Do we have to be a mighty warrior to take on the “Goliaths” in our world? It turns out we don’t!

There are a few major messages in the David and Goliath story that most of us have never heard. In an amazing style of storytelling, Malcolm Gladwell  opens our minds to the real insights about David’s victory. Why do we think of David as the “underdog” and the unlikely winner? Did he have some unrealized assets in the game? Do we?

And what about Goliath? Were there some weaknesses there?

Take a look, and then we’ll give this a bit more inquiry:

Via:TED 1

When I watched the video, I thought about how many of us feel powerless to take on the big companies or systems we interact with. More and more, we accept being poorly treated in healthcare, transportation, and online commerce, because we think we are so small.  I love Mr. Gladwell’s point about discovering both our strengths, and the big guy’s weaknesses.

Remember, he mentions that often the very thing that makes a company a Goliath, leaves them vulnerable in some way.

Here are some examples that might be relevant to our everyday lives:

Some of you may know that I’m a dentist when I’m not writing for EWC,  and  I am very close to many of my patients.  We chit chat a lot about life’s ups and downs. In the last 5 years, I’ve begun to hear at least one dreadful story every day from people who have been treated like a number, and not a person, in a hospital or medical clinic.

Are clinics and hospitals too big, and we’re too powerless, to say “no” to that kind of care?

I don’t think so.

Image: a blue morning star flowerHere’s the weakness in such systems that we can all access;  the great competition that exists now across the healthcare industry. If you have a bad experience, you have the potential to be the “David” who Mr. Gladwell referred to. Healthcare facilities want no part of you spreading a negative word about them in the surrounding community. Furthermore, they just might welcome your feedback!

If you’ve had an experience in healthcare that left your confidence or humanity damaged, I suggest writing a very brief, personal letter (hand written is best) to the two people who might actually respond to you: the second and third in command at the institution. (And make sure each person sees that the other was cc’d.) You can almost always find out who to write to by looking online.

In my experience, a profoundly “nice”, but to-the-point note is sufficient to open the dialogue that will allow you to go into detail later. Busy people don’t read long tirades, so you need not bother writing one.

Here’s another tip that may help you get a response: No matter how angry or hurt you are, always assume the people you are writing to have good intentions. The benefit of your input will show, and greatly increase your chances of getting a positive resolution.  Remember: there is a basic goodness in most people who choose to go into healthcare. Connect with that goodness, and you will be helping everyone who interacts with that institution going forward.

Consider your last experience trying to get online help with a product that failed to meet the manufacturers promises. If you had a great experience, it’s probably because the business was well aware of your power on social media. Increasingly, corporations are tracking the public conversation about them on the web.

A close friend of mine works for a major airline, and tells me they have people who sit in a large room 24/7 in front of dozens of computer screens, monitoring for every mention of their business on social media. If something negative needs damage control, they join the conversation and carefully work to resolve the problem.

I don’t suggest blasting businesses online. A business can have one or two “bad eggs” on their team and you might have been the unlucky recipient of their bad customer service. Always give people the benefit of the doubt until they themselves erase all hope of a happy ending.

In that case, perhaps a fair mention of the company’s apathy on social media is warranted, and you’ll get someone’s attention from their efforts to monitor social media.

“Giants are not as strong and powerful as they seem.”  – Malcolm Gladwell

I’d like to close today by pointing you to a few fantastically insightful books by Malcolm Gladwell that I’ve read, and now my kids have read. In fact, my 16 year old son just finished Blink in the form of a book on tape, and commented that it was the best book he ever read! (I didn’t diminish the the power of his comment by mentioning that he hadn’t actually “read” it. Hhhhhh… the sigh of a parent.)

Here are four books of Malcolm Gladwell’s that open our eyes to so much going on around us. They are full of fabulous, fun insights in his wonderful storytelling style.  Blink,  The Tipping Point,  Outliers ,  What the Dog Saw are a few of Gladwell’s books.

Take a look at the description and reviews, and try one. I’ve found the insights from those 4 books have revealed new paths in the forest that I never even knew existed.

If you are smart, and interested in expanding the way you understand the world around us, you will love those books.

Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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Notes:

  1. Gladwell, Malcolm. “Malcolm Gladwell: The Unheard Story of David and Goliath.” YouTube. TED, 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziGD7vQOwl8>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.