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Managing change: a leadership perspective

Link Healthcare Advantage and MatrixCare have teamed up to help give insight into what is happening within the industry and hopefully address some of those unanswered questions, that maybe you didn’t even know to ask.

COVID-19 has brought about more changes in three months then we have seen in an average year. Now that things have settled down and you hopefully have had a moment to breathe, take time to reflect on how you handled the change. If you are a leader, how would you rate your ability to lead your team through the changes? As a staff member, how would you rate your ability to make the changes?

As a leader, we need to be able to lead our staff through change with the least amount of disruption as possible. The following are 4 steps that can be used the next time you are facing a need for change.

Step 1: Defining the problem and what-ifs

In order to make a change, you first need to define the problem. Along with defining the problem, you need to consider the “what-ifs?”

  • What if we make the change and it works?
  • What if we make the change and it doesn’t work?
  • What if we don’t make the change?

Step 2: Communication and transparency

How do you communicate to your staff that a change is needed? Do you just roll out the change, call a staff meeting, or send an email? Communication is vital in having your staff on board to make the change. The following are some must-haves in communicating the need to change.

  • Define the need for the change– Is it a regulatory change? Is it a new best practice? Is it a financial need? Is it a patient outcome need?
  • Share the data that goes with the need for the change (if data is available)
  • Share the “what-ifs” especially the “what if we don’t make the change, then what?”

Step 3: Create an action plan

Change doesn’t just happen. You need to study the problem, identify possible solutions, and then develop a plan to make the changes. An action plan should include the following items:

  • Define the problem
  • Data sources or regulations used to support the problem
  • Individuals that are impacted by the need for change
  • Steps needed to implement the change
  • The goal for evaluating the change was successful

In the action plan, you should identify who is responsible for each step of the plan. You know the saying- when everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.

Step 4: Evaluation

After rolling out the change you’re done, right? Not quite. You need to do ongoing evaluations to see if the problem has been resolved long term and/or implemented correctly. Not all plans work the first time around and as a leader, we need to be ok with saying “that didn’t work let’s try plan b”. We also have to be careful not to immediately jump to the conclusion that it is a staff problem.  Could there be other problems that caused the problem? Could there have been confusion on how to implement the changes? Did we give the staff all the tools and knowledge they needed to make the change? After answering these questions then you can move on to developing plan b or c or even plan w until you find the right change needed to solve the problem.

Change is never easy and change often causes disruption throughout the organization either directly or indirectly. As a leader, we can impact the way our staff addresses change by having open communication and the willingness to identify that there often is more than one way to solve the problem.

We hope that these tips will help you the next time you are faced with making a change in your organization. Please send any questions to diane@linkhealthcareadvantage.com. To request a blog topic, please contact alyssa.fischer@matrixcare.com.

Learn more about how MatrixCare Home Health & Hospice is supporting providers through COVID-19 and beyond.

Disclaimer: we are not endorsing this information for accuracy or validity of the content. We encourage you as appropriate, to verify clinical and regulatory content with your own trusted sources.


Diane Link
Diane Link

Diane Link has over 25 years of home health and hospice experience. She is currently owner of Link Healthcare Advantage, providing home health and hospice consulting services including operation assessments, survey readiness, regulatory and compliance programs, outsource QAPI program and outcome improvements. Diane is also COO and partner with Curaport, an online education platform for post-acute care providers. Her experience includes a variety of roles in home health and hospice from field nurse to executive director, and was a surveyor for home health, hospice, and private duty services for CHAP (Community Health Accreditation Partners) for the past five years as both an independent consultant and as a director of clinical consulting at a large consulting company.

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