Health Care Organization and Administration, Term Paper Example

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Term Paper

Resistance is often the human response to strategic changes. What can managers’ do to overcome resistance? 

When a new strategic initiative is introduced, individuals often times respond in non-productive ways: resistance; stone-walling, non-acceptance. Humans often times effectively use resistance and of change in order to preserve not only their comfort level, but also challenges to how they think, work, and act.

Thus, a skillful manager must move to introduce strategic changes in a manner that pushes the organization forward, while not risking a “corporate revolution” that will prevent any changes at all. This may be done in a number of ways.  First, conceptualization and communication of the strategic changes are important: Any attempt to introduce reforms that change every aspect of corporate leadership and work is not likely to be accepted.   While larger reforms can and should be introduced at the right time, management needs to articulate clearly why these reforms are happening and what support will be given to employees.  Support is a key factor in determining whether (new) strategic initiatives will be successful or not: if employees are called upon to take on new roles that they do not have education or training  to do, they will likely oppose the reforms.  Support can also mean that management will be called onto to help employees take on new roles through operational and emotional support to meet new obstacles.  Indeed, as Paul Lawrence posits, one of the main bastions of resistance among employees is not resistance to technical changes of the job- but the social changes (Lawrence, 1969).  The changes to relationships with clients, colleagues, and co-workers.

Some have argued that leaders are born, not made, and that all great leaders have certain common traits. Discuss this viewpoint of leadership.

In the field of leadership, there are two main schools of thought.  The first school of thought contends that leaders can be trained and leadership is not (necessarily) genetic: Leaders can be trained and not necessarily born.  The other main school of thought posits the opposite: There is no way to truly train effective leaders- true leaders are born of certain innate characteristics that cannot be replicated through outside training.   There are a number of ways to examine this claim: talking to leaders; looking at leaders past training, and perhaps trying to chronicle, based on interviews, if this claim is true or not.  However, the most persuasive opinion that leaders are born and not made may come from science itself: Lee et al. (2012) chronicle a raft of evidence that leadership is a product of certain genetic factors that cannot be learned.  The authors point to the asymmetry of features and certain ear shapes as key evidence that leaders  are born and not made (Lee et al, 2012).  In addition, Jack Welch, one of the most celebrated CEOs of General Electric is well fond of the notion that leaders are born and not made (Slater, 2004).

The first sin is that individuals don’t take meetings seriously.  This is undoubtedly true:  the real question is to understand  how to make individuals take meetings more seriously.  One the main ways this can happen is through assigning various responsibilities during the meeting: one individual will present the sale figures; one individual will present the marketing update; one individual will present the financial updates.  Through assigning responsibility and engaging individuals, meetings will be taken more seriously.

The second sin is: meetings take too long.  This complaint is also well-founded.  In order to cut down on meetings, one key issue is adequately manage discussions and suggestions that follow the presentation for the issue. This can happen through the following mechanism: allowing only a certain number of questions or comments (such as one) for each issue presented.  After that, all inquiries will be responded to promptly- but will be done off-line.

The third sin is: people spend more time digressing than discussing.  In order to prevent an (unhealthy) level of discussion, there must be limits set on discussion- and digressers must be ruthlessly cut off to make meetings more efficient.  Although this may hurt some personnel feelings, it is needed. This can also be handled through having an agenda approved and sent out before the meeting begins.

The fourth sin: Once the meeting ends, people do not convert decisions into palpable action.  This issue is not only a factor in meetings, but also in keeping individuals accountable for their work habits in general.  One way of changing this dynamic is to have  an “accountability”  and “follow-up” list based on what was decided to implement during the meeting. Managers will then keep individuals accountable for this list during the following time period. Robert Pozen of the Harvard Business Review states that meetings, in addition to being a waste of time, also impede more productive uses of time by employees (Pozen, 2012).

The fifth sin: people don’t tell the truth; there is much said but a distinct lack of candor in the meeting.  This is a complex issue that will not be solved by a silver policy bullet.  One key way to help avoid this is to have members of a similar level at meetings rather than necessarily having an “all hands on” staff meeting- the mixing of different levels often times leads to political posturing that might demur the truth from being expressed at the meeting.

The sixth sin is: meetings always miss important information and thus, they postpone critical decisions.  As with the precious give “sins” of meetings, there is more than a kernel of truth in this proclamation.  The way around this problem, however, is to have a strict agenda that not only details the questions that will be addressed during the meeting, but also all of the information sources that will be needed to make those decisions.   This will ensure that decisions can be made based on the full amount of information present.

The seventh and last sin of meetings is: Meetings never get better; people make the same mistakes.  If there is no one held accountable for the information presented and the outcomes, meetings will not likely improve over time.  Thus, the remedy for all of these sins is adequate preparation, explicit accountability for certain segments of the meeting, and the ability to have management take a step back and make sure that meetings meet the goals they set.  As Anthony Tjan of the Harvard Business Review  posits, time must be used effectively during meetings in order for meetings to have purpose in a corporate organization (Tjan, 2011).

References

Lawerence, P. (1969). How to deal with resistance to change.  Harvard Business Review. 1(1), 1-15.

Matson, E.  (April 30, 1996). The seven deadly sins of meetings.  Fast Company.

Lee, N., Senior, C., & Butler, M. (2012).  Leadership research and cognitive neuroscience: The state of this union.  The Leadership Quarterly, 23(2), 213-292.

Pozen, R. (2012).  Stop working all those hours.  Harvard Business Review Blog.  Available at: http://blogs.hbr.org/hbsfaculty/2012/06/stop-working-all-those-hours.html.

Slater, J. (2004).  Jack Welch on leadership.  McGraw Hill Publishing.

Sun, C. (2007).  How to make meetings more effective.  Tech Republic (online).

Tjan, A.  (2011).  Make Time for Time.  Harvard Business Review.  Available at: http://blogs.hbr.org/tjan/2011/12/make-time-for-time.html.

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