Prepare for Positive Change: How to be Agile During Changes in the Healthcare Profession

It’s long been a truism that adaptable healthcare organizations are successful ones. Even when times are good, healthcare organizations have to adjust to changing patient loads, shifting demographics, along with legislative, financial, and regulatory changes. Now more than ever, we’re seeing just how vital it is that healthcare organizations can draw upon a culture of resiliency to nimbly adapt to changing market conditions. Here’s how to ensure that your organization is among those that can.

How to Build an Agile Organization

According to McKinsey, agile organizations share a handful of key characteristics: resilience, rapid decision-making, and the ability to act. Together, they represent a careful balance between dynamism and stability.  Incorporating these elements into your healthcare business is vital for ensuring that when a crisis such as COVID-19 hits, your organization is empowered to respond quickly. Here’s how:

Make resilience your backbone. Resilient organizations are ones that anticipate rather than react to change. In practice, this means taking a holistic approach to business success instead of narrowly focusing on one or two key metrics. Resilient healthcare businesses are committed to building capabilities across the entire organization so that they’re positioned to respond both to incremental changes and major disruptions.

Foster rapid decision-making. Agile organizations respond quickly to new challenges or changes. To achieve this for your healthcare business, try using Bain & Company’s RAPID decision-making tool, which assigns accountability for decision-making, ensuring swift, effective outcomes.

Empower staff to act. Top-down decision making results in slow, bureaucratic responses, and discourages on-the-ground staff from offering invaluable input into organizational processes. Agile organizations foster an environment of collaboration, input, and autonomy so that individual staff members are able to make suggestions or act quickly in response to change.

How to Prepare for Change

To successfully meet change as it arises, your healthcare organization must be primed for transformation and innovation. This can be achieved through the following:

Communicate well and often. Free and open information-sharing positions your organization to be able to respond proactively to potential shifts, changes, or crises rather than being blindsided by them. Keep communication channels open, and you’ll develop change readiness.

Ensure effective leadership is in place. Strong leadership from the top matters, but leaders exist at all levels of the organization. Push decision-making capability down to the lowest levels possible, and invest in up-and-coming leaders.

Develop a culture of collaboration. Collaborative organizations are much more likely to adapt well to change than those that work in silos. Work to build an organizational culture that embraces cross-functionality and allows staff at all levels to work together.

Motivate staff to embrace change. Similar to the above, change is most likely to be accepted and managed when your healthcare staff sees the value in shifting their practices to meet new norms and requirements. Help your employees see why change is so significant, and why it will deliver far more value than the status quo.

Change is Here to Stay – and So Are Change-Resilient Organizations

Change-resilient organizations hope for the best but expect the worst. They’re optimized for the present day but are prepared to nimbly change course to meet new challenges as they arise. By developing organizational resilience, your healthcare business will be able to overcome the current COVID-19 crisis – and any that follow.