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October 16, 2019

Transformation! What it means and how to drive it

We are often asked to achieve objectives that seem unattainable, but many things are possible when we have the right skills and mindset.  At our October meeting, our expert panel taught us why we keep getting stuck in the same ruts, and how members at all levels of a company can create both personal and organizational transformation with some introspection and willingness to take risks. We also heard a great case study about Uber!

Opening Remarks and Housekeeping -   Taline Karasseferian, PMCQ Director

  • Thank you to all our partners for your generous support. 
  • Thank you to McCann for doing the creative for this event and Novartis for their sponsorship of the event.
  • Our next meeting is on November 19th and will feature EMR experts from EMREACH to tell us how electronic medical records are transforming clinical practice. Hope to see you there!

Introduction of speakers -   Ben Massingham, Moderator

The meeting featured a panel of speakers:

  • Shelley Brown: President of Bromelin HR Consulting
  • Sandra Reich: Clinical Director of The Montreal Center for Anxiety & Depression
  • Martin Gray: Manager of Public Policy at Uber Canada

What is Transformation and Which Skills Are Required? -   Shelley Brown

  • Transformation is different than change management:
    • Change management is usually a reaction to an external influence and is about how to get people on board with a change; a typical model: establish motivation for change > analyse the situation > plan the direction > implement the change > review the direction > make adjustments along the way.
    • Transformation is much more internal and is a reflection exercise in appreciating what has been achieved and learning from past lessons; it includes shifting any limiting beliefs, writing and tracking concrete goals, and developing confidence.
  • Your thrive zone  is where self-expression, fulfilment, prosperity and impact intersect.
  • The work environment matters for transformation, so an organization’s culture and climate are important considerations.
    • Electronic Arts (EA) is an example of a great work environment; by giving employees one hour per day just to come up with ideas, EA became a transformative company.
  • There are several generations currently in the workplace: Generation Z/Screenagers (entering the workforce), Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers.
    • A study by Deloitte showed that Generation X has the most transformative capabilities because millennials are currently more team-oriented and peer pressure is not conducive to transformation.
  • Skills we need to be transformative:
    • Critical thinking and problem solving
    • Collaboration across networks
    • Leading by influence, as opposed to direct authority
    • Agility and adaptability
    • Initiative and entrepreneurship
    • Effective oral and written communication
    • Assessing and analysing information
    • Curiosity, imagination and disruptive innovation
  • According to the Institute For the Future, by 2030, there will be a big shift in skills needed in the workplace due to increasing human–machine collaboration and co-dependence (fortunately, passion cannot be programmed, so the human aspect is still critical and technology will instead be used to reduce repetitive work):
    • Contextualized intelligence and nuanced understanding of culture, society, business, and people (i.e., taking experience and knowledge and putting it into the new context of what we have available to us from a technology perspective)
    • Entrepreneurial mindset
    • Personal brand cultivation
    • Automation literacy 
    • Computational sense making
  • How to make transformation happen:
    • Join or create a mastermind group.
    • Allow time for idea generation.
    • Have a vision, motivation, knowledge, goals, actions, and resources.
  • Considerations for managers:
    • Be a role model.
    • Build strong and committed teams.
    • Relentlessly pursue impact.
    • Give positive feedback, even when something fails, because failure is an important part of transformation.

