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10. Change responsiveness: The key to unlocking the change management cycle

With the unprecedented rate of change in the healthcare system (Bendaly & Bendaly, 2012), frontline leaders are often charged with the responsibility to lead and implement changes (Krywionek, 2022). Accreditation Canada Leadership Standards (2017) require that healthcare organizations include a change management framework to meet today’s standards. Decentralized leadership, change responsiveness, and team cohesiveness are essential to support the frontline leader to implement and sustain changes in today’s complex and chaotic healthcare landscape (By et al., 2016; Leng et al, 2020). For the purposes of this presentation, I define change responsiveness as an individual’s reaction to change and how it can influence the team’s perception and success of a change.


While some leaders want a rigid checklist to check off the steps and demonstrate that they are completing the organizational objectives (Rajan & Ganesan, 2017), Dickson and Tholl (2020) proposed “moving beyond a step-by-step, evidence-based paradigm of change” (p. 199), as this may limit the leaders’ ability to respond to emergent change. The LEADS framework outlines change activities as personal and interpersonal processes (Lead Self and Engage Others), strategic processes (Develop Coalitions and Systems Transformation) and advancing from a current state to an ideal future state (Achieve Results). The change model reframes the domains and uses them to guide the leader through a nonlinear response to change. As Dickson and Tholl (2020) stated, they are “balancing the tension between change leadership and change management” (p. 199). 


In this workshop, I will explore how the concept of change responsiveness is key to unlocking the change management cycle. Based on a recent action research engagement, I will outline how an organization can use change responsiveness and the LEADS framework to implement and sustain change in today’s complex health system.



Workshop participants will 

1. Develop an understanding of change responsiveness; how teams can have a rigid, limp or flexible response to change; and how the leader can use decentralized and distributed leadership to counteract a limp and rigid response. 

2. Apply the LEADS framework as a nonlinear change model. 

3. Explore and practice how to meaningfully engage frontline leaders and staff in a natural feedback loop to enhance engagement in change practices. 

4. Reflect on their personal change experiences through individual reflection and group dialogue.  



Nicole Krywionek - Director of Critical Care and Cardiology, Windsor Regional Hospital

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