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PT and the Greater Good

Effective Agents for Change

Published July 8, 2014 2:52 PM by Dean Metz

Two weeks ago I attended, and presented a poster, at a seminar on change within the National Health Service (NHS). We were asked to present because we had excellent outcomes in our service and we got them by doing things differently than other services had done. It was an enlightening day. The primary speaker, Helen Bevan, gave a fantastic presentation on how to effect change in the NHS. I want to share some of her thoughts with you.

"Be a boat rocker... but stay in the boat!"

Radicals, rebels and mavericks are generally not embraced in business, especially at non-management levels, however most great ideas and changes come from them. Some key points to being "different" in an organization: don't break rules -- change them; don't complain -- create; don't see problems -- see possibilities; don't point fingers -- pinpoint causes. She had many more, but these characteristics will help get a point across better than negativity.

She emphasized that successful boat rockers have the following characteristics: they are value-driven, have a sense of self-efficacy, collaborate, achieve small wins to build cohesion, and are optimistic.

So what does this have to do with productivity? First try and empathize with your director/administrator. This person is under pressure from owners to produce! Offer potential solutions to any obstacle you raise. Is there waste in the way things are run in your facility? Do you have a solution that might be easy to implement? Suggest it! Don't be discouraged if nobody listens at first. Keep coming up with possibilities, your enthusiasm will get you support until you become a force that cannot be ignored.

Learn about management; especially lean management. Managers can interpret data to support changes. The same can't be said for opinions and feelings. When we proposed the changes to our service, management was very doubtful, but by having our statistics and service agreement contracts clear, through a lean management approach we validated our ideas and brought management on board. The result was happier patients, realistic workloads, and exceptional clinical outcomes.

It can be done and more than a few people who have responded to my blogs in recent weeks have told me ways they have succeeded. Sometimes we may find ourselves working for "the evil empire," as one of my ADVANCE blogger colleagues called her old employer. A company that so lost its soul she had no choice but to leave. You might face the same dilemma too, but at least give it your best shot to turn things around!

As a non-therapist friend once said, "If you don't want to be a doormat, get up off the floor."

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About this Blog


    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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