Why Behavioural Change is Difficult -   Sandra Reich

  • The Rogue Monkey Experiment explains why “we’ve always done it this way” thinking is pervasive and how traditions can be detrimental to progress and transformation.
  • Key lessons for employers:
    • Let employees take risks.
    • Encourage open dialogue and collaboration.
    • Enforce protocols while also allowing employees to consider new ways of doing things.
  • Key lessons for employees:
    • Ask yourself if you are reaching for your stars or playing it safe.
    • Step outside of your comfort zone.
  • Most people (90%) never stray from their comfort zones; however, there is so much to be gained from being in the 10% that do challenge themselves, such as fearlessness, certainty, fulfilment, prosperity, confidence, dreams, lifestyle, security, etc.
    • Becoming part of the 10% is not easy, because of the crab phenomenon (i.e., when one crab tries to get out of the jar, the others pull it back in); it is important to choose your audience.
  • You can overcome your fears by changing the stories you tell yourself; change your self-talk to empowering messages, such as “I can do this” or something similar.
    • The answer to discomfort is not to avoid it — that’s how you develop anxiety!
    • Organizations should encourage employees to be uncomfortable.
  • Neuroplasticity is the hottest topic in neuropsychology; it was a Canadian in 1949 who said, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
    • We are not hardwired to be any way; our brains are malleable.
    • Ask yourself, what are the “neuronal pathways” of your company? What is the message?
    • “We’ve always done it this way” is a plastic belief; not a hardwired one.
  • How do we train our brains? Imagine the government told everyone we have to drive forward (not stop) on red lights. Is that learnable? Of course! How would you do it? You have to focus and use self-talk to remind yourself repeatedly. Challenge those automatic thoughts.
  • Success cannot be achieved without failure, so we better get comfortable with failure.
  • Typically, when people make a change, they go to extremes, like all of those people who join the gym in the New Year and go every day before burning out within two weeks. The magic is in the stretch, the mildly uncomfortable zone.
  • Adopt Tony Robbins’ three core beliefs:
    • The change must be made.
    • I must change it — others can coach me, but I’m responsible.
    • I can change it.
  • The sky is the limit! Go for it!

Case Study: How Uber Revolutionized Transportation -   Martin Gray

  • Uber’s story:
    • 10 years ago, a young entrepreneur from Calgary named Garrett Camp had trouble calling a cab while he was living in downtown San Francisco. Taxis often wouldn’t show. In response, he decided to call 5 different companies and took the first taxi to arrive. All of the companies learned he was a terrible customer and stopped returning his calls.
    • The iPhone had just been released and this experience gave him the idea of a ride-sharing app.
    • Originally, Uber was a niche high-end product that involved luxury cars that provided extra work for professional drivers.
    • Uber then launched UberX, the general ride-sharing service. That’s when things really changed, because the benefits of the service were extended broadly. Innovation is not just about new inventions; it’s also about making use of what we already have.
  • This month marked 5 years that Uber has been in Montreal. That’s an important reminder of the speed of change.
  • Uber actually was not the first company to come up with a ride-sharing service. When Uber found out about competitors, there was a crisis.
    • They chose to expand rapidly. They embraced the change rather than avoided it.
    • An important lesson for any business facing rapid change is that coming up with a good idea first isn’t always enough; the execution also matters.
  • To make an idea transformative, you have to have the best people, and they have to be set up for success and genuinely believe in what they are building.
  • Uber values ideas over hierarchy. An idea will always be heard on its merits. That has a big transformational effect.
  • Uber’s organizational design, structure and culture:
    • A decentralized decision-making process
    • Small teams
    • Teams that know the strategy and the markets
    • The ability to experiment and execute
    • When something new is learned, it is then shared more broadly
    • Teams get credit for innovation
    • All employees are required to lead one big bold bet as their goal and it is career limiting to not take one of these goals
  • Uber Eats started as a local experiment in LA when it became clear that smart phones would change food delivery the same way it affected taxis. The decision to run the experiment was made quite early when Uber saw it had a competitive advantage. Uber Eats was given its own business unit and dedicated team, which created a strong culture with a unified mission.
  • Uber is now trying to formalize the transformation process:
    • Initial ideas will go through a mini start up incubation process.
    • They have to pitch for funding internally.
    • A dedicated team is set up.
    • There are streamlined reporting structures to minimize bureaucracy.
    • The team needs to demonstrate the project’s sustainability.


Justine Garner
Freelance Medical Writer
Cell: 514.605.5109


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Supporting Care Partners

Virtual Meeting
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Online only!

Tel: (514) 486-3458
Fax: (514) 486-4794

Creative by GLG Communications
Printing courtesy of Data-Ad
AV courtesy of Pro-Staging
Digital courtesy of
Engage Presentations Inc.

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