FoodGrads Book Club – Chapter 2 – SWITCH

Join graduate students from Northeastern University in a synchronized reading of SWITCH How to Change Things when Change is Hard, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

Related: Introducing the FoodGrads Book Club

Most, if not all jobs within the food industry play a role in food Reputation Quality, Safety, Defense, Security, and Authenticity.  At many times, the importance of leadership and the consequences of failure seem so huge!

This is why I believe that we all need to take moments to reflect on the #HerculeanEffort that is needed by individuals and teams, by companies and partnerships, by networks and by all stakeholders.

As with this entire series of blogs, we encourage everyone to read along with us and engage in discourse over the chapters week by week.  You can also participate even if you are not reading along. 

This week, we focus on Chapter 2.  Please feel free to jump in and comment on any or all of the questions and on others comments.

The authors cover finding the Bright Spots.  Each of us could benefit by also reflecting on Bright Spots what we can do, what we have achieved, and even why we are successful.

Q1: What are some bright spots in your job?  What can we learn from them?  How can we create more of those bright spots? 

The authors discuss Decision Paralysis.  Too many options can make us freeze in any process. This reminds me of the notion that with too many things to do around the house, not knowing where to start often results in no start at all.  Food executives I have worked with often discussed Decision Paralysis in relation to decisions they face.

Q2: What are examples of Decision Paralysis you have experienced at work or even as a consumer?

According to the authors, whenever we are trying to change something, Riders (leaders of change) often become mired in TBU analysis True But Useless.

Q3: What are some examples of TBUs you have encountered at work?

The authors give examples of a railroad made profitable, a town reborn, and child abusers reformed by being as clear as possible about how people should act. They point out: What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.

Q4: If a change you want to make (think about a personal or professional dilemma / solution) involves others, how can you script the critical moves for them?

Here are some of my Extended Thoughts: MIT Technology Review Senior Editor Antonio Regalado noted in his 2013 article The Data Made Me Do It that only 0.5 percent of all data is ever analyzed.  I certainly assume that this number has changed over the last five or six years, but how?  Has this percentage increased due to more focus on analytics in compliance or has it decreased due to more data collected? Is some of this True But Useless? Can some of this data be used to focus on Bright Spots, or can it contribute to Decision Paralysis?

I recently wrote about Blockchain in Quality Assurance Magazine.  Often described as being able to improve food reputation, Blockchain is heralded in industry messages as improving traceability and speeding up a recall. However, collection of data for use in reactive, or after-the-fact responses, does not prevent incidents from occurring in the first place.

Would some of this qualify as True But Useless if it does not actually serve its intended purpose? Food industry use of Blockchain must include a parallel focus on its use to predict and prevent failures before they become crises that harm consumers.

Q5: What are your thoughts?

Author: Dr. Darin Detwiler, LP.D., M.A.Ed., is the Assistant Dean at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. He is a professor of food regulatory policy, specializing in food safety, global economics of food and agriculture, Blockchain, and food authenticity.  Detwiler recently received the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Distinguished Service Award (Sponsored by Food Safety Magazine.)


Twitter: @DarinDetwiler

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