Organisational Readiness for Change

Back of a person in a hoodie that reads “changing mindsets”
Photo by kylie De Guia on Unsplash

One of the biggest challenges that leaders face is the implementation of change.  At the same time, especially in the rapidly changing healthcare world, change is imperative.  An organization’s readiness for change is critical to the successful implementation of changes. The concept of organizational readiness for change is both multileveled and multifaceted.  Readiness may be present to various extents at the level of the individual, a group, a unit, the department, or at the level of the organization.  Readiness includes both the commitment to a proposed change as well as the perceived efficacy to make that change at various levels.


Activity # 1

Read the following article on a theory of readiness for change.  Weinger, J.B. (2009). A Theory of organizational readiness for change. Implementation Science, 4(6).

Organizational readiness does not guarantee that changes will be successful within organizations but it is a necessary element for the effective implementation of change.

The 3 C’s of change leadership were derived from a study in which senior executive leaders were asked about a change they had successfully navigated in the previous 12 to 18 months and another group that they questioned about changes with unsuccessful outcomes.   You can read more about their findings in a White Paper published by the Center for Creative Leadership entitled Change-Capable Leadership: The Real Power Propelling Successful Change.

The three C’s of change leadership are: communicate, collaborate, and commit.



Leaders of unsuccessful changes reported a tendency to focus on what was occurring behind the change whereas those that were successful focussed on communicating both the what and why behind the change.  When leaders presented the connection between the change and the values of the organization and/or explained the benefits of the change for the organization they were more likely to achieve buy-in and reach successful change outcomes. One of the key messages here for leaders was to determine the most important message, to share it widely, to share it often and to be open.



Successful change leadership included the building of teams and encouraging staff to take on responsibilities as well as embrace challenges.  These leaders encouraged staff to break out of their usual silos, did not tolerate competition, and involved staff in creating solutions and ideas for implementing the change.  Staff were also engaged early in the implementation process. In contrast, leaders, where change had not been successful, regretted that they had not included employees early or often enough



The third C involves the leader recognizing that they need to change themselves for the proposed change to be successful. This includes the leader recognizing the beliefs, approaches, and behaviours that they need to adapt or shift based on the change that they are trying to implement.  Successful leaders talked about showing a positive attitude and enthusiasm about the change. These leaders were also resilient and continued to move forward despite challenges and opposition; they tended to become role models for the organization. In addition, they devoted more time to the change process and focused on the bigger picture.


Activity #2

Reflection Exercise

Read the article below and identify elements related to both organisational readiness and how the three Cs were used or not used in this case.

Murphy F.  2006. Using change in nursing practice: a case study approach. Fiona Murphy reviews a case study concerning her role as a specialist nurse practitioner in the development of a monthly blood information booklet in a renal haemodialysis unit. Nursing management, 13(2), 22.



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Leadership for Nurses in Clinical Settings Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Kirsten Woodend, Dr. Catherine Thibeault, Dr. Manon Lemonde, Dr. Janet McCabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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