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Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Governance Reform

Naniette Coleman's picture

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance” by Atul Gawande seems an unlikely place to find governance reform ideas and development inspiration but I found both therein last week.  The book was recommended by a dear colleague who knows of my interest in organizational change.   An accomplished non-fiction writer "Atul Gawande, a 2006 MacArthur Fellow, is a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.”    He tackles the “universal struggle to perform well” through the eyes of a surgeon.  Along the way we are introduced to countless examples of organizational seizure, organizational change and the people at the center of these operations. 

When There is Nothing to be Done, Perhaps It’s Time to Bring Out the Clowns

Naniette Coleman's picture

Imagine you are crossing the street in any major city.  The light turns red and you're instructed by a flashing light, perhaps a police officer, to halt and allow for the flow of car traffic.  Perhaps you look both ways, see nothing coming, and decide to walk anyway.  Your actions are acceptable in most areas of the world but the public response to your seemingly acceptable behavior is unique.  After landing on the other side of the road you are chased down by mimes, mocked mercilessly, people around you join in the mocking and hold up thumbs down signs while pointing out stars on the ground where pedestrians, like you, have died.  No this is not a nightmare or a flash mob, this is just one technique in your communication tool kit that can be used to engage the larger public in community behavior adjustments.  This particular public mocking/service campaign was the brainchild of the former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia.