Integrated and Compensatory Drivers
Organizations using the Active Implementation Frameworks are learning organizations. They use innovations on purpose, they support the use of innovations on purpose, they teach new staff members innovation and implementation best practices, they collect data on effectiveness and efficiency, and they use data to make better decisions, improve practices, and improve benefits. Teaching, learning, learning to learn, and improvement are hallmarks throughout a learning organization.
Given the changing socio-political, economic, and cultural conditions in which organizations operate, nothing is expected to stay the same. Complexity theory (Morgan & Ramirez, 1983; Stacey, 2002; Weick, Sutcliffe, & Obstfeld, 1999) points to the need to be aware of uncertainty and unexpected conditions in society, systems, and organizations. To cope with “environments where change is imminent and frequent,” Dooley (1997, pp. 92-93) suggests some general guidelines for organizations: “(a) create a shared purpose, (b) cultivate inquiry, learning, experimentation, and divergent thinking, (c) enhance external and internal interconnections via communication and technology, (d) instill rapid feedback loops for self-reference and self-control, (e) cultivate diversity, specialization, differentiation, and integration, (f) create shared values and principles of action, and (g) make explicit a few but essential structural and behavioral boundaries.”
The Implementation Drivers provide ways to respond purposefully and constructively to changes that are inevitable and to the guidelines listed by Dooley (1997). Leadership Drivers, Competency Drivers, and Organization Drivers enhance one another in multiple ways in response to internal and external change and uncertainty. Implementation Teams “cultivate diversity, specialization, differentiation, and integration” as managers and leaders also do Selection interviews and teach sections of Training workshops, coaches and trainers also do Fidelity assessments and data management, and so on. Decision Support Data Systems detect trends and “instill rapid feedback loops for self-reference and self-control.” Systems Interventions “enhance external and internal interconnections via communication and technology.” Leaders, managers, trainers, coaches, and fidelity assessors work together to “create a shared purpose” and “create shared values and principles of action.” The use of data in action planning and Improvement Cycles helps to “cultivate inquiry, learning, experimentation, and divergent thinking.” And, the Active Implementation Frameworks “make explicit a few but essential structural and behavioral boundaries.”
The Implementation Drivers represent a dynamic and interactive set of variables that need to be understood during the Exploration Stage and then used as an innovation is installed, fully implemented, improved, and sustained over time. To be effective, the Implementation Drivers are integrated so there is internal consistency among selection variables, skills training, coaching, staff evaluation, etc. This means that selection procedures focus on skills and attitudes that will be needed but cannot be easily trained. And training and coaching go hand in hand and avoid the all too common “spray and pray” training. Staff performance assessment relates directly to what has been taught and coached. Integration means having the implementation components work together to produce high fidelity practitioner behavior and consistently good results for recipients.
The Implementation Drivers are compensatory in that a weakness in one (e.g. training) can be accommodated by strengthening others (e.g. coaching and fidelity assessment). For example, as the Teaching-Family Model expanded, it required considerable attention to maintain high fidelity use of recruitment, selection, training, and coaching of Teaching-Parents, the married couples and their children who lived and worked in Teaching-Family group homes. For a time, there were enough couples applying for each opening to allow the selection criteria to be satisfied. Later, when the economy improved dramatically, the pool of applicants was reduced and couples were hired that did not meet all the selection criteria. To compensate, more time was spent on behavior rehearsals during training, coaching time was doubled for couples leaving training, and fidelity assessments were scheduled to occur more frequently to provide feedback to coaches and Teaching-Parents. Consequently, benefits to the youths living in the group homes were maintained.
Given the complexity of providing interaction-based services in capricious operating environments, the Active Implementation Frameworks provide a way to sense changes and a way to rapidly compensate for those changes without losing sight of the mission and goals.