10 ways to screw up your breed health improvement strategy

It’s approaching midnight and I am reflecting on a great first day at the IPFD’s International Dog Health Workshop in Paris.

A long time ago, I developed a Cause and Effect Diagram with one of my clients on how to “create” badly managed change. We did it as part of a senior management workshop while planning the implementation steps for an improvement initiative. It came to mind tonight as I was thinking about some of the challenges different breeds face across the world as they try to develop and implement health improvement strategies. I ended up with a Top 10 list of “screw-ups”.

No doubt, you can think of a few more ways to ensure a breed improvement strategy initiative goes off the rails!

  1. Provide no evidence of the need for change (or create some “alternative facts” to justify the status quo)
  2. Define the solution before defining the problem (adopt evidence-free policy-making)
  3. Hold a mock consultation with those in the breed who will be affected (pretend to seek their views)
  4. Ignore the evidence presented by people in the breed, or specialists elsewhere, who have ideas to offer (because you know better)
  5. Shoot the messenger who brings you data to define the real problem (because that way it’s less likely other people will dare to dissent)
  6. Communicate several different and, preferably contradictory, reasons for needing an improvement strategy, over time (to obscure the lack of rationale for any change)
  7. Ignore any criticism of your plans and wait for the “fuss” to die down (because eventually, they will get used to your idea)
  8. Reassure people by telling them “change is always difficult” (patronising them always helps)
  9. Drag the implementation process out over as long a period as possible, preferably so that “more data” can be gathered (to create as much fear and uncertainty as possible)
  10. Go ahead and implement your (flawed) strategy and actions anyway (because you have the power to do whatever you want)

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