• Aileen R. Leventon

For successful new year's resolutions start with a very concrete pilot.

It's January and my resolution to "watch my diet" after the wonderful indulgences of the holiday is failing. What am I doing wrong -- in addition to feeling discouraged? I'm trying to do too much right away. And I reached that conclusion in an unexpected place.

Recently I spoke to a nurse at a hospital where I was paying a visit to a family member. I noticed that the patient had misplaced his glasses, a common problem that hospital staff frequently addresses. I asked the nurse why some beds had caddies that held a patient’s glasses and other personal items and others did not. The solution seemed so easy since the caddy is a simple device that attaches to the bed rail.

The nurse said he had come up with an idea to buy 50 caddies for all the beds on the floor to address a well-defined problem: frustration among patients and their families with items falling out of reach and sometimes getting broken. He also mentioned that the hospital staff was frustrated spending time searching for items rather than focusing on patient care.

A proposal like the nurse's is a modest expenditure for the hospital, probably not even costing $250. The nurse told me that the suggestion for 50 caddies was rejected because if they were not used the idea could be an expensive mistake for the floor. For the 2000 bed hospital, $250 is not much; but each floor has to manage its own budget carefully.

To test support and prove out the idea, the floor manager willingly ordered 5 and the caddies were each placed on beds in different rooms. The nurse told me that if I requested a caddy for my family member it would help helpful; It would demonstrate the success and value of the idea. And the patient would be next in line to get one.

So word of mouth, simple ideas and creating demand can help a very small pilot succeed.

So what should I do next if my resolution is to "watch my diet'? I'll start by breaking down my resolution into smaller tasks - to pilot the resolutions that work and reject those that do not.

I'm going to start with the task "snack on roasted baby carrots instead of chips." Then I'll focus on a negative task. Stop buying chips.That should be easy since I'll ask my husband, who does the grocery shopping, to help me out.


copyright © 2020 by Aileen Leventon

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