change management

Change imperatives: Handwashing in health care

The CDC reports that on any given day about 1 in 25 patients gets an infection. That’s roughly 2 million people per year, and hand hygiene contributes significantly to the problem.


Yes, hand washing translates to incalculable suffering and millions of dollars of unnecessary health care cost and waste.



By | August 23rd, 2016|change management, employee wellness, health care|0 Comments

FLSA changes: Get a good start on creating more effective internal communications

As August winds down, you may feel like you are falling behind when it comes to implementing and communicating Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) changes that will affect the exempt/non-exempt status of many employees.


There are many web resources and organizations such as the PHRA to help you manage the change, but the focus of this article is on communication and some things you can start doing now, even if you do not yet know all the details of how FLSA changes will affect your workforce.



By | August 22nd, 2016|change management, FLSA, internal communications|0 Comments

The Crimson Sphere: A short allegory

Janet, a director at ENCompetent Inc., summons Max to her office one morning. Max, a frontline manager, arrives at the door but he can hardly see Janet because she is working behind a giant red exercise ball that takes up most of the space on her desk.


“What’s with the red ball?” Max asks.



By | August 19th, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Studies in simplicity: Microgoals

Big and complicated problems often generate big, complex solutions. Ken Segall puts it very well in his book, Think Simple, when he writes, “It’s in our DNA to prefer simpler things, yet we so often open the door to complexity. That’s because being complicated is easy. Making things simpler is the more challenging task.”


If you want to do one thing today that will greatly increase your chance of success on any project, personal or business, do the hard work up front to make it simpler.



Four signs your communication cascade won’t work

Many people think of a top-down communication cascade as their go-to method for communicating important changes. A communication cascade begins when executive leaders take a set of messages to their staff meetings. Attendees are supposed to carry the same messages to their staff meetings and so forth, until theoretically every employee has received the information.


At most companies, and especially those that have not invested significantly in developing managers and leadership, the disadvantages of a cascade often outweigh the benefits. Don’t take it from me. The next time you plan a large-scale communication cascade, look for the following signs as indications that your critical information may not reach your audience with impact.


By | July 18th, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Trust and consequences

If you are looking for a way to differentiate your company in a way that competitors will find it hard to emulate, look no further than the level of trust you have with your employees.


Imagine two CEOs looking at efforts that will bring significant changes to their employees. The cost of health has been increasing annually at double the rate of inflation. This year something has to give: employee premiums are going up substantially, the old HMO standby is going away, and a financially significant wellness incentive is in the works.



By | July 12th, 2016|benefits, change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Falls or infections: The courage of simplicity

Several people have asked me for more specific stories about the points I discuss here. Here is an interesting experience that highlights the importance of simplicity and prioritizing in effective change efforts.


A hospital had just engaged me that in recent months had seen an increase in patient falls. Hospital leadership was highly stressed. Middle managers were trapped between competing and conflicting executive demands and a tired and somewhat demoralized staff.


By | July 7th, 2016|change management, hospital & health care|0 Comments

Three misconceptions about change

Experts from the Harvard Business Review to IBM to Forbes/Towers Watson agree that change programs are successful about 25 percent of the time. It follows that if you are doing what everyone else is doing, you can expect to fail 75 percent of the time.


So what are some of the biggest misconceptions about change? Here are three tips to help you zig where others zag. Put yourself in the happy minority of companies that consistently introduce effective change.



Attention is a resource

For the past few years, a Microsoft Canada Consumer Insights Report has made the media rounds claiming that the average human attention span has declined from 12 seconds in 2000 to about 8 seconds in 2013, compared to 9 seconds for goldfish.


There are many implications to this work that are lost in the second-hand reporting, and I would encourage anyone to read the core study. For our purposes, though, I think it brings to the forefront that attention is a resource, and a highly limited one at that.



By | June 22nd, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Change is personal

I have worked with many change experts over the years, collaborating to bring effective communication practices to their differing methodologies.


I especially remember a man who visited our organization with his entourage every few months. He projected authority and conducted direct conversations with our executive team about “alignment” and “accountability.”


Early on, I read his introductory book on change and found some value in it. In particular, my wife and I were having a minor disagreement about how to handle a situation with our daughter. I used an idea from the book to help me approach it with her more constructively, and I decided to share the experience.



By | May 24th, 2016|change communications, change management|0 Comments