For over 20 years, Access has provided patient electronic signature technology solutions tailor made for healthcare applications. Our most recent focus has been on a patient electronic signature platform that is the only vendor needed for any application of eSignature across all departments in a hospital. As a result of offering enterprise-class solutions that can serve the needs of every department, we have observed certain technology deployment strategies some better than others. In this article, we hope to impart some of our hard-earned lessons in the hope that you can achieve success faster and more consistently with your technology projects.
The Change Management Given
Before we get going, let us get one thing straight: technology would be an extremely easy thing to deploy if people were not involved. Changing convoluted and difficult processes into a single process that is much easier, faster, and cheaper would be relatively simple and straightforward if not for the habits of the humans involved. Habits, whether good or bad, are automated behaviors resulting from routines. Whenever you introduce technology that will inherently change someone's routines, you are threatening their habits, resulting in a certain level of friction. Habit is an evolved human behavior that must be considered and factored in when deploying any type of technology that will affect one's routines. Often, the success or failure of a technology project is predicated upon how much one understands and accounts the impact the new technology will have on the well established routines of individuals in the target department. To not account for human nature will almost certainly guarantee failure, so here are five common sense lessons learned when it comes to change management.
Change Management & Five Common Sense Lessons Learned
People Want to Be Considered
Humans do not like being told what to do without consideration of our thoughts or feelings. One of the fastest ways to make your technology project fail is to adopt something without any regard for the people within the department where the technology will be deployed. While this might seem like common sense, it is often neglected. As you are evaluating how to improve a process with a certain piece of technology, obtain the opinions of those within the department where the technology will be deployed. It is far more efficient to spend the time up front than it is to pick up the broken pieces when your department resists the adoption of new technology. Simply taking a moment to ask for a few people's thoughts will go a long way to getting their buy-in later, not to mention maybe you'll avoid buying a product that is not a good fit for the people in that department. Your people are assets. Use them as such.
One of the most wonderful things about our technology is its enterprise capability and utility, and it is quite common for people to want to deploy the technology across the entire health system all at once. On its face, this is not an illogical approach, but it does not account for human behavior. If you try to do too much, too soon you will more than likely fail. The greater the change, the harder it is for people to adapt. In exchange for a Big Bang approach, select an incremental approach to success. Pick a place where you know you can succeed and where that success will be seen. You will be able to achieve success faster in this approach, and you will be able to harness that success momentum to carry you onward into other areas with less resistance.
Pick Your Champion
One of the most critical components of successful change management is having a potent and influential champion. We have seen many people attempt to deploy our technology in the department that needs it the most, which often correlates to cost savings. However, if that department does not have a strong champion, it will be more difficult to get others on board. In our experience, successfully deploying enterprise-level technology is heavily contingent upon having an effective champion. It is better to deploy this technology in a department with lesser need but a better champion than to do it the other way around. Again, success will create momentum that will carry forward into other departments. The champion factor is a massive component of success that should be considered as a highly strategic measure.
Failure & Once Bitten Twice Shy
Previous failures can give people pause when it comes to accepting change. If you attempt to deploy technology and that deployment does not go well, it can really slow down your momentum in achieving your goals. If you do experience some failure, it may have an adverse effect on people’s willingness to trust you and undergo the process a second time. When redeploying after a failed first attempt, you should directly approach the team and admit to the faults, speak to the reasons as to why they occurred, and directly communicate what you have done to reconcile the situation. By clearly communicating and directly accepting any blame or responsibility, you will earn trust back in a much faster manner than making excuses to protect your ego or reputation.
Trust is the basis for credibility, and it is the ultimate form of social currency and political capital. Success achieved repeatedly will build credibility; conversely, failure will deplete it. This credibility or lack thereof will set the stage for how successful you can be over time within your organization and beyond. Everything you do will have an impact on your credibility. When putting this into context and understanding the significant ramifications of credibility, we have seen individuals elevated in their career paths to a legitimate professional state, which will then elevate the entire team.
In order to have successful technology deployment projects, one must fully account for the human behavioral factors in change management. While the above lessons might seem commonplace or trivial, they are most certainly worth exploring. We have seen more than a few projects become delayed as the result of poor change management practices that ignore people and their basic human tendencies. By accounting for the five principles listed above, you will experience higher success rates in your new technology implementation, elevated professionalism, and a happier team.
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