of the project, and numerous internal documents, and provincial and national reports on healthcare reforms and recommendations.
Of these participants, 26 were key participants who were directly involved in the project. They included senior and mid-level administrators in the RHA and the clinic, physicians, registered and public health nurses, home and community care personnel, nurse practitioner and others who worked in the community. The other 16 participants were program managers who had knowledge of and interest in the project, but were not directly involved in the community where the project took place.
These interviews were conducted two years into the project when many changes had occurred. Differences in number of key interviewees over the three rounds reflect a small number of departures and additions of personnel during the life of the project. The interviews were semi-structured Patton, to address such issues as the nature, influences and process of change. We corroborated the interview findings with notes we had taken during our observation of meetings, as well as various documents including minutes of meetings by the project coordinator, project mission and operational model, progress reports, and charts outlining the division of responsibilities among practitioners.
Analysis involved three researchers working with the data independently of each other initially, and then jointly. Including multiple researchers helps reduce potential bias that can come from a single perspective Patton, Throughout the data analysis phase, we met regularly to compare notes, discuss the emerging findings and exchange information on evidence supporting or disconfirming the findings.
We followed procedures for data analysis outlined by Miles and Huberman These authors advise researchers to have an initial framework that helps motivate the study, but to remain open to emergent elements in the data.
We had derived a set of codes based on this literature e. However, during our coding, we found that our data allowed us to extend the dynamics of change. Through discussions, we agreed to include these emergent elements in our findings. In our analysis of change processes, we followed the visual mapping strategy involving ordering of events and activities over time Langley, Following the recommendations of Miles and Huberman , we created tables, matrices and figures intended to capture the content of change, the process of change and the enabling and constraining mechanisms.
Throughout the process of data analysis, we circled back to the literature in order to better shed light on theoretical formulations related to our findings Creswell, ; Eisenhardt, We made refinements to the findings based on participant comments.
These findings are reported next. We provide illustrative quotations in Table I, and organization reserve the body of the article for the analysis. The content of change Table II shows the differences between the two templates of service delivery. We present the values, principles, structures and systems associated with these two divergent models.
Before the changes, the existing model was such that the physician was seen as the main healthcare provider, practicing autonomously, and focusing on treatment of illness. There was fragmentation of health services. Structural and systems elements showed physician payment on a fee-for service basis and limited sharing of patient information.
The model that participants had anticipated upon implementation of the changes would call for the physician to be one of several providers of care.
Integrated practice would be in place whereby the physician, nurse practitioner, public health nurses, asthma and diabetes specialized personnel, would all play a role in providing care that would involve not only treatment, but also prevention and education.
Physicians would be paid on a capitation basis allowing them to refer patients to other providers. Services would be co-located and different practitioners would participate in co-charting in the patient record. As can be seen, the values underlying the two templates are vastly different, and the structures and systems needed to enact these values and principles are highly divergent. Moving from the first model to the second would thus require radical change. Participants described the change as significant and distinctive in terms of scope and magnitude.
In general, participants viewed the outcomes of the changes positively and considered that the healthcare unit had realized many of the envisioned changes. Integrative teams involving a variety of health issues such as asthma, diabetes and well baby had been put in place.
Physicians indicated that prior to integration, they were relatively autonomous and that over time they came to see their role differently, thinking of themselves as team members in areas where integrative services could be achieved.
Participants from various professional groups stated that integration offered more convenient access for patients, improved communication among providers, and less duplication of services. The teams developed protocols outlining distribution of roles.
Participants also indicated that integration improved quality of care: working collaboratively ensured that adequate information was provided and reinforced to patients. Patient satisfaction — which was monitored by the RHA — remained high throughout the project.
Hospital visits went down, and healthy habits such as having blood pressure checked, and having preventative tests such as pap smears, increased in the community under study as compared with the two comparison communities.
