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The physician executive's guide to change leadership

Leading change is never easy and physician leaders tell us they’re navigating more change and uncertainty than ever before. From consumerism to telehealth to care variation reduction, physician executives lead the physician enterprise through near-constant (and sometimes unpopular) change.

Use the tools and templates below to keep physicians front and center as you roll out your next initiative—and increase the chances that it will stick.


Imperative 1: Solicit physician input early and often

Avoid asking for input on a “finished” product. Preview changes early and involve physicians in designing change initiatives alongside you. It can be daunting to open up an initiative for input but doing so in a structured way ensures you’ll get targeted feedback you can act on. Not only will you win buy-in for the change itself—you’ll boost a top physician engagement driver: responsiveness to input.


Imperative 2: Proactively invite often-overlooked stakeholders to the table

Stakeholder support will make or break the success of an initiative. Identify and secure buy-in from all key stakeholders before communicating a change organization-wide. Pay particular attention to physician groups who may have been overlooked (or even avoided) in past change efforts.


Imperative 3: Craft a physician-specific case for change

It's simple: everyone wants to know how a change will affect their day-to-day. To win physician buy-in, customize organizational messages about change specifically for physicians and broadcast your case through a variety of channels to reach physicians across different sites and shifts.

For a full suite of physician communication resources, including ready-to-use scripting, check out Tools to communicate across the physician enterprise.


Imperative 4: Regularly seek feedback on how rollout is going—and how to make it better

Even the best-planned change initiatives will need adjustments after rollout. Frontline physicians closest to the change are best equipped to identify the workflow barriers standing in the way of implementation. Make it easy for physicians to share feedback—and consider how you can scale what's working and channel complaints into continuous improvements.


Imperative 5: Address the cumulative impact of change

Chances are that you’re advancing multiple changes at once—each of which demands physician bandwidth. Make sure you’re managing and sequencing changes in a way that is doable at the front lines.


Imperative 6: Take care of yourself, too

Change is hard—and leading it can feel even harder. We all have blind spots and it’s likely that you’ll hit some roadblocks along the way. As you navigate the process, take time to reground yourself in your purpose and turn to trusted peers for candid feedback and support.

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