Accelerating Change Programmes

Seeking the approaches that enable faster change in the complex world of health and social care

What’s it all about?

Successful change in organisations is really difficult.

This has been my experience, but you don’t have to take my word for it, there’s shed loads of evidence to support this. Logic would suggest, that doing it quicker, must be more difficult and less successful. I’m no longer convinced.

Why? Occasionally, I come across changes that have happened at a pace that makes me green with envy. Aspects of these changes seem to defy all logic. I’ve even been involved with a few and although I have clearly been happy to take the praise, I’ve not fully understood why they were successful at pace.

I’m an experienced project and programme manager/director of many years, I’ve done all the courses, PRINCE2, MSP and the like, but there is something that doesn’t quite fit for me and it hasn’t for a long time. These project and programme management approaches should be consistently effective. They are developed by knowledgeable and sensible people, all of whom, have been there and have the t-shirt. However, the success rate for achieving change objectives remains worryingly low.

Is it because I work in the complexity of health and social care? I suspect this is an important factor, but even when working on less complex projects, there were times when the approach didn’t seem to be effective and fast paced enough.

Over the past few years I have been able to use and understand approaches that were helping, for example, use of some agile methods. However, I recently had the opportunity to investigate the issue of acceleration in more depth. I undertook some research to study 5 programmes, all involving a number of health and social care organisations.  I found a degree of consistency in the most sustained periods of acceleration, which I wasn’t expecting. These consistent enablers of sustained acceleration were as follows:

  • Devolved decision making to front line operational staff
  • Strong operational relationships
  • Strong operational vision, focused on outcomes
  • a balance of programme and operational management supporting the change
  • flexible planning with a small number of fixed key milestones
  • someone carrying out a co-ordination role between the people and organisations involved.

This all seems good stuff, however delving a little deeper into each of these, the conflicts with project and programme management approaches become more apparent.

In this blog, I’ll explore the above enablers of accelerated change, as well as a range of other experiences and thoughts that are part of my quest to improve professionally and be consistently successful. My approach is moving away from traditional approaches and it would be great if people were able to share their stories and views through this blog, to our mutual professional benefit.

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This entry was posted on 13/03/2015 by in change and tagged , , , , , , .

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