You have to put the thing together in order to really drive it. When you integrate, you link those puzzle pieces together Project coordinator Description of changes that occurred in My role as a physician has changed for good [. Certainly I feel much more satisfied professionally when I get more comprehensive, spend more time, and clearly make sure that the patient and I deal with the issues appropriately Physician Mechanisms: enabling and precipitating dynamics Agreement, participation and I think a key to integration in the region here has been commitment of powerful stakeholders support, high level support at all levels.
So from the board, from the physician levels, community consultation [. On co-location , we did a community survey, asked their perception. So that milestone involved funding for [. And she has really Table I. We mapped out who did what and when and then we let them [physicians] know which stuff we did best.
And they let us know which stuff they did best Public health nurse We basically looked at what each professional was doing before. And then what we did was we agreed to leave the nurse to do this part of it, and the physicians do this part.
Then we find once they actually do work together, once they actually go through some experiences of working tougher, then it makes all the difference in the world and then the trust level goes up Project coordinator Having the nurse practitioner here means that I get to see her and bump into her in the passage and talk to her every day.
And so we want to look after this patient in the most efficient way possible. And looking at disease prevention as well as disease treatment.
And they refer the program that much more Clinic manager continued Table I. There was this feeling that you lost some of the relationship with patients because now they were seeing other people. And I know who these people are, these asthma educators. I know what they value. I know what they teach. And I agree with it. And then they changed. You can look back and find results of blood tests. You make better decisions. And Table I. RHA managers were also highly satisfied with the changes, having learned how to achieve integration between RHA services and physician services.
They were using what they had learned from the project to promote integration in other areas in the region. The changes were perceived as highly successful in the wider environment, prompting key actors in the project to participate at conferences, as invited speakers, to share their experiences.
Following the conclusion of the demonstration project, some key actors took on positions of greater responsibility at regional or national levels. Precipitating and enabling mechanisms Precipitating mechanisms. Physicians indicated that the model prevailing before the changes prevented quality patient care and required extensive workloads to manage daily patient volume. They identified the prevailing template as a source of dissatisfaction. Other practitioners also indicated that there were concerns regarding availability of resources and quality of care within the community.
RHA managers and government officials were looking for ways to improve service and reduce costs. The reports recommended changes including alternative payment systems for physicians, better alignment between physicians and regional health authorities, and setting up interdisciplinary teams for patient care.
Physicians in the clinic, other health practitioners in the region, RHA managers and politicians spoke about these alternate templates as a way to reduce dissatisfaction with the prevailing system. A tension for change or perception that the current situation is unacceptable Greenhalgh et al. In our case, there was widespread agreement among the different stakeholder groups that the alternative model should be pursued.
Implications include importance of: attention to power dynamics, persistent leadership, elimination of boundaries between collaborating groups, and aligning incentives with desired practice changes; and attending to both variance and process in understanding healthcare change.
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Eventually, they may feel brave enough to try the same thing themselves. The more people who talk about the transgressive act or repeat it, the greater the cultural impact. Consider the case of John Ziwak, a manager in the business development group of a high-growth computer components company. Within a few years, he married a woman who also held a demanding job; soon, he became the father of two.
John found his life torn between the competing responsibilities of home and work. To balance the two, John shifted his work hours—coming into the office earlier in the morning so that he could leave by 6 pm.
He rarely scheduled late-afternoon meetings and generally refused to take calls at home in the evening between and 9. As a result, his family life improved, and he felt much less stress, which in turn improved his performance at work. Why should I promote him when others are willing and able to work all the time?
No one set up conference calls or meetings involving him after 5. Most people in the department felt more, not less, productive during the day as they adapted their work habits to get things done more efficiently—for example, running meetings on schedule and monitoring interruptions in their day. Tempered radicals know that even the smallest forms of disruptive self-expression can be exquisitely powerful.
The story of Dr. Frances Conley offers a case in point. By , Dr. But as one of very few women in the profession, she struggled daily to maintain her feminine identity in a macho profession and her integrity amid gender discrimination. That kind of thing would happen all the time. Despite the frustration and anger she felt, Dr. Conley at that time had no intention of making a huge issue of her gender. So she expressed herself in all sorts of subtle ways, including in what she wore. Along with her green surgical scrubs, she donned white lace ankle socks—an unequivocal expression of her femininity.
