What do you do when news practices, systems and models are ‘foisted’ upon you by a new contracting arrangements?
Well in most cases we ‘suck it up’ and get on with the job. You often have little choice as these contracts represent your bread and butter and not to do so would disadvantage you clients and future customers.
New contracts = Transition
These new contracting arrangements usually signal a new approach or policy framework – so its often not just a simple change of ‘master’ but many subtle changes in details that impact a whole array of systems, processes and policies you have established in your business and operations. So what initially may seems like a simple change can, on further analysis, represent a major shift in approach within your organisation.
It doesn’t really matter if you embrace the change or are skeptical you must carefully examine and manage the ‘transition’ to the new contracting environment for your business to successfully shift the organisation, its people and customers to the new environment.
I’ve been thinking about transitions recently because many not for profit providers here in Australia are being asked to transition to a new contracting environments in both the aged and disability care sectors. It is probably happening elsewhere but I am more familiar with these two sector changes.
A plan makes all the difference
I was invited to develop a couple of transition plans to guide agencies through all the thinking they needed to do in preparing and executing this transition.
At our initial meeting our discussion focussed on what we thought were the two key aspects of change that were immediately obvious. So we (the business and I) went off feeling comfortable that the transition plan would represent a simple blueprint for the organisation to follow. How wrong we were!
Once I began to explore and unpick the many aspects of each change, and discuss them with the input of the organisation, it became obvious that there was much that was needed to be put in place, amended or drafted from scratch to really give effect to the change.
In our case we were lucky we have 6-7 months to manage the transition and now have a well developed plan to guide the key aspects of change.
The plan included the people (staff, customers and stakeholders), systems & infrastructure, quality, financial and strategic considerations in the transition and enabled the organisation to allocate, direct, monitor and review their progress throughout the transition and test and provide some self paced training tools for staff.
A word of advice – plan for transitions
So I suppose for us the moral of the story was
- don’t take transitions for granted,
- don’t think because you’ve worked in the space for years that you ‘understand the impact of everything’,
- don’t think things will fall in to place naturally,
- don’t assume your staff will be across all the details of the change, and
- don’t wait until the change is upon you to begin the process of planning for the change!
Remember ….. with a plan
A quick guide to starting this process I found on the net might be of help to those just starting. Others might like help and I am available to consult and provide a plan in partnership with you – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Whatever pathway you choose to plan and manage your transition good luck – all will benefit from your efforts.