Trudy and I have written many posts on the topic of change – readiness to change, the culture of change, the implicit difficulty of change, the struggles people and organizations experience in maintaining change.

One of the specific sectors PROVOKE has consistently been invited to work within is population health – a context where change is often desired and fostered. But as you can well imagine, trying to promote and grow change within populations is NOT an easy task.

I think that is why this initiative and associated video was so impactful to me – it marries change and health in a really fun, easy (if you can squat!), and rewarding (on a couple levels!) way.

This video is a brilliant example of how change should be implemented. Changing behavior doesn’t have to be awful.

Yes, it is only a small behavior change. But if you look at the broader implications the video suggests, people are exercising willingly, people are connecting to each other in ways that likely would not happen naturally with public transportation, and people are smiling, laughing and having fun.

How do you incorporate change in your life? Does it feel like pulling teeth?

If so, I challenge you to think about how you could sprinkle in some elements captured in this video.


But I Know it is a Great Idea

by Karen on October 14, 2011

Have you ever had a great idea, and maybe even had the opportunity to implement, but it didn’t take off like you expected or promised?  It has happened to me and I kept trying to explain myself to the audiences.  Why it was a great solution for the customer.  How it was good for profits.  How and why operations, sales and customer service teams should support it.  And, needless to say, always defending it to the executive team.

For years (yes years!) it just didn’t take off.  Was the idea ahead of its time?  Perhaps, but that still means it was not the right idea to implement and should have been pulled sooner.  Was the support team fighting it because it was new?  Perhaps, but that means the benefits weren’t compelling or the processes required to operate and manage it were too complex.  If it was truly a good idea, customers and employees would have pulled it through.

I kept pushing and promoting the service because the idea was grounded in sound customer research and I could see the long-term competitive advantage it would create.  However, the problem (it turns out) was that the service was just too complex for both internal and external stakeholders to grab on to.

In the end, we paired back the offering to its bare bones, stakeholders took to it, and then the users and buyers began pulling for the next level options. (I never said “I told you so.”)

The learning boils down to respecting and understanding the rational and emotional needs of your audiences. Make sure your audience is ready for your “great” idea, you just cannot push it and expect results.  And if it is too big to explain from the start, break it down into smaller bites.  If it truly is a winner, the stakeholders will move it forward.  Finally, move ego out of the way and admit you weren’t listening carefully enough and went too far in the beginning.  Ouch!


I’ll Do It My Way

by Karen on September 23, 2011

Everywhere I turn, I observe people taking short cuts to problem solving, side-stepping the opportunity and responsibility to get involved and help make improvements.  Instead they throw up their hands and seem to be saying “I’ll do it my way!” Why?

A social/recreation organization I belong to was at one time considered one of the best places to meet new people and build long-lasting friendships.  Events were organized to ensure if you wanted to be involved, improve your skills and meet new people, you just sign up.  If the events weren’t meeting member needs, there was a strong desire to meet with the leaders and fix it.  Most recently, however, small groups of “discontented” folks have chosen to solve their problem by forming their own exclusive group.  Outcome: an organization that is not welcoming to new people, excludes (intentionally or unintentionally) others and ultimately creates a disconnected community.

Less than a year ago a client was excited to be outsourcing a part of the business to a partner hoping to leverage the superior experience of that partner and free up time and resources to concentrate on their core business.  Now, this same organization is taking back the activity because the partner doesn’t value their assets like they had hoped.

A client listened intently to the learnings of a discovery we completed.  It made sense to him, he wanted to know more about how to execute accordingly, took notes and went back to his desk to give it a try.  Three days later he asked to meet and review his work.  It was as if he didn’t really buy-in to our recommendations.  When I asked why, his response was, “Well I agree completely with your findings, it all makes sense, but if I changed my approach it would take too long and it wouldn’t look like my work anyway.”

A young friend just entering college, in a program of her choice and passion, is already “hating” it.  The instructors are well qualified and respected.  It is a program that is small and as such is fully attentive to individual student needs and provides great opportunity to work with fellow students.  However, this learner doesn’t like being told what to do and as such, just isn’t doing it.  She can’t see value in listening and learning from successful leaders in her chosen field.  She wants to make “her own mark.”

What is the common thread in all of these conversations?  Is it the missing desire to collaborate, listen to others, learn from others, and work together for a better solution?  Or, is it something to do with the idea of the “me generation”?  Or is it simply that people are too busy to relate?



Unintended Consequences

September 2, 2011

Last year I wrote a blog on a new pick up process at my learner’s school that created dissension amongst the parental ranks. School went back a week ago for us and I was reflecting on that blog and what a difference a year makes. One year later, we are still following this pick up […]

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So Much Room for Misunderstanding!

June 3, 2011

You are so pleased that you’ve revised the management performance plan, intending to remove the unintended incentive to cover up mistakes. BUT, the team saw it as another step away from the customer. You recognized that the team had been through too much change and announce, “It is time to get back to the basics.”  […]

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