Using Large-Scale Change Methods to Accelerate Health Improvements in the United Kingdom

Arlene Scott, Ph.D.

Abstract


As the workplace increasingly demands greater efficiency and more effective collaboration with others, the ability to make change stick distinguishes leaders who will flourish from those who will falter. Historically, achieving health goals by using organizational change as a lever in United Kingdom healthcare improvement initiatives has most often not achieved their objectives. (Perla, R., Bradbury, E., & Gunther-Murphy, C.) (2013). For OD Consultants and all those responsible for business leaders and leadership education, this article describes how the Academy for Large-Scale Change (ALSC), a significant initiative in the UK health organization, offered a fresh approach to large-scale change methods that enabled leaders to make rapid progress in the skills they need to achieve health improvements and to successfully implement large-scale change (LSC) projects.

While there are no easy answers as to why so many LSC programs are unsuccessful, the ALSC bases their systemic, large-scale change approach on current research and their own success experiences. The Academy created and staffed the program. Ten UK health regions each identified 8-10 candidates for the ALSC program, each of whom came to the Academy with a well-defined improvement project. Eighty mid-senior level health executives participated in this nine months’ program to make change stick. The primary method utilized to accelerate improvements is systemic LSC. This article explains how the Academy worked and how the health executives learned about and used systemic LSC methods. Finally, two sample LSC projects where participants used the methods and tools are described as well as their results. Using their chosen and approved LSC projects, the health executives not only make progress with most achieving many of their goals, they left with knowledge, skill, and tools for implementing LSC “going forward.”

 

Key words:  Academy for Large Scale Change, large-scale change, improvement initiatives, health goals


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