Success and failure are often separated by the slimmest of margins. Sometimes you have to be prepared to think on your feet to out think unfavorable circumstances. Sometimes success hinges on how you present your idea. It is possible to force the circumstances via rapid evolution to pass from problem, to possible solution, to believable, to heroic? I believe so.
Permit me to illustrate with frozen chicken. Several hours before dinner I threw the frozen chicken breasts into the sink, choosing to thaw them with water instead of the microwave. Some twenty minutes later while checking emails I wondered what we were having for dinner. Not to be outdone by own inadequacies, I remembered we were having chicken. I remembered that we were having chicken because I remembered turning on the hot water. The only thing I couldn’t remember was turning off the hot water.
I raced to the kitchen. My memory was correct. Grabbing every towel I could find, I soaked up the puddles from the hardwood flooring, thinking while mopping about how I might answer to my wife if she happened to return to a kitchen that looked like the Land of Lakes. My first reaction, admittedly poor, was to tell her that I thought the countertop wasn’t level and that the only way to know for sure was to see which direction the water ran. Telling her the truth never entered my mind.
Once the major puddles had been removed, I worked on version two of the story, quickly arriving at a version of the truth that was more palatable—tell her I decided to wash all the towels. Why not get bonus points instead of getting in trouble? Version three looked even better. Since I was wiping the floor with the towels, instead of telling her I washed the towels, why not double the bonus points? I decided to wash the floor, and wash the towels. Husband of the year can’t be far off.
A few hours have passed. The floor is dry—and clean, the towels are neatly folded and back in the linen closet, and the chicken is on the grill. All the bases covered. A difficult and embarrassing situation turned into a positive by quick thinking.
A few of you have asked, let’s say we buy into what you are saying, how do you propose we turn around our EHR approach? All kidding aside, it comes down to presentation. Clearly you can’t walk into a room with a bunch of slides showing that your EHR investment was wasted. The first step involves defining the quantitative returns that can be achieved by changing the focus of EHR away from ARRA money and Washington, and focusing on the business problems EHR will address.
So, how did the dinner turn out? I was feeling confident that I had sidestepped to worst of it. Overconfident, as it turned out. My son hollered from the basement, “Dad, why is all this water down here?”