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1 September 2009 • 7:00 am

The Dance of Change

ballroom dance Pictures, Images and PhotosI’ve been thinking about how despite our better intentions, changing organizations is never predictable, and doesn’t perfectly fit into a nice theoretical model the way we wish it would.

As change agents, we frequently Dance in the Moment (a term I learned a few years ago in the CTI coaching program). While we work toward an envisioned future, we can only handle what is right in front of us, which is constantly shifting based on the reactions to the strategies we’re using to try to influence change.

If you think of the process of change as a dance, you realize it’s a partnership between two entities. Even if you haven’t taken ballroom dancing classes (or watched Dancing With the Stars), you probably know that each person in the duo has a specific role: leader and follower.

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17 June 2009 • 11:33 am

Talking about Strategy

An excellent predictor of the effectiveness of the change program in any organization is how that organization’s members talk about strategy. Leaders engaging in a change program tend to spend far more energy in developing their strategy than they do in ensuring that the message of strategy is effectively communicated throughout the organization. This isn’t surprising: talking about strategy doesn’t come naturally, but it is essential to the success of the change program.

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11 June 2009 • 6:22 pm

Required Reading in the White House

The New York Times reported this week that a recent New Yorker article on health care spending has become required reading in the White House, and that President Obama referred to the article in a briefing on health care reform with Democratic senators. The article, which is a lengthy but very worthwhile read, was written by Atul Gawande, who is both a staff writer for the New Yorker and general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Along with President Obama, I recommend this article to anyone interested in the likely changes to U.S. health care policy that is on the political horizon.

Gawande’s article follows his curiosity and research into regional disparities in health care spending; why some places spend far more (per Medicare enrollee, an approximation of overall spending) than others, without significant differences in overall public health or patient outcomes. His research focused on the town of McAllen, Texas, “the most expensive town in the most expensive country for health care in the world,” where annual Medicare spending per enrollee (in 2006) was around $15,000, almost twice the national average.

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