I met last week with a number of 1st Year MBA students who have a consulting club to help them figure out if they are suited for this noblest of all professions–supposedly the second oldest profession. “How can you tell if you’ll be any good at it?” They asked.
As far as I can tell, there are two basic requirements. One, you have to be a bit out of kilter, a strong dose of ADHD doesn’t hurt either. You have to hate repetition. Second, it helps if you have a belief that there is almost nothing you couldn’t figure out how to improve. While thinking it doesn’t make it true, the attitude is a critical success factor. It will also require being rather thick-skinned as some clients will require you to yell “unclean, unclean” as you walk their halls.
For example, last week I was at the post office. Noon on the Wednesday before the holiday–lunch time rush hour. I’m standing in a long line underneath a banner with a message emphasizing quality.
There are two clerks, postmen, postpersons, postladies–I’m not sure which one is most appropriate, but as we both know, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it either. The line is out the door. Clerk ‘A’ tells clerk ‘B’, “I’m going on break.” At which point I turned to the person next to me and uttered, “And I’m going to UPS.” It’s not that difficult to improve. Not letting half of your customer-facing employees go on break during your busiest time would be a good way to start to improve things.
It’s not rocket surgery. The title of the piece is not a typo. Patients really do experience management, at least they experience many of their ill-conceived processes and rules. Patient Experience Management, Patient Equity Management. Whatever you call it, big inroads can be made. Quit thinking like an executive and start thinking like a patient and you’ll have plenty of ideas.