Healthcare professionals today face an industry in flux. Important medical technology continues to develop at breakneck speed, and healthcare reform drives rapid change throughout the industry. Healthcare leaders are up against greater challenges than ever before as traditional models of care are reshaped. Effective leaders need to find ways not only to handle times of uncertainly but to thrive in the face of change.
Have a Vision
The best leaders know how to dream big. Change will come whether you are ready for it or not, so a good leader needs to keep their organization at the forefront of successful innovation. A vision for the future and a plan for constantly improving your organization are crucial, but it means nothing unless those dreams can be communicated to the whole team. Make a point of ensuring that every member of the team knows their role. It can as simple as ending each meeting by asking “Who needs to know this information, and how will we communicate it to them?”
At it’s core, the healthcare industry is built on relationships. Whether it’s connecting with key internal stakeholders, such as employees and physicians, or communicating with patients, families, and the wider community, a good leader knows that such engagement defines an organization. Just as important as having a strong vision for the future is being active in communicating that vision. We all know that it can be frightening, frustrating, and destabilizing to have change thrust upon you, but you can help ease these difficult transitions in your organization by keeping each and every person in the loop about the long term goals. Being transparent with the whole team about an overarching vision allows it to become a shared dream, making everyone both invested in and accountable for positive change as it happens.
Remember the Business Side
Providing care is a calling, not just a profession, and that is as it should be. As a leader, however, it is your job to have your eye on the big picture, and remember that healthcare, like any other business, relies on consumer support for survival. If anything, healthcare reform has placed increasing focus on the consumer experience, and it is becoming necessary to incorporate consumer-centric experiences that have not previously been prominent in the healthcare industry. This fact should not be a source of negativity, but rather an opportunity to provide an ever-increasing quality of care to those we serve.
Hold yourself Accountable
In the midst of such sweeping and continuous change, it can be easy to lose sight of how you’re measuring up. Always make sure you have a clear image of what success looks like within a given period of time, with challenging but attainable milestones, and communicate these with others. Every member of the team should have a clear understanding of how to evaluate their own success and measure themselves against expectations — and so should a good leader.
See more tips for weathering change with grace here.