Guest Column | July 23, 2018

Creating Tomorrow, Today: Three Keys to Leading Change

By Liz Bywater, Ph.D.


I recently had the pleasure of attending the Thomas Jefferson U President’s Award dinner. This year’s award was given to Dave and Espy Neu, in recognition of their generosity: contributing precious time, vision, dollars, and heart to Jefferson Health’s Neu Center for Supportive Medicine and Cancer Survivorship.

Among the highlights was Stephen Klasko’s address to the audience. Recently named among the 100 Most Creative People in Business Steve speaks about the need for rapid, dramatic transformation. “Incremental change will fail in a time of disruption… [we] need transformational change to fix our Star Wars medicine grafted onto a Fred Flintstone healthcare delivery system.”

His message is spot-on. Our world is changing — and it’s happening fast. I’ve found that my most successful clients are getting ahead by creating the future. Transforming. Innovating. Winning the hearts and minds of their best people. Shaping the industry. Refusing to be pulled down by resistance, negativity, and drag. They know when to slow down and when to speed up.

Here are three ways to lead through change and drive an innovation mindset:

  1. Deliver the message. Help your people understand the context for change, your vision, strategy, and their role in the transformation. Be clear. Be consistent. Be direct. Listen for resistance, anxiety, and divergent points of view. Use multiple modes of communication to ensure your message is heard, understood, and integrated across your organization. Share your insights with customers, partners, and industry leaders.
  2. Assess your organization. Have you got the right people on board to succeed today and thrive tomorrow? Are your employees in the right roles, working within the best possible structure, doing the right things at the right time? If you can’t say yes to all of these questions, it’s time make a change. Don’t delay.
  3. Create a culture of accountability. Your people may be getting results today. But are they growing, learning, and adapting to the changing world? Are they demonstrating true leadership, interacting with customers and patients in the best possible way, and showing up with the utmost professionalism? Do they demonstrate personal responsibility for moving the organization forward? Is there a clear consequence for poor behavior, toxic communication, and a negative mindset?

Leaders, the future is here. It’s never been more essential to create an innovative, agile, bold organization. It is the only way to lead, succeed, and thrive in a rapidly changing landscape.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Dr. Liz on Leadership. Each month, I will share new ideas, tools and advice to help you thrive in today’s ever-changing healthcare environment. Let me know what’s top of mind and I’ll answer your most pressing questions in future columns. Contact me at

For additional tools and thought leadership, check out my all-new website, And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Slow Down to Speed Up: Lead, Succeed, and Thrive in a 24/7 World!