Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Work Habits for a Radically Changing World

As CHRISTUS Health moves toward our 10th anniversary on Feb. 1, 2009 and anticipates the recommendations emulating from the Futures Task Force II learning journeys, it is most appropriate to pause and reflect on how our health system might need to change from a governance and operational perspective to be successful as our future unfolds.

In a recent leadership booklet published by Price Prichett, which I shared with the Senior Leadership Team, we are reminded that CHRISTUS Health’s work, like that of many organizations, is going global. As the world flattens, jobs are going virtual.

The author states that: “Business is being conducted in ways that were simply impossible a few short years ago. The economy is shifting more and more towards services and towards knowledge work. Before long, top management absolutely won’t be able to run things the old way, even if it desperately wants to.”

In addition, the author reminds us it does no good whatsoever to complain about how new technologies are changing the health care industry. “The world will reward only those of us who will catch on to what’s happening. We must invest our energy in finding and seizing the opportunities brought about by change.”

“And change always comes bearing gifts. Considering the scope and speed of change these days, there will be precious gifts – many priceless opportunities – for those of us who can play by the new rules, positioning ourselves right and take personal responsibility for our future.”

Based on these introductory remarks, the author then articulates 13 guidelines for managing our performance during these times of radical change. These include:
1. Become a quick change artist. Change can be painful. But being a quick change artist can build our reputation, while resisting change can ruin it.
2. Commit fully to your work. We must fully commit to our Journey to Excellence, bringing forth our very best potential.
3. Speed up. We must continue create efficiencies in our processes, enhancing our reputation as an organization that pushes change processes along.
4. Accept ambiguity and uncertainty.
5. Behave like you’re in business for yourself.
6. Commit to life-long learning. We must continue to identify and share best practices. Our ability to debrief on each of our successes and failures and capture lessons learned will continue to be a vital success factor.
7. Increase accountability for outcomes.
8. Evaluate and quantify the added value of all we do.
9. Continue to see ourselves as a service center.
10. Make our own morale and optimism, while being realistic about the “moment in which we are living.”
11. Accept continuous improvement as a critical success factor
12. Be a fixer, not a finger painter.
13. Continuously raise your expectations. We must continuously review our metrics on our Journey to Excellence.

Yes, the future we have envisioned and continue to study will bring forth new challenges while also promising us new possibilities. In our first nine years, CHRISTUS Health has had astounding opportunities. By listening to the learnings from our Futures Task Force II, incorporating them into our future strategies and embracing new work habits we can continue our journey to be one of the best health care and wellness care delivery systems in this radically changing world.

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