Common problems

Here are some examples of common problems you and your change team may experience and some suggested strategies:

Problem Description Strategies to address the problem
No action is taken despite people recognizing that change is needed. 

People get "stuck". They might be afraid, feel unprepared to lead change, or lack the skills necessary to organize and mobilize people.

Organize a meeting to talk about the change and the actions needed to address the shared concern or strongly desired change.

Consider adding new or ad hoc members to the change team with skills in organizing and mobilizing people.

Commit to get started with action – even small actions can be powerful. 

Your organization blocks attempts at initiating change.  

This may happen in a traditional "top-down" organization with hierarchical leadership.

The status quo might be prioritized over changes demanded by the social movement.

Organize to meet with members of your senior leadership team who are not in support of the change and/or the "bottom-up" approach. Describe the benefits of change initiatives that are owned or driven by point-of-care staff and how these can contribute to achieving success. Discuss the limitations of using traditional approaches to change.    

Consider if a blended top-down and "bottom-up'" approach is feasible - an approach that combines the leadership of senior management teams with the active involvement of staff. 

There are competing priorities for change.

Change saturation can occur when too many changes are taking place. This can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and confused.

Emphasize the timeliness for the change and the benefits of acting in response to an urgent situation.

If change is not possible due to too many priorities, seek a commitment to re-examine the need for action as soon as possible.  

Conflicts occur.

Negative social interactions among people can result in loss of motivation.

People don’t agree on the priorities or action steps.

Conflicts or disagreements can be a natural part of a change process, especially where the shared concern or strongly desired change sparks strong feelings or beliefs.

Take the time needed to listen to different perspectives; seek consensus before moving forward with action.

Recognize the power of people-led change and individual and collective actions. 

Emphasize how an organized and coordinated effort can strengthen the power of the social movement. 

SOURCES: Burbidge, 2017; Ganz, 2014; Sustainable Improvement Team & Horizons Team, 2018.