Business Playbooks for Organizational Change

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  • 0:04 Playbook & Big Changes
  • 0:36 Building a Playbook for Change
  • 4:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

When businesses are undergoing periods of substantial change, the effort can quickly descend into chaos if an effective plan isn't in place. This lesson provides instructions for creating a business playbook for initiating well-executed change.

Playbooks & Big Changes

In the pursuit of more efficient healthcare, the federal government initiated a program that encouraged physician offices to convert from paper to electronic medical records by offering cash incentives for adoption. This conversion would be one of the most complex business changes for New Mexico's largest independent, for-profit specialty groups, the New Mexico Heart Institute. With nearly 300 employees and 50,000 patients, this LLP would need a solid change plan. Just like a sports coach, when a business is ready to execute change, they need a playbook.

Building a Playbook for Change

A playbook for business change is a step-by-step guide that provides every participant the information they need to execute the game strategy. Strategic leadership provides general direction, but a playbook for change contains the information needed to translate that strategy into the changes necessary to bring it about.

Although a playbook is generally tactical in nature, or focused on execution rather than strategy, it's important to start the playbook off with a clear picture of where the goalposts are. This information will actually appear in two sections of the playbook since the final section deals with the ongoing monitoring of the change's outcomes and impacts. The goal statement, or conditions of success, shouldn't be lengthy in the playbook since the project plan itself will contain this information.

In the Heart Institute's change project, the goal was defined as ''the discontinuance of paper records, the realization of all available financial incentives, and a fully operational advanced business intelligence engine.''

If the goal is defined as where we want to be, the strategy roadmap answers the question about how the goal will be achieved. Most organizational goals have multiple routes that will lead to success, but which one is best? A good playbook will demonstrate the use of a systematic evaluation process that will ultimately provide the answer. At a minimum, the search for the best route to success should take into account:

  • The cost associated with each option
  • The timeline and/or deadlines associated with each option
  • An assessment of each option's risk
  • How and which stakeholders will be impacted by each of the options

The Heart Institute's strategy roadmap included a multi-phase project led by a contracted project management consultant. The roadmap further outlined a staged implementation in which there would be both pilot and beta tests, deployment to early adopters, necessary revisions or adjustments, full go-live event, and ongoing monitoring.

Design details answer the 'who will do it' questions. This section of the playbook involves configuring the teams and other human resources that will be working on the change. The data that'll drive the change may have been collected in the strategy roadmap section, but it should be included in the design details of the playbook since the composition of the teams will be based in large part or responding to the data that's driving the change.

In the New Mexico Heart playbook, examples of some selected team assignments found in this section of the playbook included:

  • A technology infrastructure team that was tasked with designing the configuration of servers, networking tools, and other hardware
  • A workflow documentation team that was tasked with documenting workflow for a pre- or post-change assessment
  • A process team that would analyze the workflow documentation produced by the workflow team and recommend any necessary changes to business processes
  • A governance committee, made up of representatives from many departments, that provided guidance to the other working teams

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