One of the common challenges Change Agents confront is getting Sponsors to see how their commitment of resources to Change Management can actually make a difference in business results. We hear this all the time from clients who know that projects could be implemented faster and more successfully if they managed the “people-side” of projects with more discipline. We experience it, too, in our own change management consulting.
That’s why we were really excited when our client, Mercy Health System, shared this video they produced on the impact of AIM. Why? Because it’s not us talking about the potential for business results when clients apply our AIM (Accelerating Implementation Methodology) to projects; it is people in business and clinical positions sharing the actual results they have experienced!
WATCH the Video:
Over the past two years, Mercy, based in Chesterfield, Missouri, has taken a strategic, planful approach to how projects are implemented. The organization has Accredited a number of change practitioners in AIM principles, strategies, and tactics, but has always followed our recommended advice to focus on projects, rather than running broad numbers of people through training in the methodology (“let’s train everyone”). The strategy is to use selected, critical projects to build Mercy’s internal change capability, project by project. To further build their internal capacity, Mercy continues to develop a cadre of internal trainers who lead foundational Introduction to AIM sessions across their ministry as projects are implemented.
Results and Lessons Learned
In the video, individuals who represent a range of functions including Emergency, Nursing, Project Management, and even Pastoral Care share the multi-million dollar improvements they have seen in the past two years. They have no doubt that the application of AIM has been a contributing factor to these quantifiable and qualitative results, including:
- Sustainable length of stay improvement statistics
- Improved quality of care
- Operational efficiencies
- Adoption of new care plans, enhancing clinical outcomes
The results have been achieved by following core AIM principles, strategies, and tactics to everyday project work, beginning very early in the project lifecycle. Like so many organizations, Mercy had previously jumped right into activity; now more time is spent on upfront planning. In the end, “going slow to go fast” has actually accelerated speed to implementation. In addition, project leads take the time to:
- Identify who all their Sponsors are
- Clearly identify change roles and responsibilities (Champions, Agents, Sponsors, and Targets—the AIM CAST of Characters)
- Develop plans for change Readiness
- Build a Communication Plan
The Role of Sponsors
There’s no doubt that Mercy was fortunate to have some Executives at senior levels who at least had interest in running the experiment. Still, Sponsors change, and the quest for active and visible Sponsorship never really ends.
In our own work, we know there are many leaders who think that Change Management is all about getting people to like the change, when it’s not that at all! Too many leaders still think “Change Management” is the responsibility of others, when in fact, Sponsors control the pace of projects through their own personal and private demonstrated commitment to Express, Model, and Reinforce behavioral changes.
The good news for Change Agents is that results like Mercy’s can be achieved and measured, if there is a commitment of time and resources, and AIM is used as the foundation for implementing change.