Research

Drive Organizational Change—Without Overloading Managers

On top of an already challenging job with an often unwieldy span of control, today’s managers are also tasked with implementing an overwhelming number of new initiatives. The result is most managers end up overwhelmed, overloaded, and unable to drive forward organizational change.

This report contains four strategies that will help executives increase manager capacity and make change initiatives doable.

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Most Health Care Change Initiatives Fail

Health care executives are finding that many of the strategic changes they are trying to advance within their organizations simply aren’t happening. In fact, recent data suggests two out of every three change initiatives fail in health care. This is in large part because the majority of employees have not changed the way they work to reflect new strategic initiatives.

Overloaded Managers Unable to Translate Strategy into Frontline Action

This breakdown between strategy and execution occurs at the frontline leader level. Executives rely on managers to translate new strategies into changes in frontline behavior. But today’s health care managers are too overloaded and overwhelmed to execute these new initiatives. There are three reasons why managers struggle to execute organizational change:

  1. The skills that managers need to implement today’s change initiatives are outpacing what is typically taught in traditional leadership development.
  2. The scope of the manager role has increased dramatically to include not only staff management but also business operations and change leadership—without a parallel increase in manager support.
  3. Too many one-off change initiatives introduced by executives weigh down managers’ time.

This publication will focus on addressing the final two challenges. Our reasons are: it is difficult to teach training through a publication—and while training can be powerful, it can’t fix an unsustainable role.

How to Increase Managers’ Capacity to Drive Organizational Change

This publication outlines the actions executives can take to ensure managers can drive organizational change without burning out. We provide four strategies, outlined below, that will help you re-scope the manager role and re-focus executives’ asks.

Remove Work from Managers’ Plates
Stop some of the unnecessary, but incessant demands that weigh on managers’ time. Read more on pg. 13.

Reallocate Staffing Resources to Better Support Managers
Leverage staff that are already available in-house to better support nurse managers. Read more on pg. 25.
            Related resource: Editable slides to help you make your business case

Reconcile Executive Expectations with Manager Realities
Understand and incorporate managers’ perspectives in organizational change initiatives. Read more on pg. 39.

Reduce the Number of Initiatives Hitting Managers at Once
Coordinate initiatives at the executive-level, so that initiatives are doable for managers. Read more on pg. 49.

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