A couple months ago, Fast Company magazine published a list of the 25 Smartest Women on Twitter, which stirred up some controversy and important conversation. One woman included in the list was Rosabeth Moss Kanter, @RosabethKanter. Ms. Kanter is a professor at the Harvard Business School. She was included in the list because her “tweets consist of inspiring thoughts and articles on how to succeed in business and become a better leader.”
I started to follow Ms. Kanter and enjoy her tweets about leadership. They are a welcome interruption in my twitter feed from the nearly exclusive health care leaders and journalists that I follow.
Ms. Kanter often shares pearls of wisdom she refers to as “Kanter’s Law”—truths about leadership and success that she has learned over her many years of experience. Last month she shared one that resonated particularly deeply with me (modified from Twitter-speak for readability): "Kanter's Law: Everything looks like a failure in the middle. Especially if it is new or different. It takes leadership courage to persevere.” She may not have been talking directly about the implementation of major changes to our health care system, but I certainly read it through that lens.
Change is hard. Change is risky. Change is exhausting. But, change is really our only option. Not just because change is inevitable, but also because WE NEED CHANGE IN OUR CURRENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. People are suffering. Our health disparities are unacceptable. We are not getting enough value out of the health care dollars we are spending. And, the status quo is unsustainable.
The recent Colorado Health Access Survey describes our challenges through the real experiences of Coloradans with our health care system:
- 741,000 Coloradans are without health insurance and an additional 720,000 are underinsured
- 17% of Coloradans don’t identify as having a place they usually go when they are sick or need health advice (a usual source of care)
- 377,000 Coloradans need mental health care or counseling services but did not get them in the last 12 months
- 937,000 Coloradans had problems paying or were unable to pay medical bills
So, for those of us who have the opportunity to provide the “leadership courage to persevere,” we must keep working. We must learn from our mistakes, double down on efforts that are working, and above all, keep the focus on the goal—to improve the health of Coloradans living in every community in our state.
I will leave you with another bit of sage advice from Ms. Kanter, "There are problems and always will be. But as long as people populate the earth, we can solve them.”