6 min read/Published On: January 13, 2020/1203 words/

Resistance to change…

Hello again and thank you for the feedback and engagement that has happened with the blog post over the past few weeks. If you’ve implemented any of the ideas or suggestions we have shared, please do let us know. Towards the end of last week’s blog, we talked about Pam’s example of how she supported a provider to move from Requires Improvement to Outstanding. We mentioned resistance to change because obviously to make that level of change requires effort; this week, I want to move on to Module 4 of Lead to Succeed – Managing the Process of Change. We will re-visit CQC inspections in the near future, mainly due to the blogs prompting so many suggestions!

One of the early slides in Module 4 states: “Change is assisting people to move from an arrangement that is familiar or comfortable to something new, that is potentially threatening or uncertain.” The Wikipedia definition: “Change management is a collective term for all approaches to prepare, support, and help individuals, teams, and organisations in making organisational change. The most common change drivers include: technological evolution, process reviews, crisis, consumer habit changes and organisational restructuring.”

One of the reasons I included the Wikipedia definition is to highlight some of the common drivers to change. It is interesting to note that the reasons included technological evolution; we’ve certainly all seen that in social care, in dramatic ways over the past few years. Crisis and organisational restructuring are also familiar concepts in our sector; we’ve all been through either one or both of those and know the uncertainty that they bring.

In an earlier draft of this blog, I had written “change, you can’t escape it” i.e. there will be external scenarios that happen which necessitate change, as well as internal reasons; the things you want to do because you know it will positively impact the lives of the people you support.

Why is change important?
A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein, but one which he apparently never said, was actually stated by Benjamin Franklin: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. If we therefore want to improve our inspection rating like Pam’s example last week, the likelihood is that we will need to make changes, even if they are just tiny tweaks (see Outstanding Mindset blog from two weeks ago), they are still changes. Remember to ensure that any changes are recorded to evidence Continuous Improvement in your service.

If the needs of someone we support change, we can’t carry on delivering the same service that we’ve delivered; up to that point, we have to review, and then possibly change, what we do in order to meet that person’s needs. This means change remains a constant part of our lives and therefore the only thing we can control is how respond to it (I used respond, rather than react deliberately because I am working on a future post: the difference between responding and reacting).

One of the activities that I really enjoy at the start of Module 4 is “Story Time”, where the delegates are asked to think of a situation where they made a change which was successful and that they felt proud or passionate about making that change. The reason I love this activity is because it gets people’s mindset switched into the positive reasons for making change. Quite often, people can be resistant to change whether it’s because of their personal disposition, or fear of the unknown, fear of losing their job or even the scary one “but, we have always done it this way!”

We have established that change is going to happen and that change is important. We just can’t carry on doing the same thing over and over again. Let’s take some time now to look at some of the practical strategies that Skills for Care suggest in Module 4; for me, this is the best bit about Lead to Succeed….

Using Co-production
“The term Co-production refers to a way of working whereby everybody works together on an equal basis to create a service or come to a decision which works for them all. It is built on the principle that those who use a service are best placed to help design it.”

The above is taken from this great resource:

Whilst this is well worth looking at as a whole, there are a couple of highlights for me regarding facilitating change. One of the co-production “top 10 tips” is: “Come with a blank agenda and then build your agenda (or plan) with the people who use services and their families or carers.” I do love this as it forces you to be open to possibilities, new ideas or suggestions. As mentioned in a previous blog, “nobody has a monopoly on good ideas”, and this is a simple way to uncover them.

Another top tip is to have “great facilitation and listening skills” and we will discuss this in more detail in the future too, because it is a subject close to my heart. But, by using your listening skills, you will hear and learn about all of the other perspectives that may differ from your own, which is a great way to develop understanding of the need to change, why it might be important and the positive impact it can have.

Using the resistance –
I love this too as, although it may not always be easy, it can be really effective. The top tips here are taken directly from Module 4:
Give people time to come on board
Give people who disagree chance to air their views
Identify potential barriers and develop plans to address them

Easy peasy, squeezy lemons! But let’s have a look at each one in turn:

Give people time to come on board – this may not always be that straightforward because time is the most precious resource that we cannot get more of. If you think back to last week’s blog and the psychologist Nathaniel Brandiel: “awareness is the first step”, by giving people time to get on board, what happens is it raises their awareness and facilitates the opportunity to appreciate different perspectives, which in turn supports making the change.

Give people who disagree the opportunity to air their views – this method, on the surface, may not seem straightforward, but actually it shows that, not only have they been heard, they’ve been listened to as well. This also gives you the opportunity to understand different perspectives and to potentially address the challenges that are raised – if you don’t know about it, you can’t do anything about it.

Identify potential barriers and action plans to address them – with any change, large or small, it is important to review as we go and find out how we are doing. It may be that we need to review our plan after six weeks and make additional tweaks or changes.

I had not anticipated this blog becoming quite as long as it has, so the last two practical strategies will be saved for next week; using Problem Solving Circles and another of my favourite subjects….Learning!

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