"Research shows manager traits that create success."
Nurse Michelle delaCalle faced a room full of people who were discouraged by the organization’s earlier attempts at change. She stood and shared a story of her own about how making people wait for hours in the emergency department seemed like a violation of her caregiving role. Her story seemed to move people. “I could feel my own intensity,” she said, and when she was done speaking, she could tell that people finally understood the need to change.
Change efforts often crumble into excruciatingly dull meetings and PowerPoint presentations. This hospital’s effort won’t, I believe, because of people like delaCalle. A mid-level manager in this 5,000-employee hospital, she is leading a 70-member group on patient flow as part of a larger organizational effort. Her ability to lead and inspire — to become a change leader from her position as a mid-level manager — is helping her team produce results.
- flow is improving: patients are moving from the emergency department to beds faster
- the number of patients discharged before 11:30 a.m. doubled from 20% to 40% between July and December 2013, and has stayed at that level since.
I studied large-scale change and innovation efforts in 56 randomly selected companies in the high-tech, retail, pharmaceutical, banking, automotive, insurance, energy, non-profit, and health care industries.
- My research found that the majority of the efforts failed.
- A hallmark of the successful 32% was the involvement of mid-level managers two or more levels below the CEO.
- In those cases, mid-level managers weren’t merely managing incremental change; they were leading it by working levers of power up, across and down in their organizations.
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