Sunday, 30 October 2011

The meaning of Implementation Climate

I've just read a new paper about implementation climate and how it differs from organisational climate - all part of the "readiness for change" strategies than many of us use.  You can read the whole paper at Implementation Science (online - open access). I've pasted the abstract here, though I recommend you read the whole paper.

The meaning and measurement of implementation climate.



Climate has a long history in organizational studies, but few theoretical models integrate the complex effects of climate during innovation implementation. In 1996, a theoretical model was proposed that organizations could develop a positive climate for implementation by making use of various policies and practices that promote organizational members' means, motives, and opportunities for innovation use. The model proposes that implementation climate--or the extent to which organizational members perceive that innovation use is expected, supported, and rewarded--is positively associated with implementation effectiveness. The implementation climate construct holds significant promise for advancing scientific knowledge about the organizational determinants of innovation implementation. However, the construct has not received sufficient scholarly attention, despite numerous citations in the scientific literature. In this article, we clarify the meaning of implementation climate, discuss several measurement issues, and propose guidelines for empirical study.


Implementation climate differs from constructs like organizational climate, culture, or context in two important respects: first, it has a strategic focus (implementation), and second, it is innovation-specific. Measuring implementation climate is challenging because the construct operates at the organizational-level, but requires the collection of multi-dimensional perceptual data from many expected innovation users within an organization. In order to avoid problems with construct validity, assessments of within-group agreement of implementation climate measures must be carefully considered. Implementation climate implies a high degree of within-group agreement in climate perceptions. However, researchers might find it useful to distinguish implementation climate level (the average of implementation climate perceptions) from implementation climate strength (the variability of implementation climate perceptions). It is important to recognize that the implementation climate construct applies most readily to innovations that require collective, coordinated behavior change by many organizational members both for successful implementation and for realization of anticipated benefits. For innovations that do not possess these attributes, individual level theories of behavior change could be more useful in explaining implementation effectiveness.


This construct has considerable value in implementation science, however, further debate and development is necessary to refine and distinguish the construct for empirical use.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Sustainability - how about 52 years?

After 52 years, the Marshall and Fraser Racing MAY be letting down the tyres and packing away their tools. I say MAY, because, if I know them, they might just, possibly, pop out for a few more races next year...

Many of you will have met this team virtually as I have used them as an example of sustainability. I'll leave you with the question I always leave an audience - how will you sustain the results of your work for 50+ years?  I mean results of course. The car looks very different than it did 50 years ago, but their focus is on the outcome.

Congratulations to the team, who, 52 years later, are still on top.

Class Winners of the Championship in 2011.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Improvement Leaders - role modelling

Improvement leaders know a great deal of theory. One aspect of leading that I am constantly aware of, is the need to role model - practice what you preach. It's no good me pushes for the Lean 5S of a hospital ward if my own office is a complete mess. There's a dissonance here.

I recently attended a workshop at NHS Improvement in the UK. This is a smallish group who are dedicated to working with healthcare professionals to improve care. They are all very practical, work in clinically specific teams, and have good results from their projects. They don't get huge press coverage for their work, largely I think because they are humble - and too busy to do PR and marketing!  I joined the session at dinner and was inspired by the way they were holding a raffle to raise funds for a need close to their own values. Not only did they raise money, but there was a lot of fun in doing it.

I left the session the next day quite inspired - and know they will be inspiring others in their day to day work.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Altering mental content - 3: Changing Minds

I come across clients who are sp captivated by the notion of spreading good ideas by stories that they forget that they also need to provide the theoretical base for the change, as well as the need to identify the key concepts - and - if required, support the development of skills to enable others to change.

I drew the above chart as my way of showign how all these topics need to come together.  Next time I am involved in helping someone draw up a spread plan, I'll spend time working through what we need to do to provide the mental content to help others adopt new practices.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

6 different types of change by scale - 2: Changing Minds

Large Scale Change means different things to different people. In his book, Gardner suggests six different types of scale. I found these different levels useful in thinking through the strategies I might use to effect proposed changes.

  1. Large scale changes involving diverse populations on a national or regional basis
  2. Large scale change involving an homogeneous group (e.g. peer group such as theatre nurses)
  3. Changes brought about by technology, science or art (e.g. a whole generation has been influenced by Harry Potter)
  4. Changes within formal settings (I think of bounded organisations here).
  5. Small gatherings and the more intimate shifts in perspective (e.g. group of friends who decide to change their exercise habits and support each each)
  6. Changing one's own mind (which, of course, we never admit is probably the most difficult!)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Seven Key Factors in how minds change - 1: Changing Minds

Notes from the book "Changing Minds" by Howard Gardner (2004)

What I learnt was that if we want to help someone change their mind about what constitutes good practice (and thereby figure their practice is not the best so they need to decide to adopt a better practice), then it helps if we can:

  1. Demonstrate what has to be changed in a way that someone can figure out for themselves what the reason is for them to change. Some people do this analytically and others deduce or infer from what they learn that a change is necessary. I think it's important to understand it's the adopter who needs to reason, not the person pushing the change.
  2. Research, evidence, statistical analysis etc is crucial when working with healthcare professionals for whom this is the base of their practice. The onus of evidence is on the person pushing the change.
  3. The proposed change needs to connect at the emotional and intuitive level with the potential adopter. The really good proponents of change can combine the emotive, rational and evidence content in their rhetoric.
  4. The concept of redesciption intrigued me. I can see now that the person who can describe the proposed change in many different ways, whilst remaining true to the core concepts and values, is more likely to be able to convince others to change.  Not least, being able to redescribe means you know your stuff and this enhances the credibility of the proposal.
  5. Rewards are obvious - pay someone and they are more likely to do it. But this doesn't always lead to the mind changing. The most basic reward is praise and confirmation of the new behaviour.
  6. Real World Events - means tagging your proposals to outside influences. As a friend pointed out to me recently, a great time to raise the profile of pancreatic cancer would have been in the days after Steve Jobs died. To make the most fo these (not always sad) events, is to be prepared.
  7. Resistance... it takes two to create resistance. The best way I know to deal with it is to stop pushing and to see things form the other's perspective - then, find a way to break through the debate.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Changing Minds by Howard Gardner

A book with the subtitle "The Art and Science of Changing our Own and Other Peoples' Minds" intrigued me. So much of the change process and scaling up better practice across larger systems involves helping others change their minds.  I've made a few notes from the book which I will post here in a series over the coming days.  I recommend you get hold of a copy and have a read for yourself.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Back to Writing

Today is the end of my 4 month experiment... From mi July to mid-October 2011 I reduced my writing significantly. For years I have written blogs, papers, articles, short stories etc on an almost daily basis.  I often wondered what it would be like if I stopped. Would I forget how to write? Would my creativity go away? Would I forget about all those interesting things I'd like to write about?


I've learnt a few things:

  • creativity doesn't always need to be captured and I think I've got better at remembering because I have made less notes. However, there have been some things I'd wish I'd written down - but I knwo they will come back to me
  • the break has allowed me to mull over some ideas in more depth. I've performed some "what if's" in my head and thought through scenarios, ideas, theories, plots and characters
  • I love to write. Boy, am I desperate to get back to writing!
So here we go again...