Miscues, Misrepresentation, Mistakes, and Adoption

“You know what? I’d be very happy to resign, because this is not fun. Yesterday I said I must have a blood pressure of 220 over 140 and I think I’m going to die of a heart attack. That’s how bad it is. Because seriously, you try to take the best decision given the data, with imperfect data, making sure that nobody makes a mistake in their analysis. I mean the accountability is horrific.”

That quote is from Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, volunteer (note!) co-chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. She receives regular requests for her to resign over the AstraZeneca rollout messaging involved. 

Have you taken a moment to think about what these jobs must be like? I do not envy the task of communicating under the pressure of life and death. But communicate they must. That means taking risks of getting it wrong, and we’ve seen plenty of that.

But there’s something amazing I’ve also observed. People are still listening! Yes, I realize some people have turned off and lost faith about the promise of vaccines, but most have hung in there and tracked through all of the missteps, pauses, and seemingly arbitrary switches in messaging. 
Skepticism? Yes. Definitely. But we are still seeking truth. We want answers.

When leaders blow it, to the extent they take accountability for their mistakes and give a glimpse into the challenges, they can win back support.

An important lesson for every leader of change. Embrace your errors, acknowledge your haters, and keep pointing the way forward.

Thoughtfully yours,