Does ego get in the way of making change an imperative?

My friends who have nicknamed me Dr. Knowledge or the Voice of Reason have seen me on those rare moments when the synapses were firing on all cylinders. There are others who have seen me in my less than knowledgeable moments.

For instance. There was the time I took my three young children to the movies. Upon returning home we heard the calming sound of water flowing; only it wasn’t calming since our home was not built with a stream running through it. After looking in the basement and seeing water streaming through the ceiling, I called our builder’s hot-line. I was furious at them and so told the handyman as he looked at the exposed rafters.

Undaunted, and convinced that the pipes were fine, he proceeded to the first floor to source the leak. I saw water coming through the wall and ceiling of the conservatory and gave him another piece of my mind—something my mother had always cautioned against so as to ensure I still had some left in case I needed it. We headed upstairs, through a bedroom, into my son’s bathroom. By this time we were wading. The sink faucet was in the on position, the drain was in the closed position, and I was in no position to blame the builder.

I learned that my son had been doing a ‘speriment’ with the soap. He told me it was my fault he didn’t turn off the faucet before we left because I told him, “come down stairs right now.” He no longer does ‘speriments’ in the sink and most of the waviness in the wallboard has subsided.

I hate being wrong, especially in front of an audience. Once I have an opinion about something, the planet has to shift on its axis before I’m likely to reconsider. I’ve found that to be true with building strategy to support a business that is undergoing radical change, especially when people are asked to consider not doing something, or are asked to consider doing something differently. There’s way too much, “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” and, “That’s the way corporate told us to do it.” What in your strategy would benefit if someone considered doing something differently?

This week I met with an MD and former hospital CEO who told me he is writing the business strategy for a group of hospitals.  When I queried him about what difficulties he was encountering he mentioned that everyone from the board on down “just does not have a clue.”  (And you thought it was just me.)  The things for which he concluded they do not have a clue are legion, including:

  • they have a budget, not a plan
  • they have never discussed integrating an IT strategy with the business strategy–which is just as well as they do not have an IT strategy
  • the are ready to select a name-brand EHR vendor and to spend close to $100 million, but they did no due diligence as to which vendor to select–seems one of their execs knows one of the vendor’s execs
  • they have more duplicative business processes than Imelda has shoes
  • they are all fired up about moving to an ACO model, but have zero understanding of how an ACO model will fit their organization

One may be successful using this approach to run a lemonade stand.  My guess is that the strategy will require a little tweaking to get it to work for a hospital group.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Knowledge.


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