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Riding the Curve


It really wasn’t that bad. Not nearly as rough as I predicted. And THAT is a damn good reminder about the nature of change. Planning for it, thinking about it, and worrying about it are the painful parts. Going though it is almost mechanical. And reflecting on it in the past tense is almost always a non-event [yawn].

One year ago, I left behind a 20-year journey through the twisty, beautiful and strange halls of Kaiser Permanente. It was where I found my calling, nurtured my passions, and made a difference in the world. Towards the end, I was on a plateau of doing/making really cool shit.  Those last few years were executed with a tried and true algorithm of cracking tough challenges into high-value solutions.

The truth is, I thought about a change as I approached the plateau, that place where you’re just leaving the curve of acceleration for THE peak –  but why screw around with THAT success?  Eventually the itch to see more – experience more –

Chris and Mike Surfing

My first attempt at catching a wave. My friend Mike Lin fell off and I am about to join him. But oh, what a feeling….

got the best of me, and so I accepted a challenge at the amazing Hopelab.  Those last few months at KP were hard.  Was I making the right choice? Could I repeat or recreate “cracking tough challenges”? Who would I be if not a Kaiser Permanente design leader?

The first few months at Hopelab were strange. It felt like I was on assignment from my old world – trecking to a new city, working with a client, and at some point down the road I’d be going home.  And every day my identity shifted a little here, a little there. A great week, followed by a tough day, then an amazing retreat, and an interpersonal bump, then a beautiful series of strolling meetings, a mini-set back, and a great leap forward.

One year later, I am riding the curve again. I don’t really know when it happened – 4 months, 8 months, 9 months? – but there was that gentle acceleration of thinking, contributing and making that feels like you’re catching a wave.

Yep, riding the curve and loving it.

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