Organizations Don’t Change, People Change

Hank Adams, global director for health at HDR in conversation at the Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit with Garrett Miller, vice president of strategic marketing and creative director for healthcare, education and government with Herman Miller; Peter Ruppe, senior vice president of footwear at Under Armour; and Matthew Von Ertfelda, senior vice president of food and beverage for the global operations of Marriott Corporation.

Adams:  Many health organizations want to change. What advice would you give healthcare leaders on how to get started? If I really want to make change in my organization what are the things I need to be doing to be effective in that endeavor based on your experience?

See, Believe, Think, Act

Miller:  Organizations don’t change, people change. Too often we think about change at an organizational level and ignore the fact that change happens person by person and there are many strategies to activate that within the organization.

First is finding these key influencers within an organization that have built a network that you can tap into and say, “I want to empower you to begin to behave differently,” and hopefully that will start. But there are many other ways to go — focusing on that human layer.

A consulting firm I worked with for a few years, called SY Partners, has this framework that I still use and think about today.

The framework is: See, Believe, Think, Act. It is the idea that there is a human evolution to change and it begins with painting a picture for somebody that they can connect to and they can visualize. Painting that picture is seeing. Next is believing, how do you instill belief in them that it’s an attainable and desirable future state? The third is thinking, how do you empower them to think through a new lens that will allow them to create that future state? Then acting is actually creating all the incentives you need and making sure they can act differently.

If you think about that at a human level and think about that evolution of human change and how you get people to change, it has to be something you plan but it has to be individual by individual, not something you designed solely for the organization.

Ruppe:  I recall a Michelangelo quote about seeing David when it was just a block of marble, but he already saw the figure inside of it. One of the things that is hardest for us to do is to be able to envision a future state. But once you get a clear picture of it, you get those around you to get a clear picture of it, you can’t help but be driven to get there because all of the sudden where you are at isn’t comfortable anymore.

Now you’re in a state of discomfort — that is how we grow, that is how we stretch into new normals and a lot of these kinds of mindfulness training that we think about when we try to help develop these people. Think about how much time you are spending pulling a group together and talking about where you want to be instead of where you currently are and that is the “see it.” If you can’t see it, you are not going to get there. If you are comfortable with where you are currently, you aren’t going to get there.

You have to have a target and a place to go. For any of us who are growth-oriented and want to try to develop ourselves or develop our enterprises, we have to keep that vision orientation going all the time and it has to continue to be renewed.

Lean Into Progress, Don’t Resist

Von Ertfelda:  Driving that renewal are three words that come to mind that I might suggest we take away, and they are listen, learn, and lead. Always be listening, sometimes listening with our eyes, graphically, understanding behaviors, understanding what consumers and users are telling us by how they behave. Constantly learning and never being flat-footed and idle but thinking forward and questioning the status quo and questioning how we do business today and maybe how we can do business tomorrow.

Then having the courage to lead and take chances to launch those long-term but also short-term vets and repeat the process continually.

Ruppe:  The simple trick is to ask yourself, “Where is my attitude? Where is my colleague’s attitude? Am I seeing it and feeling it? Think about it like a plane — are you going in the direction you want to go or are you leaning away from it? If you are leaning away, you are helping others to lean away, but if you’re leaning into it, bring that energy and help others to lean into it, that is how change happens. It starts with us, and it’s easy to get complacent.

It’s a whole lot more fun and a lot more enjoyable in life to spend every moment leaning into it and taking your attitude and helping those around you to feel better, to feel part of something bigger. That is when really good movements happen and your industry is one that is poised for a movement and we’re excited for what you can do with it.

Hank Adams | Healthcare | HDR
Global Director, Health