I’ve been through many changes in my life, and honestly I think I’ve found all of them uncomfortable at best, right up to terrifying at worst. Sometimes even boredom and annoyance would hold me back. I hated computing at university, astonishing to recall now I’m inseparable from my latest internet device.
Facing up to change with a group of people is even harder. If there isn’t a compelling reason you probably aren’t going to start, but if you wait for a crisis it may be too late. The rabbit in the headlights can’t budge.
In our change programmes the first thing we do is to help decision makers reach consensus. Usually it’s a GP partnership so no one decides alone, but often one person can veto. Many practices are stuck at this point unable to move, while life gets steadily worse.
Creating a simple, clear vision of the new situation post change is the next thing. Some like to imagine the new emotions they will feel, joy, control and mastery. Others like me prefer to look only at the data (OK we are the ones kidding ourselves).
Which ever way we like to think, overcoming the fear of change can be the hardest part. As a species we are more easily driven by fear than hope (among others, Daniel Kahneman in “Thinking, Fast and Slow”). The path of least resistance is to say “nothing can be done, keep on moaning and something might turn up.”
Take control, create your own Moan Free Zone.
The good news is that once practices have reached consensus, the vast majority are able to change successfully. Getting to that point really is the hardest part. We run a very simple free online survey called the “Leading Change Questionnaire” which we find helps clarify the need for change, the vision, the hopes and fears.
It only takes 5 minutes – drop me a line and I will forward by return.
PS Interesting responses to Simon’s chest pain, evenly split. He really did have an MI, and really didn’t want to bother the GP. A happy ending thankfully. Three days later he called 999, was admitted, had a stent fitted and has made a full recovery.
The moral for me is that patients may not recognise an emergency, so quick access to a GP can be a lifesaver.
We’ve measured chest pain at around 1% of demand, but there are many causes. It’s proving popular to see what askmyGP produces from real patients, so this week’s history is another chest pain – vote on your first response.