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Becoming the Change: A Different Approach to Building Organizational Excellence

Healthcare transformation expert, John Toussaint, explains what he has learned from working with leaders all over the world and how important it is to implement change in order to thrive in an evolving industry.

We have learned some valuable lessons in the 20 years we have been either leading or teaching the principles of organizational excellence (OE). We applied the principles in our own organization, but we have learned more from working with hundreds of leaders around the world. The most important learning? Organizations don’t change unless leaders do. Changing habits and leadership mental models is hard work. It takes time, commitment, and a roadmap to follow. Leaders need help to do that.

Becoming the Change is a roadmap that has emerged from our research on leadership from around the globe. It is working which is why we decided that in the time of the Covid crisis we needed to write this book. Leadership behavior can unleash the creativity of staff which is critically important do solve problems during the crisis. Or, on the other hand, behavior can shut staff down. We will show example after example of leaders who have committed to changing their behavior and have succeeded, resulting in remarkable improvement in organizational performance. In Africa, a 42% reduction in death rates in children. In San Francisco a 20% improvement in throughput in the Emergency room with the same number of staff. In Ontario every executive in the organization having a plan for personal improvement including a plan for board members.

On this journey from South Africa to Europe to North America we will show no matter what societal culture you live in there are behavioral traits that if practiced lead to unimaginable performance. But leaders must “become the change”. By modeling different behavior leaders set the expectations for everyone. The cascading of these expectations is what drives the significant performance improvements.

But this isn’t only a book about what great leaders did. We share how they did it with the specific development templates they used which you can download. You can then try it on your own. This means you can learn by doing. All you need to do to begin is to commit to being willing to change. The book will step you through what you need to do, and the examples will help you avoid pitfalls. If you have trouble, we are happy to have you contact us and we will talk you through it.

At the end of the book we discuss what the future may look like. We aren’t predicting it we are describing what systems need to be in place to succeed in any possible future. The existing delivery system is designed around care givers not patients. How do we build a patient centered care system? We will touch on the design features and processes for new care model development. The skill sets needed are different than in traditional healthcare delivery. We will explain what new skill sets are required for the future and how our mental model of care delivery must change.

We have learned a lot since the publication of our last book Management on the Mend. We know that to ingrain organizational excellence requires people and processes. We have a much better understanding of what leaders need to do and what processes need to be in place to support them. We are excited to share this work with the hope you can become the change.

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