In itself, wearing lace ankle socks could hardly be considered a Gandhian act of civil disobedience. Nurses and female residents frequently commented on Dr. Ellen Thomas made a comparable statement with her hair. As a young African-American consultant in a technical services business, she navigated constantly between organizational pressures to fit in and her personal desire to challenge norms that made it difficult for her to be herself. So from the beginning of her employment, Ellen expressed herself by wearing her hair in neat cornrow braids.
For Ellen, the way she wore her hair was not just about style; it was a symbol of her racial identity. Instead, she simply did not comply. Once the presentation was over and the client had been signed, she pulled her colleague aside.
Does leaving work at 6 pm or wearing lacy socks or cornrows force immediate change in the culture? Of course not; such acts are too modest. But disruptive self-expression does do two important things. These acts are self-affirming. Second, it pushes the status quo door slightly ajar by introducing an alternative modus operandi.
Whether they are subtle, unspoken, and recognizable by only a few or vocal, visible, and noteworthy to many, such acts, in aggregation, can provoke real reform. Like most martial arts, jujitsu involves taking a force coming at you and redirecting it to change the situation.
Employees who practice verbal jujitsu react to undesirable, demeaning statements or actions by turning them into opportunities for change that others will notice. I recall a story told by a man named Tom Novak, an openly gay executive who worked in the San Francisco offices of a large financial services institution.
Stung, Tom was tempted to keep his mouth shut and absorb the injury, but that would have left him resentful and angry. Managers can use verbal jujitsu to prevent talented employees, and their valuable contributions, from becoming inadvertently marginalized. Brad Williams was a sales manager at a high-technology company. During a meeting one day, Brad noticed that Sue, the new marketing director, had tried to interject a few comments, but everything she said was routinely ignored.
Brad waited for the right moment to correct the situation. The intelligent remark stopped all conversation. With this simple move, Brad accomplished a number of things.
First, by indirectly showing how Sue had been silenced and her idea co-opted, he voiced an unspoken fact. Sue said that after that incident she was no longer passed over in staff meetings. In practicing verbal jujitsu, both Tom and Brad displayed considerable self-control and emotional intelligence. They listened to and studied the situation at hand, carefully calibrating their responses to disarm without harming.
In addition, they identified the underlying issues sexual bias, the silencing of newcomers without sounding accusatory and relieved unconscious tensions by voicing them. Like jazz musicians, who build completely new musical experiences from old standards as they go along, tempered radicals must be creatively open to opportunity.
In the short-term, that means being prepared to capitalize on serendipitous circumstances; in the long-term, it often means something more proactive. The first story that follows illustrates the former case; the second is an example of the latter. An investment manager in the audit department of a New York conglomerate, Chris made a habit of doing whatever he could to reduce waste. One day, Chris noticed that the company cafeteria packaged its sandwiches in Styrofoam boxes that people opened and immediately tossed.
He pulled the cafeteria manager aside. I was wondering, though…would it be possible to wrap sandwiches only when people asked you to? Chris gently rocked the boat by taking the following steps. First, he picked low-hanging fruit, focusing on something that could be done easily and without causing a lot of stir. Third, he illuminated the advantages of the proposed change by pointing out the benefits to the cafeteria.
And he started a conversation that, through Mary, spread to the rest of the cafeteria staff. Finally, he inspired others to action: Eventually, the cafeteria staff identified and eliminated 12 other wasteful practices. Add up enough conversations and inspire enough people and, sooner or later, you get real change. A senior executive named Jane Adams offers a case in point. Jane was hired in to run a person, mostly male software-development division in an extremely fast-growing, pre-IPO technology company.
The CEO of the company was an autocrat who expected his employees to emulate his dog-eat-dog management style. Although Jane was new to the job and wanted very much to fit in and succeed, turf wars and command-and-control tactics were anathema to her.
