Change agents, leaders, facilitators, implementors, and receivers are just a few of the identified roles as change management has become a fixed event in our lives, either on a professional or personal level. People have different perspectives on change and how they react to it. According to Biech (2007), Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was the first to recognize that people go through phases as they adjust to change and “people perceive change as a loss – if only as the loss of what was” (para. 17). This statement resonates with me because I have experienced and observed the dynamics of change in my organization. Some are open and resilient to change, and some are not, as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stated, a loss of what was – could this be a loss of sense of control, perceived loss of competence, or a loss of identity? As leaders, what should be our role in helping the ones who are sensing a loss of what was? What is our responsibility for not taking for granted the rest that is eager to be movers and shakers in the organization?
I have worn several hats dealing with changes that have happened throughout these years at my workplace. Depending on the type of change, I could either be the change leader, facilitator, implementor, and receiver of the change. Although each role entails different responsibilities, I would say that being a change leader, facilitator, and implementor; I have to learn and understand the internal and external factors that are contributing to the impetus of change. For example, understanding the organizational dynamics and the capacity to implement, and identifying key decision-makers that need to be involved in sponsoring and championing are critical steps in the change management. According to Antwi and Kale (2014), the complexity of change in the healthcare environment requires four essential elements of change management: 1. environmental circumstance, 2. organizational harmony, 3. power dynamics, and 4. organizational capacity (p.18). I believe this holistic approach presented by Antwi and Kale can assist in ensuring the collective group is ready to embark on the change initiatives and has the motivation to continue during the implementation and sustainment phases of the change initiative. This strategy is further asserted by Weiner (2009, para.2) when he argued that the “organizational readiness for change is a multi-level, multi-faceted construct. As an organization-level construct, readiness for change refers to organizational members’ shared resolve to implement a change (change commitment) and shared belief in their collective capability to do so (change efficacy).”
One of the recent changes I have experienced is leading a change effort to integrate the privacy and cybersecurity education program across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which comprised of 13-member teaching hospitals, three affiliated hospitals and an academic institution. This initiative required collaboration amongst various stakeholders, subject matter experts, educators, and key decision-makers. It was a complex initiative that took a considerable amount of time planning, assessing, organizing, communicating, and learning. Yes! There is ample of learning along the journey. Hence, patience is a virtue. As a leader, I need to be kind and open to learn from my mistakes and seek expertise from others. I also need to understand, empathize, and support the ones that are feeling left behind. Rather than judge, I have to be curious and ask the right questions to help them leave the past and join the rest of the group to the future state. I also must ensure that the ones that are highly motivated to change are provided with the tools, support, and guidance to stay resilient as they maneuver their way through the peaks and valleys of change.
Our workplace environment keeps evolving and becoming more complex as organizations deal with the fast-paced and dynamic environment of the 21st-century. I have provided my thoughts and experiences with leading and facilitating change. We all have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the changes that are continually happening in our environment. What about you, what lessons have you learned along your change journey? What qualities would you think are essential when leading or facilitating change?
Antwi, M., & Kale, M. (2014). Change Management in Healthcare: Literature Review. The Monieson Centre for Business Research in Healthcare, 1-30. Retrieved from Royal Roads University Moodle database.
Biech, E. (2007). Models of Change. Thriving through change: a leader’s practical guide to change mastery [E-book version]. Alexandria, VA: Association for Talent Development. Retrieved from Royal Roads Skillport Database
Weiner, B. (2009). A theory of organizational readiness for change. Implementation Science, 4(67). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-67