If you want to make enemies, try to change something.  - Woodrow Wilson

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.  -  W. Edwards Deming


I’m going to finish up managing change by discussing the “currencies” that are valued in an organization and how they relate to communicating and managing change. Remember, these are universal truths and can be used in most interpersonal interactions in life. I will be borrowing extensively from Thomas E. Harris, Ph.D., an expert in organizational psychology (Harris, Copyright, 1996 by Thomas E Harris, PhD).

There are three currencies related to implementation of change that are called “Inspiration-Related Currencies”:

  • Vision: It is important to communicate to the stakeholders the extent to which their involvement will have significance to the rest of the practice. Help them to understand how their role can impact the team and patients for good.
  • Excellence: Encourage them by showing them how you’re giving them the opportunity to do some additional important things really well.
  • Moral/Ethical Correctness: Teach them to use a higher standard than efficiency to affect the change. “It’s the ‘right’ thing to do”.

These currencies are called “Task-Related”:

  • New Resources: Make sure that you provide the money, budget, personnel, space, and other resources that will facilitate the changes. Make clear what the resources that are being provided and find out what additional resources they feel may be required.
  • Challenges/Learning: Make sure that the tasks involved increase skills and abilities. And, we’re not talking about how to get in the corners better when mopping.
  • Assistance: Assure that help is provided with existing projects or unwanted tasks.
  • Task Support: Give overt or subtle backing, if not actual assistance with their portion of the implementation. They, as well as other team members, need to know that you support them.
  • Rapid Response: When something needs addressing, do it now if at all possible. Just make sure it’s quicker than normal.
  • Information: Provide access to all the organizational and technical knowledge they’ll need to perform their tasks.

Next, “Position-Related” Currencies:

  • Recognition: Be sure to acknowledge their efforts accomplishments and abilities. Do so publicly as well as privately.
  • Visibility: Provide the opportunities to be known by higher-ups or significant others within your organization.
  • Reputation: They need to be seen and recognized as competent and committed.
  • Insiderness/Importance: There has to be a sense of belonging.
  • Contacts: Give them opportunities to link with others, both inside and outside of your practice.

Very important “Relationship-Related” currencies:

  • Understanding: Be sure to listen to their concerns and issues.
  • Acceptance/Inclusion: Closeness and friendship within the team should be encouraged.
  • Personal Support: Always be willing to give personal and emotional backing when asked for, and even when not asked for!

Finally, “Personal-Related” currencies:

  • Gratitude: Make sure to show appreciation and expressions of indebtedness.
  • Ownership/Involvement: Give ownership of and influence over important tasks.
  • Self-Concept: Affirm your team members’ values, self-esteem, and identity.
  • Support: Avoid hassles!

Now some changes or some people are just not going to work out, no matter what you do. So, as the wisdom of the Dakota’s says, “When you discover that you’re riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.” When it comes to team members especially, do not lower your standards so that the dead horse can be included.

When managing change, the most difficult variables to manage are the human ones, but with proper and careful communication, change can be not only done well, but without drama.

Works Cited

Harris, T. (Copyright, 1996 by Thomas E Harris, PhD). The Leadership of Change. University of Alabama


Other works by Dr. Harris: (Available at Amazon)

Applied Organizational Communication: Perspectives, Principles, and Pragmatics (Routledge Communication Series) Dec 3, 1992

Small Group and Team Communication (3rd Edition) 3rd Edition, by Thomas E. Harris (Author), John C. Sherblom (Author)