Leading Technology Change

by Larry Emmott on December 6, 2012

in Management

From Rhonda Mullin’s Blog: An interesting perspective I had not heard before.

Leaders can be categorized as either Transactional or Transformational… The first type is action and to-do oriented, whereas the second is thought and energy oriented. …Transactional leaders are logical, horizontal thinkers and problem solvers, focused on time management and to-do lists. They tell their staff what they need to hear and concentrate on changing behaviors. Transformational leaders are emotional and vertical thinkers who use critical thinking, focus on energy management, and emphasize to-be lists. They are attentive to how their team members feel and changing how they think, which increases the possibility for action, success, and significance.

via Rhonda’s Blog | Rhonda Mullins.

I am becoming more and more interested in change and leadership. It is obvious that just telling dentists about technology is not nearly enough to effect change.

My quick take on Rhonda’s post is that most dentists are naturally transactional. The nature of our profession attracts people who look for the problem, devise a solution and then follow a well-defined path to get things done. That kind of leader is ideal for most day to day dentistry and in fact is important when implementing new technology.

However I also see that transformational leadership plays a big role in change and the acceptance of new technology. If team members (or even the dentist) cannot see the vision of what might be when the new technology is implemented or if the dentist leader is unaware of team member’s feelings and fears it is easy to get bogged down with change and just settle for the status quo.

I have always offered dentists consulting help however I see a need for some focused coaching on specific high tech transitions and will be developing some programs to help. More to come.

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{ 2 comments }

Brian Smith December 7, 2012 at 8:28 am

Larry, your observation that “… transformational leadership plays a big role in change and the acceptance of new technology.” is right on target. So many times, we see a doctor acquire a new technology for their practice, and just expect that the team will share her/his enthusiasm about it, and it’ll be awesome. Of course, if the doctor has been a transactional leader up to that point, the team is unlikely to do much to get the new technology adopted unless the doctor gives them the step-by-step process. On the other hand, a team that has been lead by a tranformational leader will know that they are expected to explore the new technology, talk about it as a team, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and be comfortable with some trial and error, because the doctor has fostered that environment.

Of course, the challenge is getting a transactional leader to think and act transformationally. I hope you can devise a program that can help with that, because it’s certainly needed.

Larry Emmott December 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

I am developing a coaching program. That is a multiday in office process to help dental offices implement a new technology. Or more accurately achieve a new technology related goal such as “going paperless”.

The big question is will dentists see value and pay for it?

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