It is not a matter of if, but when — the date you find out your clinic, hospital or healthcare system will join forces with a partner.
Sometimes that partner is local, other times national or international. These big shocks to systems cause waves at all levels of any organization. Concerns abound for employees, patients and providers. Anyone in a leadership role must remain focused on how communication about change is delivered and what any staff changes could mean across the brand or within any layer of the organization.
Transparency is your friend. Even though final answers may take time, share as much as possible and do not fear saying you may not have a certain answer at the time. Emphasize how you will work on finding those answers and communicating them. I’ll share an example from my media life as a talk show host. Our radio station group got word in early 2017 that a company was buying us and the other 117 radio stations owned by CBS, pending federal approval. The sale was finalized in November of 2017 when Entercom officially became our new ownership. The reality was that all station staff didn’t stop broadcasting because our leadership told us to carry on with our work. They relayed changes as the year progressed. Sometimes those messages were in the form of mass e-mails, sometimes verbally in all-staff meetings and other times one-on-one. Our general manager’s goal to keep things as transparent as possible went a long way in keeping a certain level of calm as we awaited the big changes.
Communication in a Changing Playing Field
Some changes from consolidation could mean you lose colleagues and gain others. Instead of seeing these changes as reasons for pain or mourning, look at them as new opportunities to stretch your own leadership strengths, as well as model best practices for new people in the organization. Rely on audience analysis to grow your leadership communication abilities and help your teams through taxing times. Find out all you can about new people with whom you’ll work with or report to, as well as who will be reporting to you. The more you know, the more effective you are at crafting messages that make sense and are transparent. When there is a true meshing of divergent company philosophies, make sure senior leadership finds a way to decide together how major messaging is delivered internally and externally.
No matter where you are in the chain of service, patient outcomes dominate any good service model. Internalizing your role as an advocate for effective communication and effective results will prove a source of stability. Remember that advocacy also builds consensus and empowerment in others. And, when you do encounter good days and solid progress, celebrate those wins. Laughter, celebration, and good attitudes always work when it comes to leading through change.
Roshini Rajkumar is a presence engineer, business columnist, and host of News & Views with Roshini Rajkumar on WCCO Radio. To see past columns, listen to past shows, and read powerful presence tips, go to www.OwnYourWOW.com.