Tuesday, March 17, 2009

When Reform Harms

The client says, "We want to make this process better. We think we'll do this and that."

Although the attitude is commendable, it is jarring how often the so-called reform would actually make matters worse. The dangers are hidden, of course, in the unintended consequences but the analysis assumes there is only one significant consequence and that it is so beneficial that any negatives are left in the dust.

This is where experience comes in. The experienced person knows what can quickly go wrong. That battle-tested soul is aware of what to say and what to omit and possesses a refined taste for restraint.

This restraint does not rule out boldness. It simply recognizes that many of the greatest blunders are made by those who are trying to make things better.

A friend of mine recently mentioned that he asked a surgeon just what the medical maxim of "First, do no harm" means. The surgeon replied, "It means you have a respect for tissue."


Deron S. said...

This couldn't be more true than in the realm of healthcare reform. We all want the same thing: a lower cost, higher quality healthcare system. However, many of the solutions presented to date have been very superficial and some, potentially harmful.

Michael Wade said...


Agreement can be one of the most dangerous things in the workplace.