Storytelling is a powerful communication tool that can be applied to ensure an effective change promotion. According to Gill (2011), storytelling has persuasive, motivating, and inspiring effects on employees as it allows them to understand the reason for change through an experience-based narrative that tends to be more compelling than traditional strategic plans. The author refers to the research that reveals the positive effect of the storytelling method on the employees’ inclusion in the change processes.
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Hence, it is proposed to apply this method to promote the change associated with reducing respiratory complications in patients undergoing interventional radiological procedures under conscious sedation at Kendall Regional Medical Center. To use this method effectively, it is essential to review both soft and hard elements of change and point out the levels to which storytelling can be applied.
Soft Elements of Change and Their Facilitating or Barrier Implications
First and foremost, it is essential to analyze the soft elements of change and the implications associated with each of them to evaluate the prospects of change. The primary soft element that should be considered is the staff. Research shows that the extent of the staff included in the change process, as well as the level of their potential resistance, determines the outcomes of change significantly. Hence, according to Burnes and Jackson (2011), a large number of change projects fail to succeed due to the lack of alignment between the managerial effort and the staff’s contribution.
Within this framework, it is also necessary to distinguish such soft elements as share values. Thus, low staff inclusion might be determined by the fact that nurses and other relevant specialists do not understand the common profit that the proposed change is likely to bring (Burnes & Jackson, 2011). As a result, it is essential to apply various communication tools including storytelling to turn the staff into a facilitating driver of the change implementation.
The next soft element to be discussed is relevant skills. In their study, French et al. (2012) point out that the lack of relevant skills in both managers and personnel represents a critical barrier to the change implementation. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the key actors – registered nurses, interventional radiology nurses, and an interventional radiologist – receive the appropriate training and have a clear idea of the respiratory complications associated with interventional radiological procedures under conscious sedation, their roots, and consequences.
The last soft element of change that needs to be elucidated is managerial style. Practice shows that the right choice of the leadership style facilitates the implementation process considerably. Additionally, recent research has revealed that the main component of a successful leadership technique is the communication methods applied to involve the key stakeholders (Mitchell, 2013). Therefore, it might be proposed that the storytelling technique can perform a valuable contribution to developing an effective leadership style.
Hard Elements of Change and Their Facilitating or Barrier Implications
Another group of factors that can affect the flow of change implementation is composed of hard elements. From this perspective, it is proposed to analyze three factors that are less flexible than soft elements, but their impact on the change outcomes is equally strong. The first hard element to be discussed is systems. Thus, it is essential to target the change impact on the entire health system functioning and evaluate the contribution each system can potentially make to facilitate the proposed improvements. Likewise, it is particularly critical to point out the system that will be affected more strongly than others (Michie et al., 2011). In the context of the proposed change, it is the interventional radiology sector that should be targeted.
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The second hard element that needs to be considered while planning an intervention is strategies. The role of a strategy should not be underestimated as it provides a consistent framework facilitating the step-by-step implementation and aligning the change objectives with corporate values (Mitchell, 2013). Therefore, a well-designed strategy should not only describe the way respiratory complications can be avoided but also provide a detailed guideline to perform an effective preventative, assessment, and foreseeing practices and outline the scope of actors with the associated responsibilities.
Lastly, it is essential to point out such hard elements as structures. The inconsistent structure functioning can be a barrier to performing an effective change implementation. Research shows that many organizations tend to fail in introducing innovations because the organizational structure is not interconnected properly – there are critical gaps in the operation flow, and the communication between departments is inconsistent (Powell et al., 2012). Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the affected departments can cooperate effectively before the reform is carried out.
Compelling Change Story to Be Used For Gaining Stakeholders’ Support
The analysis of the change elements, both soft and hard ones, has shown that the storytelling technique should be, first and foremost, applied to the staff level. Otherwise stated, it can be used to increase the employees’ motivation and ensure their inclusion in the change implementation process. Additionally, a compelling story can serve to be a powerful driver to make employees come up with their ideas and alternative solutions to improve the proposed change plan.
The most critical task, therefore, resides in selecting an appropriate story that will illustrate the need for change vividly and encourage the person to take action. Since the proposed change is associated with minimizing the risks of respiratory complications resulted from interventional radiological procedures under conscious sedation, it is considered rational to involve patients that can describe the adverse impact this problem has made on their lives after they left the hospital.
The story might be composed of patients’ reviews and feedback and accompanied by the manager’s reference to the examples of successful change implementations. The latter component of the story is particularly important as the listeners might realize the need for change, though their self-evaluation is too pessimistic to let them act. In any case, the story should essentially comprise real-life examples and be less formal than traditional team discussions (Gill, 2011).
The review of the key elements of change has shown that communication techniques play a critical role in change promotion. Hence, the key barriers to change implementation are mainly associated with the lack of understanding of its significance on the part of the key stakeholders and their low motivation for potential inclusion.
As a result, it is proposed to use storytelling as a supplementary communication tool to help the key stakeholders – employees – to understand the value of the proposed change and acquire additional inspiration for active participation. It is proposed that the story comprises real-life examples and is narrated in a friendly and informal manner.
Burnes, B., & Jackson, P. (2011). Success and failure in organizational change: an exploration of the role of values. Journal of Change Management, 11(2), 133-162.
French, S. D., Green, S. E., O’Connor, D. A., McKenzie, J. E., Francis, J. J., Michie, S., Buchbinder, R., Schattner, P., Spike, N., & Grimshaw, G. M. (2012). Developing theory-informed behavior change interventions to implement evidence into practice: a systematic approach using the Theoretical Domains Framework. Implementation Science, 7(38), 1-12.
Gill, D. R. (2011). Using storytelling to maintain employee loyalty during change. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(15), 23-32.
Michie, S., Abraham, C., Eccles, M. P., Francis, J. J., Hardeman, W., & Johnston, M. (2011). Strengthening evaluation and implementation by specifying components of behavior change interventions: a study protocol. Implementation Science, 6(10), 48-59.
Mitchell, G. (2013). Selecting the best theory to implement planned change. Nursing Management, 20(1), 32-37.
Powell, B. J., McMillen, J. C., Proctor, E. K., Carpenter, C. R., Griffey, R. T., Bunger, A. C., Glass, J. E., & York, J. L. (2012). A compilation of strategies for implementing clinical innovations in health and mental health. Medical Care Research and Review, 69(2), 123-157.