Showing posts from April, 2014

Continuous improvement

The era of continuous improvement is dead.

First, it's impossible to improve continuously. As any runner knows, you can't PR every race. Real growth requires pushing boundaries, and that pursuit often ends in failure. "The more you hardwire a company on total quality management, [the more] it is going to hurt breakthrough innovation. The mindset that is needed, the capabilities that are needed, the metrics that are needed, the whole culture that is needed for discontinuous innovation, are fundamentally different." --Vijay Govindarajan in Forbes

Directness vs. tact

There was a recent Radiolab episode called “What’s Left When You’re Right?” in which two friends explore their opposite personalities. One friend, Soo, is radically direct, and the other friend, Lulu, is friendly and placating. When Soo intervenes with a violent storyteller they meet on a bike trip, Lulu admires Soo’s courage, saying, “She just knows how to stand up for things. She has so much hope... She is enraged by anyone who doesn’t live up to their potential. She has a true hope that, actually, we’re capable of better.” But Soo admits, “That’s a really utopian reading of such a crappy part of my personality… It’s alienating to me. Nobody wants to be around that person.” Tact sustains a relationship, Soo says, recalling an angry confrontation with her roommates that caused her to move out.

The truth falls somewhere in the middle; there are times when direct communication is required, there are times when tactful communication is required, and there are many, many times when direc…

Healthcare should focus on relationships

I attended Startup Weekend: Health a few weeks ago. “StartupWeekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managersand startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, buildproducts, and launch startups.” (In this case, the startup must be relevant to healthcare.)
I joined a team focused on changing negative patient behaviors (although we pivoted by the end of the competition), and one of my teammates told this story: "Behavioral change is really tough. You can tell people they need to eat better, exercise, stop smoking, but they keep coming back and they haven’t done any of it. Same story, patient after patient. A lot of doctors give up. They tell their patients exactly what to do, and they just don’t care. What’s the point?"