Do New IT Tools Foster Passion or Stress in Your Organization?
Author: Bryan Ritchie
As Simon Sinek said, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we care about is called passion.” It’s the passion that is increasingly missing. I have been working with a large hospital corporation to help them get aligned around an important effort to improve their HCAHPS scores. These scores represent the measurements the federal government and insurance providers use to determine not only if the hospital gets paid, but what they get paid. Put simply, without improvement, the hospital will not survive.
But as important as this measure is, employees are just stressed, not passionate. They are burdened by numerous objectives and initiatives, none of which are getting the attention or energy needed to succeed. How has management responded? Largely by investing in new systems, mostly IT, to try and streamline operations. In one case, the company had invested over $20 million USD to improve health record management. After more than a year of implementation, the vendor witnessed a number of nurses who claimed to be using the software doing tasks by paper that the software was supposed to handle. In the end, the employees had simply not adopted the tool. The irony is that when pressed, the nurses claimed they didn’t have the time to learn and use a system that would save them time.
This lack of, or speed of, adoption of these new tools is hard to explain, at least on its face. But at closer look, it’s not surprising at all. The challenge is two fold. First, trying to implement so many initiatives simultaneously ensures that employees are overwhelmed and unfocused. More than once I’ve heard hospital employees exclaim both that they are overwhelmed and that whatever management tries to implement is “just one more thing” to worry about. Second, because employees are overwhelmed with so many systems, processes, and initiatives, it is hard for them to understand how what this new tool will help them do day to day matters to the top level goals and strategies of the organization. They are left unable to care about the important outcomes that matter most to the institution! Hence, passion suffers. Without passion innovation, attention to detail, and even #culture suffers.
My point is not that systems and tools should not be implemented. But that without a clear tie between the systems and key performance activities (#KPAs) linked to strategic goals and strategy, the likelihood of adoption is poor at best. To be successful in the effort of implementing new tools, try the following:
- Reduce the amount of initiatives and tools implemented to one or two at a time until they are embedded in the “dna” of the organization. This usually takes a year at least. Trying to do more than this simply overloads people.
- Communicate often, clearly, and loudly why the tool will help the organization achieve its top priorities.
- Listen carefully to employees about the challenges of implementing the new systems and work to remove barriers.
- Measure compliance of the behaviors you seek to establish and make transparent to everyone these scores.
- Show progress of the top priorities and validate how the new tool is helping to achieve those gains.
Change is always hard. People don’t like to have to adopt and then adapt to new ways of doing their job. If you are going to help team members stay passionate about their jobs, they have to have some level of ownership. Implementing new tools without a high level of employee ownership is a misguided effort that is unlikely to produce the behavior changes needed for long-term success.
Bryan Ritchie and James Western are co-founders of GrowthSPORT, a successful consulting company whose mission is to improve SCORES (Stimulate Culture, Optimize Results and Engage Staff) for Teams, Divisions, Departments and Organizations through the SPORT model (Strategic Alignment, Personnel Performance, Operational Execution, Results Accountability and Team Strength), which are the Five Core Elements of Success.
GrowthSPORT provides resources, tools and experienced consultants to effectively implement the SPORT performance model from companies ranging from Startups to Fortune 500 companies.
Feel free to reach out to GrowthSPORT at (801) 676-2500 or at www.growth-sport.com.