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Transformation in aged care

Change comes from discomfort



What are Transformation Programs?

Transformation program’s, by sheer title alone, indicate there is a need for fundamental reform of how a business goes about its work. In aged care that reform is about moving organisations to shift fundamentally from a task orientation institutional model through to a genuinely consumer activated and empowered model. One where consumers are driving the decisions and directing how they wish us to enable their best life.

What does Transformation Mean?

Transformation means that at every level – power, authority and operating norms need to be realigned. A rebooting, so to speak of both the hard wiring and the soft wiring of the organisations. Top-down and bottom-up.

Hardwiring and Soft Wiring in Transformation

Hardwiring is broader than just systems and processes. It’s a genuine review of core systems like document management systems. Policies and Procedures, Position descriptions/Job Statement, Projects and delegation schedules. They all need to be completely thought through to enable a new way of working. The embedding of those systems requires solid rethink ( which means leadership needs time together to form a vision that will drive that change) of the organisations’ structure and the roles that work to execute those new ways of working. The span of control and how organisation embedded capabilities will commence the journey but the perseverance of leadership to make them stick is where all the hard work is.

This is where the soft wiring – culture and practice, really comes to the fore. How people work with others is a real test of whether or not there is a shared view of how the structure, systems and processes (hardwire) enables people to get on with each other, problem solves and genuinely make the changes needed to get them to stick.

What’s the Hardest Challenge for Leaders in Transformation?

Push back is the hardest challenge for leaders because it can appear to be constructive, but if it’s not about ensuring a solution focus to the discussion and debate, then it is nothing but being obstructive and slowing the reform program down. Individuals pretending to be collaborative, but being obstructive, need to be quarantined and held to account. They serve no real purpose other than serving themselves.

Culture and Transformation

Culture is the ‘way we do things’. How people confront conflict, how organisations genuinely learn from mistakes or near misses is more important than hard wiring alone. A culture of safety and quality is the secret sauce for getting to the sustainable performance phase. This is when the transformation program starts to stick, and regression is held at bay.

Where Does Real Change Come From?

Real change comes from discomfort, embrace it and use the discomfort to help inform where you are at with the change program. Is now the time to call out that the systems and processes that are not serving the organisation or the people, Calling out that individuals are not running the company agenda or aligning with organisational values takes courage. Conflict and conflict management is not our natural preference, but when done with a solution focus, it can leap businesses ahead.

What do Leaders in Transformation Need to Think About?

If your a leader implementing a transformation program (and if your work in aged care then yes you are!) you need to think about

  • What am I doing to clarify how the structure, roles and accountabilities enable the Transformation
  • How do I encourage my team to express discomfort about coming into new behaviours
  • How do I ensure that disagreement about hardwiring components continue to be offered constructively with a solution focus
  • How am I embedding a culture of collaboration
  • How does my behaviour reflect on others? Am I the culprit of causing poor behaviours like ‘grenade throwing’ or ‘disengaging’?
  • Leaning into the discomfort and allowing time to allow our inner intelligence to grow from the insight and reflection takes us to the higher level of emotional intelligence and growth. Intelligence that comes from digesting what is going on around us and within us.

Reflection stimulated by these points;

  1. Is now the time to reflect new focus in roles.
  2. Do we need to build capabilities that are missing for the next phase of Transformation
  3. Are we evolving our quality systems to check that new processes are being implemented well
  4. How to we encourage a speak-up culture if things are not quite going to plan
  5. How to make sure individuals are being true to values and be held to account.

Cynthia_Payne_sqrAnchor Excellence and Transformation

At Anchor Excellence, we work with leaders to enable them to implement excellent approaches to leadership, Transformation and compliance. We are driven to enable aged care services (large and small) to transform via the lens of the lived experience of older Australians.

Cynthia Payne has 30 years experience in age services and 20 in executive leadership roles. She is founder and Managing Director of Anchor Excellence- a bespoke national aged care executive and management consulting firm.

Cynthia is also Director of the National Heart Foundation and Board Advisor for Total Construction, a national privately-held construction company.

MAICD, FGIA, MCNA, BAS (Nursing)MBA, RN, Certified Practitioner of Balanced Scorecard, three-time winner of Australian Business Excellence Awards – 2 Golds and 1 Silver. CertIV Purna Yoga Teacher


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