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Leading to change

The words pivot and adapt have been spruiked to death over the past few years. And by death, I mean that those that couldn’t do this quick enough, well enough, or simply chose not to, have ended up, or soon will be shutting their doors.

If the pandemic hasn’t motivated you to strategically look at your business and lead your team through the necessary changes required to cater to the postpandemic patient, then nothing will.

• Not the rise of competition.
• Not the government.
• Not declining profit margins.
• Nothing.

Unless you first embrace the need to lead to change.

For decades, advocates throughout not only the pharmacy industry, but the entire healthcare industry have been screaming for innovation and change to cater to evolving consumer healthcare needs and expectations.

Those that saw the writing on the wall and looked at the trends and embraced the changes required to improve their workflows, systems and processes years ago, are reaping the rewards today.

Their teams are happier, more productive and committed to the purpose of the business than those that didn’t.

Their bottom lines have weathered the peaks and troughs much more effectively and efficiently.

And their patients are proud advocates for these businesses—happy to promote and refer their friends and family when things go right, and even more willing to understand and defend the business when things don’t go to plan.

On the surface, it’s easy to judge and make assumptions about the behaviours and leadership qualities of health business owners and talent within our businesses, but there’s a lot more to it.

It takes guts to embrace and make change. Not just leading through change but making the call to change in the first place.

“Change has a consideration psyuchological impact on the human mind. Ti the fearful, itis threatening because it means that things may get worse. Yto the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge esicts to make things better.”

King Whitney Jr

For too long we’ve focused on leading through change but haven’t taken a step back to empower healthpreneurs to acknowledge the need to change from the start.

To understand why we haven’t changed, or seemingly refuse to change, it’s vital that we dig deep into
understanding what’s holding us back.

The Roadblocks to Starting Change

Many leadership coaches will focus solely on the things to be aware of when embarking on change, i.e., ensuring adequate communication, allocating appropriate resources and leading the team through the journey.

However, this is of little use if we aren’t actually committed to starting change in the first place. As leaders, commitment in all facets of our business is a clear sign to both ourselves and our teams that we’re embarking on the journey, we’re preparing to weather any turbulence along the way, and we’re in it together until we’ve reached our destination and beyond.

In essence, leading to change is the summation of many actions following one key value: we do what we say we will do.

But while commitment is essential, getting to that point requires us to overcome 5 key roadblocks standing in our way:

#1 Fear of Failure

Coming from an Asian background, I was instilled with the values of my culture and the expectations that come with it from a young age. The expectations to reach levels of academic achievement and financial
success are all part of it. But failure is not.

In the real world however, this is completely contradictory. And unfortunately, we’re now seeing this translate to the broader community as well.

“Failure is not the opposite of success, its an integral part off success.”

Arianna Huffington

The notion that success and failure are polar opposite events results in us having doubt in our abilities and the belief that despite trying new things and embracing change, our efforts won’t be good enough.
As a result, we simply don’t start change, fearing that the changes we make will send us backwards, not forwards.

But if we reverse this notion and look at failure as an opportunity to learn, review and refine what we’re doing, we flip the script from fear to something that we can leverage and build upon.

Having experienced this firsthand, I know that overcoming this is easier said than done. It’s a daily practice and one that is truly never completely abolished. But with each small battle we win, we will quickly look back and realise that the fear wasn’t as bad as what we made it out to be.

#2 Fear of Judgement

Like Fear of Failure, and many other fears, we ultimately worry: ‘What will others think?’

Growing up in a close-knit community, both personally and professionally, and being very visible with what was happening in my world, I always thought about how others were perceiving me and my actions.

But the more I worried about this, the more I didn’t achieve. And the more I didn’t achieve, the more this fear was fuelled. It’s a vicious circle and one that can quickly lead to isolation, exclusion and actual failure.

I quickly learned that as a leader, this comes back to our relationship with things we can control, things that we can influence, and things that concern us even though we have little to no control over them.

Adapted from Stephen Covey’s Circles of Concern and Circles of Influence, we can quickly identify things in our own world that can consume our focus and resources but are beyond our influence and control.

I’ve started filling out the graphic above but feel free to add to it to make it more relative to your own circumstances.

But let’s be real here. Haters will always hate. Judgers will always judge. There are plenty of people that voice negative opinions on the world’s most progressive and innovative thinkers.

