Epidemic Leadership: How to Lead Infectiously in the Era of Big Problems

Epidemic Leadership: How to Lead Infectiously in the Era of Big Problems

by Larry McEvoy
Epidemic Leadership: How to Lead Infectiously in the Era of Big Problems

Epidemic Leadership: How to Lead Infectiously in the Era of Big Problems

by Larry McEvoy


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A science-based leadership framework for building capacity and overcoming exhaustion in today’s complex world 

Epidemic Leadership introduces an adaptive leadership approach designed to help you (and your followers) thrive and influence in today’s complex age. This book provides a how-to methodology for simply and practically putting the principles of epidemic phenomena into successful practice. By understanding their function in adaptive systems and applying their organizing principles to daily work, you can lead more effectively for greater results, more agile responsiveness, and deeper vitality.

Epidemic Leadership synthesizes science, stories of leadership experience, and practical technique to shape the challenge of “leading in complex environments” into a compelling field guide for leaders who seek to improve results and contribute to a healthier world. You will be inspired, challenged, and practically equipped to begin a journey toward exponential positive impact in this pivotal era.  

  • Discover a novel leadership approach that’s particularly applicable to tackling the big problems in your workplace and world  
  • Realize better performance and enhance your ability to create results sooner and more sustainably, across a wider array of processes and topics  
  • Restore vitality in yourself and those you lead, for renewed hope, enthusiasm and engagement 

Companies and institutions will benefit from the deep capacities Epidemic Leadership builds. For leaders who struggle to find enough time and energy to create the impact they seek, this book offers a unique path for our challenging times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119787457
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 08/31/2021
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,113,021
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

LARRY MCEVOY is an emergency physician, executive, entrepreneur, and innovator. He is the founder of Epidemic Leadership, where he focuses on the executive work of creating organizations of exponential performance, adaptivity, and vigor. From 2008 to 2012, McEvoy served as the CEO of Memorial Health System in Colorado Springs, CO. He completed his training in emergency medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center and graduated from Stanford Medical School. When he is not working with leaders to create positive epidemics, he can be found, or difficult to find, roaming the wild lands of his Montana homeland.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Part One Understanding Epidemics 1

1 My No Good, Very Bad Night in the Emergency Department 3

Friday Night in the Emergency Department 3

August 15, 2003, Billings, Montana 3

The Problem That Won’t Go Away 8

Sleep-Deprived Insight 11

Notes 13

2 The Good Epidemic—Really? 15

Good People, Bad Disease 15

The Epidemic Inevitable 17

Negative to Positive 23

Epidemics Spread Exponentially 24

Epidemics Tap Local Resources 25

Epidemics Are Adaptive: They Flourish Against Resistance and Surprise 26

Epidemics Organize Themselves 26

Epidemics Have “Distributed Intelligence” 27

Epidemics Flower in Instability and Disruption 27

Epidemics Offer a Vaccine Against Narcissism (Unless They’re Traffickers of It) 28

Seeking the Good Disease 29

Notes 30

3 Swarming Simplicity 33 How Do They Do It? 33

The Challenge of Complexity 36

It’s Not Just Complicated 37

The Power of Simplicity 40

The Miracle of Self-Organization 40

Popping Up When We Least Expect It 41

Is Complexity a New “Thing”? 42

What Does Leading Look Like in Complexity? 43

Biology’s Answer to Leading: PLV 46

How Are Epidemics and Leaders Doing in Complexity? 48

How Leaders Do in Complexity 49

Epidemics Invite a New Framework 50

Key Questions for Leaders 51

The Math Problem Leaders Face 52

Notes 54

4 Something from Nothing 57

In the Shade of the Mango Tree 57

March, 2018, Masese Town, Jinja District, Uganda 57

Miracle Parts 60

How Do They Do It? 60

Part 1: The Pathogen 61

Part 2: Infection 63

Part 3: Contagion 65

From Simple Parts to Organizing Principles 67

Epidemics Require “Originating Conditions” 69

Epidemics Require “Defined Interaction” 70

Epidemics Require Multipliers 72

Epidemics Move Through Networks, a Particularly Powerful Multiplier 73

The Mango Tree, a Year Later 76

Part Two Creating Epidemics 77

5 The Potential Power of Pathogen 79

An Idea Core with Attracting Hooks 79

The SAND Pneumonic 84

A = Attractive Antigens 85

N = Novel 87

D = Dual Interest 87

Naming the HELP Pathogen 89

Notes 91

6 Creating Conditions 93

Spaces, Containers, and Fields 94

A Man and a Horse 96

The Gravity of Conditions 100

Thinking Conditions: Growth Mindset and Polarity Thinking 103

Spatial Conditions: Creating Space and Container 109

Physiological Conditions: Setting the Stage for Relatedness 114

Notes 125

7 Designing Interaction 127

The Power of Cellular Processes 127

Principles of Infectious and Contagious Interaction Design 135

ACE Interaction 136

A = Affirmation/Appreciation 137

C = Curiosity 139

E = Empathy 140

Create Past-Future Reflection-Action Loops 141

Short-Simple-Small (S3) 143

Go Novel 144

From Principles to Patterns 145

How Leaders Build Interaction Rules 150

Notes 154

8 Multipliers 159

The Value of Many 159

Different Kinds of Social Pathogens 162

Resistance Is Everywhere 163

Building Multipliers 164

Easy Addition 164

Broadcasting and Storytelling 167

Mix Numbers and Times 169

Loop Backs to Loop Forward 177

How Leaders Leverage Multipliers 178

Notes 181

9 Networks: The Ultimate Multiplier 183

Network Implications for Epidemics 188

Networks Have Structure, Called Topology 189

Network Content Counts 191

Networks Have Interaction Rules between Nodes via Connections 192

Nodes Count, Too! 192

Help That Can Hurt : How Networks Influence Contagion 193

Leveraging Networks to Facilitate Contagion 196

Map, Model, and Move 197

Get People Off Narrow Bridges and Onto New Islands 198

Make Homophily Happen 199

Killer App: The 3D Network 202

Notes 203

10 Technology and Epidemics 205

Technology Risks to Positive Epidemics 208

Disinformation 208

Diminished Attention 209

Degraded Relatedness 209

Anti-emergence 210

Leveraging Technology to Support Epidemic Action 211

Inviting, Broadcasting, and Convening 211

Mixing Things Up 212

Designing Interaction 213

Mapping, Modeling, and Learning 214

Notes 215

11 Toward Positive Pestilence 217

Foundational Shifts from Leaders 222

Collective Intelligence 222

Linking Homophily and Diversity 224

More Biophilia 225

Epidemic Leadership as a Platform 225

Notes 226

Acknowledgments 229

About the Author 231

Index 233

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