You have done the analysis, understood the problem and proposed a solution but you are struggling to get buy-in from stakeholders. The key is communication. No matter how much analysis you have done, if people don’t engage emotionally then your project is doomed to failure, so communicate with the heart as well as the head. It’s as easy as ABC.
Don’t let others take control of the agenda or distort the message.
It’s hard to believe the following articles are about the same story, were written by the same journalist and were printed in the same newspaper just six months apart.
The first article (published in March of this year) criticises a plan by NHS England to write to patients who have not visited their doctor for more than five years to verify they still live in the area and ought to remain on the GP’s list, and claims (somewhat sensationally) that ‘patients who have not seen their GP for five years faced being barred from surgeries’.
The second article (published today) claims ‘GPs are being paid for looking after three million patients who do not exist – at a cost of about £400 million a year’.
Same story, different spin. It’s easy to see how the public perception could be negatively influenced by the first article; and why it is vital to take control of the agenda, articulate the vision (to safeguard NHS resources and ensure GPs are fairly paid); build a compelling case (to ensure changes in population are reflected in GP lists so that valuable NHS resources can be directed appropriately); and communicate, communicate, communicate (to ensure the message is understood and that in this case there is no intention to remove healthy patients from GPs lists).
Managing change is as much about managing people and emotion, as it is about managing processes and systems.
NB: Chris Smyth, Health Editor at The Times, was invited to comment.