A Few Thoughts How We Can Better Shepherd The Change That Enables HealthTech
HealthTech is a huge opportunity in the Asian markets. Those opportunities exist whether we are talking about aging populations, emerging middle classes or populations, economically at the bottom of the pyramid living on less than a dollar a day. All these peoples deserve good health care and digital technology applications are increasingly facilitating or delivering this reality. As members of the global network of HealthTech innovators, we are daily faced with the need to sell this opportunity to skeptical unfamiliar stakeholders, and more specific opportunities. This requires changes in cultures, priorities, competencies, processes and measurement. Bringing this change to fruition requires a set of skills and competencies which are well documented, often attempted, but with room for improvement. Yes, I acknowledge there are many aspects as yet unproven but even there our ability to influence change will allow us to fail faster towards learning and eventual successes that will impact the quality of health of billions.
For we working daily to bring the promises of HealthTech to fruition, a question is continually how we can be more successful in our efforts to influence change. In my own change work over the years, there have been a number of practices which have proven successful but which I must continually revisit and also adapt in every change situation I am in a position to influence.
1. Take care of ourselves
Orchestrating change is a long term endeavor and very stressful. The first matter of change is to stay in the game so you can bring about the change you want. We all need to sleep, eat, exercise and relate better so we are resilient to withstand the stress, set backs, discouragement and rejection which are part of the change process itself.
2. Make it about the business
After caring for ourselves we have to care for what cares for us, the business. In business there is always a tension between today’s business which success we have evidence of, and tomorrow’s business which is yet unproven but which makes for sustainability. Sometimes in our rush to the future, we disrespect this tension. Its important to remember to quantify the new relevant and strategic business in our change efforts, or understand that we only have a hobby.
3. Pay attention to commitments
While taking of the business in a fashion that we assure our proposals strategically take care of the future, it’s important to understand that businesses are successful because of it and it’s member’s commitments. These commitments create an immunity to change, as studied by …. Note that organizations and its people are not so much resistant to change as they’re committed to the status quo and so understanding what current commitments our proposals are challenging is important in devising the discussions and proposals, processes, etc., necessary to making the risk of change acceptable.
4. Court your stakeholders
Now this process of understanding and evolving organizational commitments requires savvy engagement in a courting process which involves listening, empathizing, respecting stakeholders’ risked career capital and established committments, and then discovering and partnering in common cause though not always peacefully. I have learned the value of this courting finding that when I am not willing to do it, I damage my efforts and when I am sometimes the most ardent adversaries can end up being the credible supporters of the change in play. X even suggests that we should have coffee with our chief detractors weekly.
5. Disparage your innovation
In the courting process, you will learn, more than you like why your change is too risky, too expensive, too labor intensive, and often in first conception it truly is. As you have these conversations, learn to be as much a disparager as a champion of your change proposals. This approach allows you to take criticism as a gift to sharpen your proposal, not as a rejection. Your risk mitigation plans will be better. Your stakeholders will appreciate the respect of being listened to. Your projects will migrate from being yours to being ours.
6. Build a village
Cultivation of a village should be an outcome of your courting and disparaging. While leaders get credit, we all know that nothing significant occurs in an organization without the effort of villages (teams). As you cultivate your village, plan on having not only champions, financiers and supporters but also naysayers and detractors. These latter members will keep you sharp and when won over will be your most credible advocates.
7. Numbers for heads, and stories for hearts
Now for the final practice I have space for in this writing. So many good practices…so little space. What makes any culture, village or team cohesive are the stories and facts it coalesces around. We are trained and good at putting together the numbers and analysis that appeal to the logical faculties of stakeholders. We often forget to pay equal attention to the stories (of customer and competitors) that appeal to the emotional faculties of stakeholders. Here you have to consider how much you believe that humans make emotional decisions first, then look for logical evidence to support what they feel.
I hope you find these helpful. Looking forward to many discussions and even more persistent execution of these practices to accelerate our work in bring the promise to HealthTech to an increasing number of patient populations around the world.
About the Author:
Craig DeLarge is Head of Digital Acceleration, Emerging Markets at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. He is passionate about meaningful & purposeful careers that enhance life, health and relationships.
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