Her style was more collaborative; she believed in sharing power. To that end, she took every opportunity to share power with subordinates. She instructed each of her direct reports to delegate responsibility as much as possible. Each time she heard about someone taking initiative in making a decision, she would praise that person openly before his or her manager.
She encouraged people to take calculated risks and to challenge her. At first, senior executives raised their eyebrows, but Jane assured them that the presenter would deliver. Thus, her subordinates gained experience and won credit that, had they worked for someone else, they would likely never have received. Within a year, she saw that several of her own direct reports began themselves to lead in a more collaborative manner. Nowhere else did people get the experience, responsibility, and confidence that she cultivated in her employees.
For Chris Morgan, opportunity was short-term and serendipitous. For Jane Adams, opportunity was more long-term, something to be mined methodically. In both cases, though, remaining alert to such variable-term opportunities and being ready to capitalize on them were essential. So far, we have seen how tempered radicals, more or less working alone, can effect change.
What happens when these individuals work with allies? Clearly, they gain a sense of legitimacy, access to resources and contacts, technical and task assistance, emotional support, and advice. But they gain much more—the power to move issues to the forefront more quickly and directly than they might by working alone. When one enlists the help of like-minded, similarly tempered coworkers, the strategic alliance gains clout. In the course of their investigation, the women discussed the demanding culture of the firm: a hour work week was the norm, and most consultants spent most of their time on the road, visiting clients.
The only people who escaped this demanding schedule were part-time consultants, nearly all of whom happened to be women with families. These part-timers were evaluated according to the same performance criteria—including the expectation of long hours—as full-time workers. Though many of the part-timers were talented contributors, they consistently failed to meet the time criterion and so left the company.
To correct the problem, the senior women first gained the ear of several executive men who, they knew, regretted missing time with their own families. The men agreed that this was a problem and that the company could not continue to bleed valuable talent. They signed on to help address the issue and, in a matter of months, the evaluation system was adjusted to make success possible for all workers, regardless of their hours.
Indeed, they understand that those who represent the majority perspective are vitally important to gaining support for their cause. Paul Wielgus quietly started a revolution at his company by effectively persuading the opposition to join him.
In , Allied Domecq, the global spirits company whose brands include Courvoisier and Beefeater, hired Paul as a marketing director in its brewing and wholesaling division. Originally founded in as the result of a merger of three British brewing and pub-owning companies, the company had inherited a bureaucratic culture. He therefore allowed Paul to quit his marketing job, report directly to the CEO, and found a nine-person learning and training department that ran programs to help participants shake off stodgy thinking and boost their creativity.
In fact, when David, a senior executive from the internal audit department, was asked to review cases of unnecessary expense, he called Paul on the carpet.
Instead of being defensive during the meeting, Paul used the opportunity to sell his program. He explained that the trainers worked first with individuals to help unearth their personal values, then worked with them in teams to develop new sets of group values that they all believed in. Next, the trainers aligned these personal and departmental values with those of the company as a whole. They find more meaning and purpose in it, and as a consequence are happier and much more productive.
They call in sick less often, they come to work earlier in the morning, and the ideas they produce are much stronger. Eventually, the working relationship the two men had formed allowed the internal audit department to transform its image as a policing unit into something more positive.
The new Audit Services department came to be known as a partner, rather than an enforcer, in the organization as a whole. Tempered radicals understand that people who represent the majority perspective can be important allies in more subtle ways as well. In navigating the course between their desire to undo the status quo and the organizational requirements to uphold it, tempered radicals benefit from the advice of insiders who know just how hard to push.
When a feminist who wants to change the way her company treats women befriends a conservative Republican man, she knows he can warn her of political minefields.
The senior women found fault with an inequitable evaluation system, not with their male colleagues. Clearly, there is no one right way to effect change. What works for one individual under one set of circumstances may not work for others under different conditions.
The examples above illustrate how tempered radicals use a spectrum of quiet approaches to change their organizations. Some actions are small, private, and muted; some are larger and more public. Their influence spreads as they recruit others and spawn conversations. Top managers can learn a lot from these people about the mechanics of evolutionary change.
