Organizational transformation is notoriously difficult. Twenty years ago, John Kotter pegged the failure rate at 70% and the needle hasn’t moved much since. Major change also takes a long time to implement — between five and seven years on average — and the performance improvements that are achieved rarely last.
In healthcare, change is even harder than in most industries. Clinical and administrative staff often view their work as a vocation as much as a profession, and they are historically suspicious of senior administrators and resistant to strategic agendas. While a desperate need for change and organizational performance improvement may be obvious to the top team, staff can view that premise as fundamentally flawed. They’ve lived through tumultuous times before and the status quo has always returned.