If you’d asked me 6 months ago, 5 years ago or 10 years ago, I would have told you it was only a dream or a fantasy, but today we held the first Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Task Force meeting! Twenty people were in attendance, including representation from physicians, nursing, Memorial Health Foundation, Marketing, Administration, WIC, La Leche League, as well as unit directors and other leaders.
Since Baby-Friendly USA recommends a multidisciplinary team this turns out to be a good size group. The task force will meet together once per month. Each person has a different level of involvement, but everyone has daily, weekly and monthly tasks. These tasks are different, depending on each person’s level of involvement. Some people, for example, attend task force meetings as “fresh eyes consultants” or “expert consultants,” but may have little participation outside of the monthly task force meetings. These consultants help us all keep an eye on the bigger picture and notice the small details.
Ok, so you may be thinking, ‘if some people only have to come to task force meetings, how is it that everyone has daily tasks?’ Well, here’s the scoop. When we look at how things change in a unit, hospital, community or any other large group, we see that it only takes a few people to make a big change. Malcolm Gladwell calls this “The Law of the Few.” Applying this law to a contagious disease, we find that it only takes a few people to spread the disease to a large number of people. Applying this law to changing a unit or a hospital, we find that it only takes a few people to make meaningful change. But making an idea contagious takes some strategy. We need key people. These key people are called The Few.
The Few are not just people on the task force, but each task force member is part of the The Few. Anyone can be part of this group. Here’s what is required:
- Be a CONNECTOR: Simply spread the word to the people you know. Use the words “Baby-Friendly” everyday. More importantly, have your Baby-Friendly elevator speech ready.
- Be a MAVEN: Learn, share and learn some more. Be a passionate expert and spread your passion!
- Be a SALESPERSON: Convert the skeptics.
Not many people are all three of these. Usually within a group, there is a balance of each kind of person.
If you’re into YouTube videos of crazy college students explaining the world (I am!), here’s a 4½-minute video to help clear up these roles.
Now HOW does THAT apply to Baby-Friendly? Let me give you an example. My sister-in-law knows everyone. She has thousands of Facebook friends and a rich social life. She has worked in several hospitals and stays connected with people at each one. When she found out about blogtobabyfriendly, she got out her iPhone and laptop and began signing up her friends. That’s a Connector!
Before Christmas, I don’t think she had ever heard of Baby-Friendly, but ask her now and she’ll say something like this: “Baby-Friendly helps hospitals change things so that women are successful when they want to breastfeed. It helps parents bond and be more confident parents.” That’s an elevator speech! Delivered with passion and an ever-growing base of knowledge, she could be a Maven!
Now a Baby-Friendly Salesperson is a person who wants to hear people’s opposition and give people the information needed to become a believer. Salespeople are needed because nursing staff and physicians will have very real concerns along the journey to Baby-Friendly. A Salesperson takes time to address those concerns thoughtfully.
Which are you: Connector, Maven, Salesperson? If you’re a mom, doctor, nurse, from Memorial or somewhere in California, you can be part of The Few.