BY: SR. CLAUDIA RIEHL, OSB
Sr. Claudia Riehl, OSB, director, mission
integration, Benedictine Health System, Duluth, MN, offered
the following reflection on Rosalie McDermott's ideas.
Significant change in the workplace challenges
all organizations. Catholic health care, because of its emphasis
on mission and values integration, faces even greater challenges
than other organizations in implementing major change in ways
that align with its stated values.
Rosalie McDermott's way of clarifying the change
process, with its five distinct steps, makes the process easy
to understand and apply. The entire process is ideal for Catholic
health care to use as it carries on the Gospel imperative to
continue the healing ministry of Jesus, with his values. While
the base remains constant, the industry is constantly changing.
As organizations respond to change, McDermott's
process allows them to assess their acceptance of it and then
develop ways that can channel their efforts toward recommittting
themselves to its mission and values.
I could relate personally to all of McDermott's
concepts because the Benedictine Health System (BHS) has recently
completed significant organizational restructuring. According
to McDermott's theory, a mission integration department can
play an important role in moving an organization through change
by accompanying the change with rituals and celebrations that
remind people of their original commitment. At BHS, rituals
that celebrated the sponsoring order and reminded us that change
is part of life helped us all to respond positively to the process
I believe that mission integration departments
can also be a source of reflection that helps one bridge the
stages of change. Mission integration can help a system's leader
recognize the stages and respond wisely to them.
The most vital piece of McDermott's article urges
leaders to allow the process to unfold, while at the same time
providing employees with opportunities to share their feelings
and concerns about the change they are experiencing. Listening
to and respecting their responses prevents erosion of employees'
interest, commitment, and trust.
Stronger relationships develop, trust is built,
and commitment is strengthened when, as McDermott says, an organization
addresses its "nonrational" areas and creates new "myths." Catholic
health care is an inspiring witness when employees are listened
to and their passion and energy are tapped. Then all things
Copyright © 2002 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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