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Prepping for the Changes We Never See Coming

Shawn Rhodes

Keynote Speaker, 2019 Leadership and Physician Advisor Conference

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As part of our commitment to our members and the case management and transitions of care community, ACMA strives to provide the most up-to-date resources and education. Below is an example of what we regularly share with our valued members. Global thought-leaders like our featured author and speaker below will be sharing their expertise at the 2019 Leadership and Physician Advisor Conference, November 15–17, in Miami. We look forward to seeing you there!
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By Shawn Rhodes
Keynote Speaker, 2019 Leadership and Physician Advisor Conference


As case managers, we live in a world of constant change. No matter where these changes come from—our supervisors, hospitals or clinicians—there’s always going to be another one that catches us off guard.

In most of the organizations I’ve worked with around the globe, leaders assume change will cause mistakes, missed deadlines and are just the cost of doing business. They treat change as an unavoidable occurrence rather than asking an important question we’ll be addressing this year in Miami: How do we pivot with the change in the case management industry?

Ignoring change may fly when dealing with a product rolling off an assembly line, but it’s a horrible way to deal with change when our patients suffer the consequences. It doesn’t have to be this way in case management—and in the highest-performing organizations that operate in the most challenging environments on the planet, it isn’t. 

When I was studying how the best performers accomplished their objectives around the globe, I noticed changes rarely affected their team more than once. In the environments these folks worked in—warzones, disaster areas and extremely inhospitable climates—an error could cost the lives of not just one person, but their teammates as well. 

As you can imagine, they put a lot of effort into making sure the effects of change were kept to a minimum. 

Most of the organizations I speak to and work with today are clamoring for a way to turn their errors around and recapture more than 30% of the projected profits they lose every year

Here are 5 simple questions to identify and eliminate the effects of the changes we can’t anticipate. Make sure you ask them before your folks tackle their next week, project or case load:

1. What might go wrong?

It’s a simple question to ask your teammates and staff, but you’ll be surprised at the answers you’ll get if it’s asked consistently. Before setting folks loose on their next objective or chasing your next goal, ask what was went right and wrong, and the last time something like this was attempted—capturing errors and successes. Catalogue these responses on sticky notes to keep them brief.

2. What could we do differently this time?

While I was helping a company expand into a new region, we had a board full of sticky notes staring back at us. The problem was that only the person who wrote down their experience understood it. In most organizations, these lessons stay in people’s heads (often for their whole careers!). To ensure we all learn from our past successes and failures, rewrite your ideas so they’re actionable. For instance, one of my client’s original lessons was, “Get art approved before posting it.” That’s good, but to make it actionable we rewrote it to: “Get art approved by Steve 24 hours before the client’s deadline.” Ensure that someone new to your team, or even new to case management, will understand what needs to happen differently.

3. Who needs to know about this?

Once you have actionable lessons, make sure they’re built into checklists and plans. This ensures folks take action on the lesson and it doesn’t stay locked in someone’s head.

4. Who’s accountable for ensuring this is used?

The best ideas in case management are useless if not used. After actionable lessons are sent to your teams, assign each of them to a person to make sure they’re used. This way, if that particular change occurs again, you’ll know it’s a training issue and can easily correct it. 

5. When will we circle back on this?

When’s the best time to record what your team learned about what worked and what didn’t? Immediately after a project deadline. This way, experiences are fresh and the lessons they provide can be immediately put to good use. 

These 5 steps are used by high-performing teams to ensure everyone makes it home. Use them in your organization to ensure your patients and your own team are prepped for the changes they never saw coming.

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Be sure not to miss Shawn's Keynote Closing Session at the 2019 Leadership and Physician Advisor Conference in Miami:

Creating a Pivot Point in Case Management: Leverage Change Without Sacrificing Results
November 17 | 10:45–11:45 a.m.

In the world of case management, the best plans may not always work out as planned. To address the constant challenge of planning for change and ensure plans achieve results TEDx speaker and nationally syndicated columnist Shawn Rhodes will share how the best teams and organizations across industries pivot to leverage change when it occurs, build engaging cultures and ensure the experience of senior leaders doesn’t leave when they do. View complete schedule >>>

About Shawn Rhodes

Shawn Rhodes is an international expert in improving organizational performance, and his work studying organizations in more than two dozen countries—some the most dangerous places on the planet—has been published in news outlets around the world. His clients have included Coca-Cola, Serta-Sealy and dozens of similar businesses. He is author of the new book Pivot Point: Turn On A Dime Without Sacrificing Results.