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October 30, 2014

Memorable SCN talks

Bottoms up! Using Positive Deviance to lead Culture ChangeWhen Michael Gardam visited SCNetwork in August, he talked about the benefits of taking a non-hierarchal approach to transforming workplace culture.

The Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the University Health Network worked with one of Toronto’s hospitals to prevent the spread of superbugs amongst staff by taking a positive deviance approach to incite change, rather than going top-down.

“Instead of crunching all the data and developing a sweeping, one-size-fits-all set of best practices, a positive deviance approach focuses only on the outliers — the best outcomes — and examines what is different about them,” wrote Liz Bernier in Canadian HR Reporter on the event.

Michael categorized workplace problems in to three different areas:

  1. Simple
  2. Complicated
  3. Complex

The superbug problem was a complex problem, requiring high-level engagement called front-line ownership.

“Front-line ownership is exactly what you think it is… the very people who are going to be most affected by this change are the ones who lead it,” Michael told us, adding that it differs from simply sharing best practices.

Front Line Ownership Sharing Best Practices
Winning practices are highly sensitive to the local context What worked there should work here. Variability is discouraged
Winning practices come from those who are “touching the problem” Winning practices come from experts
Practices are spread virally peer to peer Practices are spread in top down fashion
Sustained Often not sustained

- From Michael Gardam’s PowerPoint presentation

“You specifically don’t tell people (what) to do; you let them see it for themselves… What we’re looking for is ownership. You change because you want to change.” he said.

Is positive deviance right for every workplace?

Michael Clark doesn’t necessarily think so. Our fellow SCN member writes this follow up in Canadian HR Reporter:

“It is inevitable that we work in hierarchies — it is in our nature. So let’s take advantage of that and use the mechanisms within “positive hierarchies” that promote change, not hinder it: strategic intent, managerial accountability and effective managerial leadership… without strategic intent at the executive level, bottom-up change will peter out or, at best, live on in isolation.”

What do you think?

Leave your comment on our LinkedIn group here
Not an SCN member? Join the premier association of leaders for leaders here


Filed under: Uncategorized

Bottoms up! Using Positive Deviance to lead Culture ChangeWhen Michael Gardam visited SCNetwork in August, he talked about the benefits of taking a non-hierarchal approach to transforming workplace culture.

The Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the University Health Network worked with one of Toronto’s hospitals to prevent the spread of superbugs amongst staff by taking a positive deviance approach to incite change, rather than going top-down.

“Instead of crunching all the data and developing a sweeping, one-size-fits-all set of best practices, a positive deviance approach focuses only on the outliers — the best outcomes — and examines what is different about them,” wrote Liz Bernier in Canadian HR Reporter on the event.

Michael categorized workplace problems in to three different areas:

  1. Simple
  2. Complicated
  3. Complex

The superbug problem was a complex problem, requiring high-level engagement called front-line ownership.

“Front-line ownership is exactly what you think it is… the very people who are going to be most affected by this change are the ones who lead it,” Michael told us, adding that it differs from simply sharing best practices.

Front Line Ownership Sharing Best Practices
Winning practices are highly sensitive to the local context What worked there should work here. Variability is discouraged
Winning practices come from those who are “touching the problem” Winning practices come from experts
Practices are spread virally peer to peer Practices are spread in top down fashion
Sustained Often not sustained

- From Michael Gardam’s PowerPoint presentation

“You specifically don’t tell people (what) to do; you let them see it for themselves… What we’re looking for is ownership. You change because you want to change.” he said.

Is positive deviance right for every workplace?

Michael Clark doesn’t necessarily think so. Our fellow SCN member writes this follow up in Canadian HR Reporter:

“It is inevitable that we work in hierarchies — it is in our nature. So let’s take advantage of that and use the mechanisms within “positive hierarchies” that promote change, not hinder it: strategic intent, managerial accountability and effective managerial leadership… without strategic intent at the executive level, bottom-up change will peter out or, at best, live on in isolation.”

What do you think?

Leave your comment on our LinkedIn group here
Not an SCN member? Join the premier association of leaders for leaders here


Filed under: Uncategorized
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