Implementation of any new initiative is most successful when all levels of a clinic’s leadership, i.e., executive leadership, middle managers, supervisors, and team leaders, are on the same page. Being on the same page means they share the same vision of the initiative, its implementation, and the desired results. Good implementation leaders should stay informed about what is happening with the initiative, do their best to remain accessible to staff, be willing to lend a helping hand when the best-laid plans get derailed, and persevere through challenges. Below, we describe basic things that leaders at all levels can do to support the implementation of new policies and practices related to SGM primary care.1
- “Talk up” both the innovations (i.e., recommendations for SGM competent primary care) and the Implementation Team’s efforts. Doing so contributes to the excitement around the changes taking place and sends a message that this initiative is important to the clinic. Leaders can monitor the success of these efforts and communicate to others both in the clinic and the community about the strides being made to improve primary care for SGM patients.
- Be critical problem solvers, collaborating with the team (rather than telling members what to do) to overcome potential barriers. Leaders should ask others for ideas about resolving challenges and reinforce their advice by trying out the suggested solutions.
- Pay attention to, reward, and acknowledge providers and staff in the clinic who actively create a more supportive environment for SGM patients. There is great power in acknowledging an individual’s hard work to support SGM-competent primary care. Additionally, providing acknowledgment to or rewarding an individual in the presence of their colleagues sends a strong message that such work is imperative and encourages others to do the same.
- Invest in providers and staff by making new training and professional development opportunities available to them.
- Recruit, hire, and promote staff who have experience implementing new policies and practices related to SGM care and can play critical roles in making organizational change happen.