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  NHS and Change.....................  

Most people working in the NHS understand about change -after all the frequency of change is often joked about! Those of us who have worked for many years in the NHS can quote boringly of the many policy changes and documents that have been issued over the years! 

So -what have we learnt then with all these years of experience of managing change?! Well -we see the evidence sometimes, don't we, of poorly managed change ? Staff in the wrong roles; bullying increasing; sickness levels higher; productivity down plus the link with patient mortality-all the things looked at by Michael West et al (Aston University) . Also , the loss of experienced staff with lots of real intelligence and commitment to the ethos of the NHS. So -if we knew that staff were being well supported and there was the least harm possible done to people and organisations what we do ?
It seems to me that the answer lies in a greater understanding of transition and not simply change. Like many people reading this I have been through change in the NHS -but what really helped me was understanding the impact of transition -and particularly the work of William Bridges. The key to all of this is to look at what we need to let go of -what do we need to say goodbye to and what will we take with us? Sometimes the change process takes over and people are left in what Bridges calls the wilderness or neutral zone not seizing the opportunity. Recently, I have met many excellent senior and experienced NHS Managers who are desperate for support and need 'coaching' to liberate their thinking. I wonder why in a caring organisation we do not always provide the right environment to support our most valuable asset? 

What does this mean -it means we need to give people time -time to reflect on whats happening and look at what choices they have. At the moment many managers are probably wondering about whether to accept redundancy and for many that might mean early retirement as well. Its important though that people have the time and space to think this through and to understand the implications. 
What do others think? More later..............

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