Leading Through Change: Don't Make Assumptions - Cover

Leading Through Change: Don't Make Assumptions

This is the thirteenth in a series of excerpts from a recent Arch Collaborative exclusive webinar, hosted by Taylor Davis and featuring Rob Schreiner, MD, President of Wellstar Medical Group.

Taylor Davis:

"Coming full circle with what we were talking about at the beginning of the Webinar. What do you need to have as a leader if you even want to walk down this path? Give us a feel for how critical this self evaluation is."

Rob Schreiner:

"I won't read this slide to our audience, Taylor. I'll pick one or one or at the most two in every column.

So I did say earlier on in the webinar that there were three columns of prerequisites for a well done change initiative. One has to do with communication, another trust and another engagement.

For the communication column, I'll discuss the idea of sharing information. So rather than assuming that my audience knows everything that I know or has thought deeply about everything that I've thought deeply about; market forces or competition, or regulatory change or payment change, or whatever! Rather than assume my audience knows all of the drivers behind the urgency of our change.

Actually be deliberate about sharing that information and receiving their point of view in return. It's important to provide a safe and open environment where they can say, "You know, Rob, I just don't believe that payment reform is ever going to happen here."

Allow yourself to have that conversation. And say, "Well, I have different information. I thank you for that. I can see how you got there because we've been talking about it as a country for 10 years and it still hasn't happened. So I totally acknowledge and understand why you think that. But I have some additional information that leads me to think that we need to at least prepare for the possibility of payment reform and here's why."

And unless your people trust your motives and trust that your humility is authentic and trust that your intent is to make their world better, not worse: It's hard to get discretionary effort and commitment from them to participate in change.

Here's a misconception from a lot of leaders. If I tell them to show vulnerability they'll respond, "Now, Rob, I need to show how strong I am and how smart I am."

Actually, there's science behind this, believe it or not! There's a molecule in our brain called oxytocin and it's the "trust molecule." There are, believe it or not, researchers who have worked out eight precise leadership behaviors that increase circulating oxytocin levels. And one of them is for the leader to show vulnerability.

This gets back to the humility. Not indecisiveness, but real leadership. One can express confidence and humility at the same time. That is possible. Yet we leaders are often reluctant to show our vulnerability to our audience. Ironically, that humility can help bind them to us, makes us appear more human and they need that in order to develop trust.

And then lastly, be sure your people are engaged. There are entire books written on employee engagement in and of itself. So what value can I add in like 20 words? I would say that you've got it when your people believe that the organization's success or the business unit's success or their colleagues' success implies their own individual success. When they begin seeing that the success of the overall enterprise means by definition their success, that's when they're engaged and they will display discretionary effort on behalf of the collective.

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Photo Cred: Shutterstock, Kim Britten