Planning refers to the decisions regarding the person(s) responsible for executing an activity and how, when and where the activity will be carried out (Marquis & Huston, 2009, p. 140). In reference to the purpose of this paper, organizations often introduce change without carefully planning how to go about it; hence, the reason for prevailing resistance to such changes. This paper aims at integrating the planning process to solve a problem of resistance to change to the introduction of a new technology in Regional Health System.
The manager in charge of the change should have clearly defined goals and associated indicators to determine if the change process has been successful at the end of the process (Schifalacqua, 2009a: Schifalacqua, 2009b). Also, he or she should be energetic and resilient enough to accommodate his or her subordinates’ views and still have the drive to push forward with the change. In addressing the problem at hand, the Kurt Lewin’s change theory will be applied to redress the problem. Lewin’s theory describes change as a three-phase process that entails unfreezing, movement and refreezing (Grant, Colello, Riehle, & Dende, 2010).
In this case where the staffs are resistant to the change, the management should review and revise its approach. First, the management should sensitize its staff about the need for the new technology based on the mission, vision and values of Regional Health System. Good leadership is that which is able to make people realize their confidence while simultaneously encouraging them to embrace and initiate change.
Battilana, Gilmartin, Sengul, Pache and Alexander (2010) highlight the essence of task-oriented and person-oriented behaviors in pushing for change. In this case where there is already some resistance, the manager, who is the change agent, will adopt person-oriented behavioral skills. These skills are meant to create a need for the desired change and obtain the views of the staff regarding the proposed change through communication (Battilana et al., 2010).
The department heads will assist the manager in the coordination of the change process. The manager will organize meetings and seminar with the aim of wooing and involving the staff members in the change process. According to Kerfoot (cited in Marquis & Huston, 2009, p. 167), involving every individual without imposing one’s ideas is the characteristic of a good leader and a key element to successful change. The meeting agendas will be about the current performance levels and feedbacks from clients that has instigated the change.
Supporting the hospital staff during the entire process is very imperative, according to Bevan (2010). Since the hospital values are empowerment, integrity, partnership and respect, each staff member will be given the opportunity to contribute towards this proposed change. In the meetings, the manager will note the feelings and reasons for resistance, and together with the staff, come up with ways to address the concerned fears.
In addition, the role of each individual in the entire change process will be articulately defined. A seminar will thereafter be carried out to educate the nurses about the benefits associated with using electronic health records as opposed to recording and filing patient information manually. In addition, each individual will be oriented on how to use the new technology. A nurse from a hospital that has successfully implemented this technology will facilitate the seminar.
As an institution that strives to give nothing but the best, each individual will be asked to take charge as a means of encouraging ownership of the change process. The change agent should understand the need for each individual to own the change process. This kind of ownership will ensure that each individual works self-independently without unnecessary monitoring. In an attempt to push for action aimed at actualizing change, in addition to the person-oriented skills, task-oriented skills of the manager are crucial. During this stage, the manager will liaise with department heads so that they can oversee the availability and accessibility of required systems to realize the change.
The change process is expensive, and the change agent should have great evaluation and observation skills to utilize locally available resources (Bevan, 2010). For example, instead of seeking external monitors and evaluators, individuals with a keen eye for detail will create a list of indicators for use in continuously monitoring and evaluating the change process.
Once the systems are in place, individuals will gradually transfer all patient information into the system. The use of electronic systems to store patient information will allow easy access to information from any department because there will be reduced wastage of time unlike when using manual files. During the implementation phase, there will be daily meetings at the end of the day organized by the department heads. Each department will report about the day’s work and experience in the use of the new technology as well as any challenges encountered. During this time, nonetheless, the staff may need to refer to the manual files; thus, it will not be the actual implementation stage.
Subsequently, the department heads will meet the manager to review the reports and make necessary amendments until the staffs are entirely pleased with the system. Once the department heads are sure that there is no reference to patient files at all, presumably after a month, more time will be required to monitor the change process, thoroughly. This phase is referred to as refreezing by Marquis and Huston (2009). During this refreezing time, the use of electronic health record will be fully integrated while ensuring that they meet the desired objective: increasing efficiency.
Planning is a very important aspect of leadership because without it, failure to meet organizational needs and objectives results. Change is inevitable because it brings about development and improvement in any organization/institution. When well planned, and while using the relevant skills, the change process can be a real success.
Battilana, J., Gilmartin, M., Sengul, M., Pache, A.-C., & Alexander, J. A. (2010). Leadership competencies for implementing planned organizational change. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(3), 422–438.
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Schifalacqua, M., Costello, C., & Denman, W. (2009b). Roadmap for planned change, part 2: Bar-coded medication administration. Nurse Leader, 7(2), 32–35.