Take Elon Musk for example. He faces judgement and scrutiny each day for his ideas, methods and leadership skills. If he let the fear of judgement hold him back, whether it be from the oil industry, the space industry or even our global financial industry:

  • Would we be seeing a radical shift to EV technologies?
  • Would we believe that one day we will inhabit Mars?
  • Would we be embracing the use of digital currencies despite their volatility and uncertainty?

Most certainly not.

By letting go of the things that concern us and are out of our control, the quicker we can remove these fears.

#3 Procrastination

As healthcare practitioners, we’re drilled throughout our university life that ‘mistakes can kill people’. While rightly so from a healthcare perspective it’s the lack of mistakes that can kill our careers and businesses.

While this might sound odd, take a moment to re-read the previous sentence. Does the link between procrastination and our fears of failure and judgement sound familiar?

For many of us, including myself at a point in time, we procrastinate because we seek perfection. We seek perfection because our minds have been wired to believe that a mistake can kill someone.

But if we don’t take the plunge to make changes, knowing that there will be mistakes along the way that we can learn and build from, then we will forever be waiting for the perfect time, place and plan to embrace change.

And here’s the kicker: there is no such thing as perfect, only progress. Looking at the change through the lens of progress over perfection, taking the leap will help accelerate your growth and identify things that you didn’t realise.

Of course, it might take time and resources to correct the mistake—but what’s worse? Doing nothing and wasting time and resources to just survive, or trying something new that at the very worst, will teach you what not to do, so you can do the opposite?

#4 Imposter Phenomenon

Let’s face it, you’re a highperforming individual. That’s the nature of being a healthpreneur.

But have you ever felt like:

  • you’re not worthy to lead others?
  • you think you don’t know what you’re doing despite all your training and knowledge?
  • you think you’re not smart enough?
  • you don’t deserve what you’ve achieved?

It’s common to have these feelings at one point or another. But when it starts to impact our performance, despite all the external accolades, encouragement and accomplishments, addressing the imposter phenomenon is critical to ensure we can effectively lead to succeed.

The self-doubt of our abilities and the guilt felt when we do succeed leads us to fear success. When we fear success, we don’t actively pursue it. And as such, we don’t embrace the mindset required to lead
ourselves and our teams to change.

Flipping the script from ‘Am I worthy?’ to ‘I am worthy!’ is the first step to recognise that you deserve the changes that will help you, your family, your business and your community thrive.

#5 Lack of Planning

In order to lead to change, we need to understand where we want to get to. This is where planning comes in.

Planning helps to overcome our fears and procrastination by reducing risk, establishing contingencies and creating greater certainty. We’ll dig deeper into Planning (aka our third pillar) in length in the next article. Stay tuned.

Leadership is an active process, not passive

At the core of leadership, is our ability to adapt and pivot. To recognise the challenges we face and to lead ourselves and our team to change when the old ways simply won’t cut it anymore takes:

  • courage
  • passion
  • grit
  • endurance
  • skill
  • confidence

Put simply, it takes work.

The ‘set and forget’ attitude to leadership increasingly highlights the frustrations felt by teams in many workplaces. But it’s those that take an active role in leadership, who empower themselves and others with the ability to make meaningful change that stand apart from the rest.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Barack Obama

But it all starts with you first accepting, embracing and acknowledging the need to change. By this point in time, you might still be thinking, ‘I don’t need to change.

Here are my top tips to looking at change a bit differently:

  • Step into a place of neutral.
  • Park the ego aside.
  • Seek the support and guidance of people that have walked in your shoes before.
  • Explore where your fears are coded from.
  • Step back to step forward.
  • Use those around you to provide feedback and insights about your leadership.
  • Go against the norm to do what’s best for you.
  • Remember that you are solely responsible for the failures and successes of your business.
    Before we sign off, it’s important to note that change can mean limitless things.

It doesn’t mean that you have to do a shopfit, spend millions of dollars on the latest and greatest gadgets, employ new team members or launch a new product or service.

It could simply be the change of mindset required to look at your business through a different lens.

Or it could be that you’re simply asking the wrong questions to begin with. Reframing your questions to seek and consider alternative solutions rather than jumping at the first thought is critical to mine for the gold you seek (remember, the best answers come from the best questions).

But in all instances, be sure to seek input from those around you. The collective minds and thoughts will help you be the leader you need to be to embrace change from the beginning.

So given the above … What is your definition of change at this very moment? And how will you accept, embrace and build your skills to be a leader to change?


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