Tempered radicals bear no banners; they sound no trumpets. Their ends are sweeping, but their means are mundane. They are firm in their commitments, yet flexible in the ways they fulfill them. Their actions may be small but can spread like a virus. They yearn for rapid change but trust in patience. They often work individually yet pull people together. Instead of stridently pressing their agendas, they start conversations.
Rather than battling powerful foes, they seek powerful friends. And in the face of setbacks, they keep going. To do all this, tempered radicals understand revolutionary change for what it is—a phenomenon that can occur suddenly but more often than not requires time, commitment, and the patience to endure. With the exception of those in the VA hospital and Allied Domecq cases, all the names used through this article are fictitious. You have 1 free article s left this month.
You are reading your last free article for this month. Subscribe for unlimited access. Create an account to read 2 more. Collaboration and teams. Radical Change, the Quiet Way. Previously bullish managers showed signs of losing faith in their ability to deliver. Calls were made to slow the pace of change and revise the financial targets. As executives who have been through similar experiences will confirm, the South African company was in no way unique.
Many transformations kick off with a rush of enthusiasm, only to falter six months down the line. At best a wheel or two comes off before repairs are made and momentum is restored; at worst the project hits the buffers. What can leaders in this precarious position do to rekindle enthusiasm, overcome organizational inertia or frustration, and get the project back on track?
The Transnet case and our experience working with other businesses in similar situations provide some answers. By applying techniques to measure the energy levels of key leaders, we find, companies increase the odds of meeting their transformation objectives.
To identify the factors that create and consume energy, we developed a simple energy meter based on answers to roughly 60 questions in ten separate dimensions—strategy, skills and values, staff issues, stakeholders, and equipment, among other things.
By mapping the responses, companies can identify the areas where energy is dissipating, as well as why. In some cases plans were modified; in others people changed their minds and committed themselves to the previous plan.
A team was set up to address the availability and reliability of equipment. Existing staffing processes were refined so that the lead time for new recruitment dropped to 21 days, from six months. Two months after implementing these changes, Transnet began to achieve record production in key areas: for example, coal deliveries jumped to more than 95 percent of scheduled volumes, against less than 90 percent previously. After several tough months the company implemented a new operating model, touching all employees from top management to frontline worker and covering areas such as planning, execution, and maintenance across the whole rail corridor.
Transnet is currently using the lessons of that effort to accelerate the rollout of the performance-improvement program to other parts of the logistics network. Profits and productivity are up, costs down. In our experience project teams must assess themselves instead of being assessed by an outside party. Organizations should gauge their energy levels at four critical points along the transformation journey: at the start to ensure alignment on the context and objectives , when executives sign off on implementation plans, throughout implementation, and during the final handover from the project team to the line.
Our survey vividly highlighted the importance of energy Exhibit 2. But only 15 percent of those involved in unsuccessful transformations did. How can executives ignite, fuel, and sustain the transformation engine—this potentially powerful mix of energy and ideas? Getting the aspiration and the transformation story right is an important start, but the challenge is to maintain the momentum. The power of the big idea is implicit in the aspiration.
Less well appreciated is the way each theme and the initiatives underlying it depend on a flow of good ideas. Leaders should guard against common pitfalls. The first is the common misapprehension that generating ideas is an esoteric art requiring unusual levels of personal creativity or the teachings of the latest innovation guru.
A major industrial group seeking ideas to deepen its client relationships discovered that its separate product teams were being introduced to one another by customers rather than working together before visits. The company realized that a deep-rooted structural rigidity hindered initiatives to pool client insights across the organization.
Leaders can avoid these traps by clarifying their expectations right from the start and reinforcing those expectations throughout the transformation.
They should emphasize that practical, small-scale solutions can be as useful as big, groundbreaking ideas and take care to provide guidance on what needs improving and where orthodoxy and conventional thinking are best challenged. Four types of ideas are particularly important:. Why change? In a turnaround, the overall reason for a transformation is usually obvious.
