Become a Champion of Change

When working with organizations on culture change, I like to lead the executive team on an exploration. We discuss times when they have been successful at implementing a major change. In addition to the successes, we discuss times when their attempts were foiled. From there we draw out comparisons between the two.

The Fundamentals of Change

I’ve had these discussions with dozens of executive teams over the years. Two clear themes emerged as fundamental to success.

  1. Burning platform – Typically the most successful changes were those incited by a burning platform.
  2. Alignment at all levels of the organization.

COVID aside, one of the burning platforms often cited in these discussions is the implementation of a new EMR. The burning platform was crystal clear to everyone. At a specific date and time, a switch would be flipped and there would be no turning back. That fact forced action to align everyone.

Change Takes Time

You can’t flip a switch and change your culture. You cannot say that Monday at 8 AM we will have a new and improved culture. But what leaders can do, is learn from what helped make other types of changes successful. These include:

  • Embed “super users” as coaches. Of course, there is a big difference between super users in software technology and coaches who foster service behaviors that align with the vision. Each super user serves as a champion of change. The similarity is in the conscious development of internal “go-to” people who can coach on specific issues and give support as needed. A train-the-trainer model is particularly helpful in this situation.
  • Align around the big “why.” When it comes to culture, the big why is about being a place where patients choose for care, where employees want to work, and where providers want to practice. To achieve the alignment, you need non-negotiable standards. Again, with the train-the-trainer model, trainers become embedded coaches fluent in the organization’s standards for excellence.

Change is inevitable. By starting with why and embed a champion of change, it will be easier to get everyone aligned.

Baird Group consulting services can help you assess your culture, formulate a plan for a cultural transformation, and make changes that stick. Contact us today at or visit this link for more information

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