“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in a new order of things.” (Machiavelli, 1469-1527)
Being a manager or leader is nothing if not bringing about change (as opposed to administration, which I consider to be maintaining the status quo, i.e. specifically not changing). It must be a core aspect of a manager/leader’s role and so I don’t need to rehearse the elements of managing change here, as any decent book on change management will do that.
However, what surprises me is that so often management initiatives that involve change are so often undertaken without reference to standard, obvious change management principles. Did the managers responsible never learn this stuff at Business School? More likely, the managers/leaders never went to business school or feel it’s somehow not relevant in the ‘real’ world. A CEO I worked for once said to me, “Paul, you’re the only person I’ve ever met who practises what we were taught in our MBAs”. At first, I thought it was a put-down, but on reflection I realised he was right; there is a ‘theory-practice gap’. We know what the right thing to do is, but we find it incredibly hard to do! (Romans 7:18,19).
Clinicians find it especially difficult to lead change, not least because they’ve rarely had any training in it. In my next few posts I’ll suggest successful techniques for leading change in a clinical context.