If there is one clear result from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that it has forced almost every single business to transform. When an organization sets out to transform, it usually does so with the intention to identify techniques or processes that aren’t being used to maximum capacity and determine how alternate innovative solutions can be applied to increase market share, revenue, and customer satisfaction or cut inefficient expenditures. To transform means transcendence to a new state. So why do some organizations transform successfully while others don’t?

When a transformation is successful, not only are organizations able to increase market share, revenue, customer satisfaction, and cut inefficiencies, they are able to sustain it. With that success, there is a deliberate, sound strategy supported by structures, processes, deliberate implementation methodologies, and the right people who are aligned to the vision, mission, and values of the organization. People know their roles, they show up living the cultural values in how they work, speak, and behave. They understand that what they do contributes to the greater good and they are committed to it.  It is so evident that it is noticeable in the industry and shows up in bottom-line results.  However, when a transformation is not successful, there is either a decline or flattening in market share and revenue as well as customer satisfaction. Inefficiencies are not addressed and may even get worse. So why does this happen?

Organizations that don’t succeed in transformation often fail to create a vision and enroll their people in it. Leaders often believe that all of the strategy, innovation, and solutions need to come from them, which does not open the door to the possibility for people to see themselves in the transformation. Communication of the vision and the learning of what can come from it may be lacking, so people may become fearful of a new way of being because they don’t know where they fit. However, more often than not, poor planning or rushing the process are the culprits of not achieving transformation success.

For example, even before the pandemic, healthcare organizations (provider or payer) have had to respond to the demands of healthcare reform at warp speed. Since 2008, many have had to plan a new way of being without really knowing how to go about as they were challenged to meet the demands of local and federal legislation. In most cases, poor planning led some healthcare organizations to a decrease in market share as healthcare networks formed and they didn’t take advantage of being in them right away. Most were forced to lay-off employees, increase pricing for simple procedures, coverage for medications, etc., and the costs were passed on to the patients (customer), causing patient dissatisfaction. The impact also caused a spike in poor patient outcomes as workforces diminished and employee dissatisfaction increased (doing more with less). This compounded patient dissatisfaction and more importantly led to a decrease in their HCAHPS scores (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). Because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) requires healthcare organizations to gather patient satisfaction data that allows patients to score a hospital or healthcare system on the care they’ve received, most who planned and executed poorly received low HCAHPS score resulting in a loss of federal bonuses for value-based care.  The bottom line here is that poor planning and rushing transformation can have a negative trickle-down impact.

No matter what type of organization, successful transformation is intentional and takes time to achieve.  It means strategic and deliberate planning that is aligned to a vision for the new way of being, strategic and deliberate implementation, and developing learning opportunities that adequately and consistently prepare people for transformation so that long-term transformation is sustained. It requires leaders to bring people along in the journey, actively listen to their thoughts, ideas, concerns and suggestions and create the vision for possibility. It means that the organization takes the time necessary to climb the ladder of transformation (climb and maintain, climb, and maintain) until the new way of being is achieved.  One cannot rush transformation because it is a process, not an event.

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