How do you get people to do what you believe is the right thing to do?

Dave Burianek

Dave Burianek (BF '13, FL '07), director, quality improvement, health & wellness division, Humana Inc.

by Dave Burianek, Bingham Fellows Class of 2013 –

Have you ever had challenges with influencing others?  Co-workers, spouse, significant others, friends? How do you get people to do what you believe is the right thing to do?

As Quality Improvement Director at Humana, my team and I work to make things better for our customers.  Our focus is driving better care, better health for our members, lowering  costs, and making it simpler all along the way.  Simple task, right?  While we have received outstanding results by industry standard metrics, I am always looking for better ways to approach and drive improvement.

When a course in “Influencer Training” was offered as part of the Bingham Fellows program, it piqued my interest as a way to become a better change agent both personally and professionally.

The training provided real life examples of how individuals drove incredible results, such as changing an entire community’s personal hygiene behavior to eradicate the Guinea Worm disease (something that everyone should see!) in Africa. We also learned from competitive eater Don Lerman, what it took to change his own behavior to become a professional hot dog eating champion.  And yes, there was more!  In case study after case study we saw how individuals used the Influencer Model to change behavior. It gave us glimmers of hope as to how we could apply this new found skill.

Professionally, this training added a new dimension to quality improvement for me.  As a Six Sigma Quality Master Black Belt, I am pretty versed in change management, but this course helped connect more dots.  Many quality programs help you define your problem, give you tools to analyze situations and identify areas for improvement, but they typically don’t give you strategies on HOW to improve.  They don’t help you with the people side of the equation.  The Influencer Training filled that gap and brought additional perspectives and strategies on how to make those changes last.

As a member of the Bingham Fellows Class of 2013 with our topic of Developing a Smart Food Culture, whatever we ultimately decide to focus on, influencing others will be key to making our changes successful and lasting.  I look forward to sharing with my other Bingham Fellows class the strategies we learned and am excited to see how we can apply them!