Pareto’s law is never more in evidence than in the process of leading a patient safety initiative. You remember Pareto’s Law - the 80/20 rule?
- 20% of your employees cause 80% of your headaches;
- 20% of the carpet in your house gets 80% of the wear;
- 20% of the clothes in your closet are worn 80% of the time.
In any successful change initiative, only about 20% of the work will be done by the organization’s leaders.
However, that small percentage of the total hours spent working on the initiative will account for 80% of the success of the project.
Leadership is the critical key. No leadership - no success.
Success depends then on leaders doing the right things the right way. This is the value of the LifeWings Leadership Development Institute. This workshop is where we teach leaders the science of culture change. It’s the “how-to” manual. Here, they learn exactly what steps must be done on Day 1, Day 10, Day 30, and Day 60 of the project - and all the days in between.
One of the questions that always comes up in the workshop is “Where should I spend my effort in persuading others this is the right thing to do?”
This is an important question. Leaders only have so much time to invest in the initiative. Where can they focus their persuasive power and energy to get the most effect? Get the answer to this question wrong and the chance of success is crippled.
The work leaders do when spreading the word about a culture-changing patient safety initiative is aimed at one of these four groups in the organization:
- Physicians and staff who are currently undecided - they may become champions, but are not yet;
- Critics - those that would speak ill of you and the project, and need to be converted;
- Friends and supporters - those that might have jumped on board. For the most part they are along for the ride, but will show real buy-in now and then;
- Fans - members of your tribe, supporters and insiders. They “get-it,” love what you are trying to accomplish, and rave about the possibilities.
Leaders intrinsically already know the truth: you can’t focus on all these groups at once.
Depending on who you are - your personality, your DNA, and your past experiences, you already have a “default position.” You will be drawn to work with one of the four groups. You will lean toward them without thinking.
Leaders that are a marketers at heart will be evangelical and focused on the “undecided” at all costs… they’d rather convert a new supporter than revisit an old one.
Other leaders want the comfort of already being surrounded by supporters and friends.
Most of us will automatically shy away from critics. Who needs the aggravation?
Before you invest any time and persuasive energy, run down the list above. How can you optimize the time and effort available for the project you truly care about? How much would the support of one of these groups be worth to your initiative’s success?
Here’s a hint: a new true fan is worth a thousand times as much as a slightly mollified critic.
It’s Pareto’s Law all over again. Twenty percent of the types of people in your organization will be responsible for 80% of your success.
Leaders, spend your valuable time and energy on them.