There’s No Time: The Pressure of Field Teams to Adapt to Internal Change

By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA |

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”  -Andy Warhol

Too much to do and too little time. We’ve all heard the old adage and many days we feel it was written just for us. The job demands are significant so it’s easy to just put our heads down and “do work.” But, is it the right work? Doing more is awesome when it lines up with strategic direction. But, what we did yesterday might not be what’s needed today. This environment requires finely tuned “change radar” to make sure the field efforts align with the pulse and current organization needs.

Stop, Look and Listen

As organization’s adapt and evolve there are all kinds of signals that alert us to pending changes. Listen to the requests for more data or details, watch the groups that are coming together internally, feel the tension and topics that are front and center, ask more questions of the service line leaders and your senior leaders to keep a pulse on the priorities for them. But, also work to learn about what they are being asked to produce.  In a field job designed to keep you out of your hospital, sharpen your observation skills when you are inside the facility.

Learn then Act

Once you have a sense of direction, make shifts to align your actions. Start with small changes that match the internal vibe. Watch the acceptance and interest and then do a little more. It’s so much easier to change five percent or ten percent of the role than to wait and try to do a full overhaul. Often it is the nimble and intuitive rep who is called upon for new ideas, insights or perspectives on what will work with the physician audience.


Here are a few areas for you to consider. While the pace is crazy, taking the time to look inward and listen to the internal stakeholders will certainly add value. And, its win-win for your program, so ask:

  • Do my measures of success align with the organizations metrics?
  • Do leaders come to me and my team for not only “getting the word out”, but also when they need a pulse on the market?
  • Am I a part of physician-focused business decisions?
  • At least every six months do we regroup to look at our field strategy and make sure it aligns with the organization’s needs?
  • Is field team seen as an essential and nimble group for growth strategy?

Progressive evolutionary changes are much easier than needing to take a revolutionary approach. Field staff are front and center in understanding the voice of physician from the outside in. Getting the right attention for that need starts with making sure we are seen as strategic partners who are sensitive to today’s business model. Perk up those ears and see what you learn this week that can inform your field efforts for the week ahead.