Slow Down to go Faster

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Ever since the time I passed out during a blood draw, I’m always a little more nervous and chatty than usual when I have to get blood work done. You can read about that experience in my first book, The Competitor in Me. Before a recent blood draw at the cancer center, and equally chatty phlebotomist (let’s call him Edward, in honor of the Twilight books) searched for my exact information on his PC. In a sea of patients he sees in a day, this is a critical step for any blood work, including at the cancer center.

Edward grumbled as he waited for the right screens to come up. More chatter. It turns out, it’s been a challenge to use his apps ever since he got his new PC. “They came in during the middle of my shift and switched out computers,” Edward said. I mentioned how that must have been difficult. “Yes. The worst of it was, my patients didn’t understand the delays and they weren’t happy. It was out of my hands, but I was the one who looked bad.”

It seems Edward never completely recovered from this change. What seemed like a simple switch with minimal impact is now a drag on this phlebotomist’s every day work. All day long. Productivity and likely morale is held back, all because of poor timing and preparation. It would be easy to see how more mistakes could be made in this unstable environment.

So many times, shortcuts to making change happen end up backfiring in the long run. Beyond strong sponsorship, beyond having a readiness and adoption plan, it’s important to remember the human element adoption. We humans are so dynamic, which gives your change a fighting chance, but also makes your change complicated.

Slow down to go faster is an old adage that will always ring true when leading change. Knowing you should take time do it right is the science of change, from methodologies like Prosci. This means creating a change plan that has the buy-in of your stakeholders. How slow you should go is the art of leading change, which often comes from your heart.

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Having sponsors and change leaders with heart will give your change the full consideration it needs for the people impacts of the change. This type of leader will listen for opportunities to adjust the pace of change as needed. And, they will be more flexible and be willing to adjust when things need to take a new direction.

Giving your change the time and leadership it needs will accelerate adoption in the long run. If you still don’t believe me, ask Edward.


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