WHY Fronts - Nothing’s permanent except change

Published: 02 August 2018 Ezine

There is nothing permanent except change -Heraclitus, pretty profound but that is Greek philosophers for you.  Another of his quotes which gives some evidence to his statement is “You could not step twice into the same river.”

As water flows continuously to the sea or other body of water, then the water you step into from the bank is never the same as it has already past, moving forward on its journey. Really profound.

So how does that help you meet the change challenge, encourage your team/s or service through the ever changing healthcare environment? If change is the only permanent in life then everyone has experience of it, can you help them relate to that; can you relate to that?  

What changes might they be … a new job, leaving full time education, starting a family, getting married, death of someone close; these are all changes most if not all can relate to.

Our circumstances, relationships and feelings change and we accept this as part of life, we might not like it but we understand it; no one is exactly the same in each moment (a bit like the flowing river example).  Why then would change at work be exempt?

It is a well-researched fact that some people are resistant to change (just ask the hair dye market!) and causes are often cited as fear or complacency (change takes work). 

There are some things within an imaging service we have very little influence over and when they change it can be an uncomfortable process to get ‘buy in’ and action. 

A recent example of this would be the changes to IRR 2017 and IR(ME)R 2017; both vital pieces of regulation to imaging services and enforced changes and expectations of staff which will need managing. 

When you are faced with any change that is enforced there are generally two options;

  1. refusal - an opting out of the process
  2. acceptance – making the change usually by changing yourself.

Option b) is the option which interests me; the challenge of changing yourself not because you see the benefit right now but realise that someone has seen a benefit and opted to make the change for your service/organisation.

What happens when change is accepted, maybe -

  1. We experience personal growth
  2. We become increasing flexible around change processes
  3. We see improvements to the care of our patients
  4. We learn to take one step at a time and not rush into looking at the end product rather focusing on getting there
  5. We develop personal strength as we make mistakes
  6. We develop the potential for further opportunities, our eyes can be opened to different possibilities
  7. We get a fresh start, a new beginning.  Getting rid of the old can bring excitement for the challenges of the future.

Is this something you can empower your teams to do? Is it something that you can empower yourself to do? Letting go (not the Disney version) of our tried and tested paths and embracing new ways of working can be fun, I know I have enjoyed some. 

What then about those who won’t change?  Not so easy to answer. Dr Raymond Vath said ‘We must do for others what they cannot do for themselves, but we must not do for them what they will not do for themselves.  The problem is finding the wisdom to know the difference.’ 

You can be too helpful; by doing for somebody what they can do for themselves, you undermine their self-reliance/confidence and create an unhealthy dependence. That dependence can as a leader end up taking all your time and energy.

In the example of radiation safety it is a condition of their regulatory body, I think the HCPC would take a dim view of a registrant saying they didn’t like the new regulations and so won’t follow them. I think all of our colleagues would have to agree with change on that basis. If it is other change, then maybe work with the acceptance and enthusiasm of others in the hope that those opposed will see the long term benefits and move to the change process.

The final option available is disciplinary action if all else fails and it is a patient safety issue; but no one really wants to go down that route.

In the end if change is the only permanent then maybe we should get used to it?