But leaders trying to, say, globalize an already profitable company need to explain carefully what they want to achieve. What to change? Leaders must encourage the organization to take a hard look at which functions, geographies, or product lines to change. Which processes need streamlining? What aspects of operations are outdated? What new market opportunities can be tapped?
Project teams will inspire new ideas by drawing on people from different, and seemingly unrelated, parts of the organization. Whom to change?
Transformations are about changing not only things but also people. Leaders must identify key roles that will have to be adapted to support the objectives of the transformation. In addition, they must select teams of change agents to drive it at all levels of the organization. How to change? Practical and specific solutions that demonstrate how to reach financial or operational targets are especially valuable. Will reducing waste by installing a new process help to achieve the goal for a particular plant, for example, or should the shop floor be reconfigured?
Ideas on the processes for instilling change and building new skills and on fresh ways to engage people are always needed as well.
Wise leaders establish disciplined processes for generating and developing ideas. The first phase of every initiative, for instance, should allow time and space for creativity. Incentives should encourage people not only to come up with ideas but also to share them widely. Most leaders acknowledge the importance of energy in organizational change—but many struggle to unleash it or keep it at high levels over time. Executives, for example, typically get excited about a big idea and dive straight into initiatives and task forces, wrongly assuming that one speech from the CEO will get everyone on board.
Negative energy—cynicism and obstructive behavior—must also receive attention, especially early in a transformation. It can be dissipated in a variety of ways: for instance, by removing or converting a de-energizing person, ensuring that visible successes emerge quickly, eliminating unnecessary and irritating bureaucratic nonsense including low-priority, energy-sapping tasks , and emphasizing fair processes.
Energy is not an issue just at the outset. Many transformations generate excitement and hope in their early stages, but the executives driving them fail to harness that enthusiasm and channel it behind powerful ideas. Unless employees receive clear direction and an understanding of how they themselves can contribute to the overall goal, their energy will flag rapidly.
Likewise, they will flounder if they face too many conflicting transformation priorities. Some prefer formal systems and processes to engage employees in initiatives. Both approaches are needed.
What are these practical catalysts for energy? We have already discussed two crucial ways of unleashing it: a well-crafted, ambitious aspiration and a clear transformation architecture that engages people. We've also observed that positive energy is likely to be uncorked if leaders actively drive the pace of change, embed it in specific ways, make it personal, and ensure that the company takes advantage of opportunities to upgrade individual and organizational skills.
Our research suggests that the more of these catalysts companies use, the better. Some leaders, believing that a uniformly brisk pace cannot be achieved across an entire organization, set out to run a large number of parallel initiatives at a moderate tempo. They fail to consider the de-energizing effect of that approach: inertia reestablishes itself and courage fails.
Imagine an aerial view of a fleet of ocean liners moving at five to ten knots an hour. Without binoculars to detect the bubbles thrown up in the wake of these ships, an onlooker has no sense of their movement at all. Now imagine a few speedboats zipping among them. The picture immediately becomes dynamic. Transformations are similar. A smaller set of high-impact, briskly moving initiatives is more energizing—and thus more sustainable—than a broader set of initiatives moving at a stately pace.
Managers invariably understand the practical importance of getting points on the board. But as a transformation proceeds, there is some risk that this kind of brainstorming, experimentation, and piloting will give the impression that nothing has really changed.
All steps seem tentative; none are consolidated. Leaders who welcome questioning can appear indecisive rather than consensual. Changes should be highly visible—a new shop floor or office layout, say, or a novel approach to branding.
To build hope and conviction, employees need role models who embody specific ideas in a visible and meaningful way. What might initially have come across as a slogan a new customer-focused way of working, for example springs to life when demonstrated in person. A well-tailored transformation story also helps to make individuals understand what must change and why. Used intelligently, structures, systems, and incentives align individuals with the goals of the transformation by rewarding certain sorts of behavior and discouraging others.
It is no longer enough just to motivate employees to perform: they must also be motivated to transform themselves and the organization. Decades after their school years end, adults can be as invigorated by learning as children are.
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