Thoughts from NYSACRA: Resiliency in a Time of Change

I recently attended the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies (NYSACRA) conference as both a participant and a presenter. Some familiar themes permeated at this conference and others I’ve attended this year: what’s coming next with healthcare reform, when will changes happen and how will they affect me, my agency and my clients? Despite these questions, is was apparent that providers in attendance would not let uncertainty interfere with the work at hand and the work they do on a day to day basis. This resiliency reminds me of successful corporations, who despite market changes and inevitable product changes, continue to be successful by retaining their core mission, but also adapt for future sustainability.

During my presentation at NYSACRA, co-presented with Liz Smith from Unity House of Cayuga County, we engaged in a discussion about the steps an agency needs to exhibit to successfully implement changes in a managed care environment. These include taking steps to address: Accountability, Managing with Data, Dynamic Management, Collaboration Interoperability, and Marketing. Many attendees shared the idea that success at an agency level can come from both the process changes an agency must make and the characteristics that permeate through an organization. As I listened to stories of success and stories of struggle, three characteristics of how one can deal with uncertainty struck me:

  1. The first is resiliency. As we all go through what feels like our 100th metamorphism within our agency, it is crucial to be resilient. Not everything will go right, either on your part or the part of those creating the change. You need to be resilient and be able to handle anything that comes your way. Learn from setbacks, move forward rapidly and don’t dwell on what you can’t change.
  2. The second characteristic is inclusion. The whole organization is affected with any change. It may be structurally affected, indirectly affected or by perception. Inclusion by a whole organization will reduce, not eliminate anxiety. Reduced anxiety can support continued productivity and buy-in to change occurring at the agency. The unknown breeds fear, but knowledge dispels fear.
  3. The last characteristic is focus. Focus on the core mission, focus on the current and focus on the future. Agency leaders who were focused on making sure that they retained their mission, remained focused on making sure the agency does not slip during this time of change and those that are able to continue to focus energy on the future are the most successful implementers of new ideas. An agency that feels scattered is often scattered and, therefore, cannot properly prepare for change.

I know these sound like simple characteristics, but I believe an agency can work to embody these characteristics to create an environment that will not only survive but will thrive. It will not be easy and there will be bumps along the way, but I am sure the people I met at NYSACRA, can and will succeed.