Creating Organizational Change: Updating Your Processes

There is a difficult equation at play when you are trying to make major program changes. Change is usually difficult or at least uncomfortable. It is easier to do things the familiar, safe way. Existing processes (such as billing requirements, paperwork, and peer support) were usually created to support the old way of doing things. On top of that, wraparound providers rarely have the luxury of extra time in their schedules. All of this together means that there is a lot of support for the status quo (whatever that is) and very little naturally occurring support for change.

Org Change Barriers

Notice that I didn’t list a lack of training, or a shortage of resources to support the new way. This formula assumes that you have or brought in an expert who can provide high quality training for the new process. That is the minimum requirement, but it is almost never enough by itself.

So what do you need to make a major change – like implementing High Fidelity Wraparound? We have to change some of those variables listed above. Today, we are going to talk about the first variable. We will get into the second and third in the next few weeks.

The first variable is often the one that seems the most difficult to change, but is usually the easiest. Look at your processes: What does your paperwork look like for wraparound staff to fill out after meetings and visits? What counts as a billable hour? What kinds of requirements are in place for meetings, visits, and extras to “count”? Which activities are reported on?

For each piece of paperwork and every requirement, you are placing constraints and priorities on your staff members. When they are busy (like they almost always are), they will do the things they have to do, and the rest will fall by the wayside. Your job, if you want these changes to be successful, is to take each and every process and procedure and ask yourself: Does this actively promote good wraparound?


Some processes (like requiring a fixed number of natural supports at each team meeting, or making team meetings follow a schedule instead of needs), actively hinder High Fidelity Wraparound. These need to be changed before you can start.

Others (like focusing paperwork on deficits instead of strengths and strength based planning) don’t actively hinder wraparound, but don’t promote it either. Those policies are really supporting something else (like a traditional deficit-services based style of planning). When rubber hits the road, you can bet that most of your facilitators will revert to what they must document. These kinds of policies are just as important to revisit.

You goal is to have all of your processes actively support wraparound the way you want it to be done. This means going beyond paying lip service to services, into actively making changes to support the process. For example, have your SNCD forms mimic the SNCD process you want your facilitators to pursue.

Staff engagement is just as important as family engagement, and for very similar reasons. Next week, we will look at how to get your staff to buy in to the new style of wraparound.

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