With any shift in strategy, there are barriers that need to be overcome. There are a number of potential sources of change resistance and business literature has studied these for a long time. These can be poor communication of the strategy, self-interest, feelings of exclusion, lack of trust in leadership, and a lack of skills or training to implement the changes (Brookins, 2013). Within the organization, it is the workers and managers who must interpret and implement any change strategy. When these stakeholders do not understand the change, they may become resistant to it. Thus, the strategic change needs to be communicated with utmost clarity. Self-interest also becomes a source of resistance, where perhaps some people within the organization feel that the change will harm them, so they resist the change to protect their own interests. Such resistance can be much more difficult to overcome, because the root cause is often hard to identify. However, people often resist change out of self-interest because they feel that the change that occurs with them will be negative -- people tend to resist having change put upon them if things are going well for them (Bregman, 2009).
Lack of trust in leadership and feelings of exclusion are similar with respect to how they manifest. The people in the organization simply do not wish to follow leadership through the change process because for whatever reason they do not believe that leadership is right about the change. If this problem is widespread, leadership may need to look at the proposed change and find out if there are logical reasons for the objections. While there is temptation to blame the resisters or ignore them, if their numbers are sufficient a better approach is actually to be proactive and work with them (Ford & Ford, 2009). This approach sees resistance as a resource. If there are people who are resisting because they feel excluded from the change process, then perhaps this is because they have valuable input that would make the change process better. At most, dialogue can unlock this input but at the very least dialogue can reduce the resistance to strategic change that might occur.
The final type of resistance is a lack of skills and training. This is a case where the will is there to support the change, but the organization simply does not have the competency. This could happen to a company like Bon Secours, for example, because in health care roles can be quite specific. A change process regarding something like electronic health records can only be executed with proper IT talent, in addition to extensive training of the staff. Further, the strategic change could fall flat if management is not up to the task. In the case of ensuring full HIPAA compliance, there is significant training that needs to be done across the entire organization. Further, new hiring of consultants and other experts on HIPAA compliance might well be required to improve the organization's competencies to a level where it is able to meet its strategic objectives.
Kotter's 8-step change model addresses training and how this can help to facilitate the change process (MindTools, 2013). Training becomes part of the process by which the change is implemented, and the training is not just for new recruits but for existing staff as well. The training develops the skills required to bring about the changes, turning resistance into confidence. By implementing training to support the change, resistance is therefore reduced significantly, both in terms of technical barriers to change but also in terms of human barriers as well.
As noted, communication is essential to facilitating any sort of strategic change. Kotter's 8-step change program focuses on communication that creates urgency to implement the change, and this should come from senior management and all other levels of management as well. There should be support from other stakeholders external to the organization in addition, to lend further support for the urgency of the change. The communication not only needs to be urgent, but it needs to have vision. The strategic change communication needs to communicate the vision clearly, so that everyone in the organization knows exactly what they are working towards. The vision needs to be shared, and there needs to be some sort of benefit for the people in the organization. They will not buy into a vision that only benefits senior management or shareholders, but they will buy into a vision that benefits everybody, as adherence to HIPAA does.
The communication needs to be clear to each person as to their own responsibilities for the change. For many, implementation of HIPAA means specific changes to their job duties, and those need to be reflected in job descriptions and training. In that way, communication is about far more than just sending out a memo. It has to be across all forms of communication in the company, both direct and indirect. What people are evaluated on in their performance reviews sends a clear message about expected roles in change processes, perhaps even more so than simply telling people what their role is. Communication needs to be clear, repeated often, and consistent in order to be effective. You cannot overcommunicate a strategic change effort (Heathfield, 2013).
Implementing HIPAA guidelines is not exactly market entry, but there needs to be an approach to bringing about this change that recognizes that there are elements of the change that are fundamentally new. The strategic plan first must begin with an understanding of how the plan fits with the overall strategic mission. As noted, the mission of Bon Secours is to "bring compassion to health care and to be good help to those in need." (Bon Secours, n.d.). When considering the strategic plan, Bon Secours management needs to ensure that the plan fits in well with the stated mission and vision of the organization, because the plan should not in any way disrupt that mission without a broad-based overhaul of the corporate mission, which is not happening here.
The second part of the procedure is that the company needs to focus on a communication plan, a training plan, and an action plan. The communication plan will take into account a full variety of communications that need to be put into effect in order to ensure that all stakeholders understand what the strategy is, why it is being implemented, and what their role in the change will be. It is essential that the communication does not only explain the change, but builds motivation to change, creates a sense of urgency and generates desire for change among all of the stakeholders, but especially the internal ones of the company.
The training plan needs to evaluate what the needs of the company in the strategic change are and what the company's current capabilities are with respect to this strategic change. This part of the process is the result of careful gap analysis. It is important to understand how the company will bridge the gap between the current state and the desired state of full compliance with HIPAA (MindTools, 2013). This will allow Bon Secours management to see where it wants to be and what skills it will need to acquire organizationally to get there. Then, the training plan will be put into place.
There also needs to be an action plan. This encompasses a wide range of things. The heart and soul of the action plan is that the company needs to determine what tasks will need to be completed, then determine who will complete them and within what timeframe. Then, the right resources to execute the strategic change can be put into practice. With this action plan, the management of Bon Secours will know what it needs to do and who will do it. This creates an opportunity to have specific targets and measures, so that there is responsibility on the part of specific individuals and departments for making sure that the plan is implemented properly. An example would be training the IT department for the use of new software. The IT department will be responsible for certain things, like installing and testing the software and for training the staff on using it. The finance department might be responsible for funding the change process. The HR department might be involved at the training stage, and with rewriting some of the job descriptions, in addition to ensuring that the change is built into the hiring and training needs of the organization at a formal level. The communications department might be responsible for communicating the change program. There might be work for union stewards within the program, so management would be responsible for getting the union involved. There are so many little things that need to be done with a strategic change, but each task needs to be completed on time and according to spec.
Measurement guidelines are critical to strategic effectiveness. This again comes from the gap analysis where the organization identifies where it wants to be.…