Rather have a book, or an e-book?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Being Out Front

What does it take to be innovative?   Most people find it pretty hard to be at the front of the pack.  Everett Rogers in his description of the Diffusion of Innovation described Innovators as VENTURESOME and says that only 2.5% of the population of any defined group will be able to carry that load.  It is really hard to truly be on the cutting edge, to be creating the new evidence for the rest of us to follow.  It takes a risk-taker to throw some caution to the wind and be inventive. 

"Results!  Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results.  I know several thousand things that won't work."
                                                                                              -Thomas Edison, U.S. inventor (1847-1931)

What do we remember about Edison?  Do we remember that he was a bumbling scientist that tried a lot of things that didn't work.....no, we remember his success.

I actually am happy though, when I can get my team to live in the next segment of the Bell curve.  Being an Early Adopter is not as easy as it sounds.  A new idea comes out, let's even say that it is evidenced based by one of our good Innovator colleagues.  I would like for my team to be part of the 13.5% of the population of a given group that will actually go ahead, take a risk, and follow the evidence.

In healthcare it takes an inordinately long time for change in practice to occur.  I have seen examples of 10 years and more of best practices not being adopted in healthcare.  And yes, some health care providers have to stop practice before certain procedures will change.  It is hard to keep up.  Providers today would have to constantly read journals or have computer alerting systems to keep up on the current science.  For those that have to retrain in CPR or ACLS, they know that every 5 years, the American Heart Association is going to make an evidenced based change, and they just get prepared to make the change.  Everyone is sort of forced to become Early Adopters.   Rogers said that Early Adopters were RESPECTABLE.   If you are now trying to label your teams, here they are:

Early Majority folks are DELIBERATE.  They are just a little conservative and want to see others be successful before investing time or resources.

Late Majority people are SKEPTICAL.  About everything.  Enough said.

Laggards are TRADITIONAL.  16% of the population of any group hold onto the past.  They don't want to make a change even when the evidence says that new new way is better.  This one I don't understand.  When we all went to school, did we get the impression that history was going to stop with us, changes would not occur?

Using my best Jeff Foxworthy imitation, I'm going to give you a test...

  1. If you don't know how to turn on a computer, you may be a LAGGARD.
  2. If you think that you should not have to have any additional training for your job, you may be a LAGGARD.
  3. If you are asked if you tweet, and you make bird noises you may be a LAGGARD.
  4. If you have your neighbor's 12 year old add contacts to your phone, you may be a LAGGARD.
  5. If you are assigned to move a project forward at work and you make any of the following suggestions before making a decision, you may be a LAGGARD.
           A.  Re-run the data one more time.
           B.  Re-analyze the data data one more time.
           C.  Go on a site visit to see how someone else handles the situation.
If you have more laggardisms, please send them in comments!

So, what is the fix?  The fix is to have a Standard Planning Process.  Once your team members get accustomed to a lot of their questions being answered up front, they will be more comfortable with their followership.  Look at the tool located at:  https://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/root/vumc.php?site=intranet&doc=35158

Expect Resistance and go review my blog on Executing on Change.

There is value for your customers and pride for your team when you head toward the front of the pack.

No comments:

Post a Comment