This weekend I watched the movie, Eye In The Sky, a modern wartime political thriller. The movie deals with the ethical and moral implications of eliminating terrorists through the use of drones, while minimizing collateral damage—their phrase not mine.
Most of the film involved what might best be described as a game of hot potato, as each of the people responsible for approving the strike order passed the buck to someone else in their chain of command. The drama centered on whether the bad guys would get away before the decision was made. The holdup in the decision process was because the drone’s camera showed that a young girl might be killed if the drone’s missile was fired.
I turned to my wife and remarked, “How cool would it be if Donald Trump walked into the mission planning room and taught everyone how to make a decision?”
When it comes to business, very few executives like to shake the trees. That is because gorillas are often found in trees. I tweeted last week that a woman had asked me to explain what I do. My reply was, “I am the guy who drags the elephant into the room.” Your room. And I like it. Gorillas and elephants.
One of the first things you learn in business school is to trust facts and only facts. Do your best to avoid deductions, and run away every time a hunch comes within ten feet of you. I tend to do the opposite. I rather enjoy doing a swan dive off a deductive highboard even if there is not a single drop of factual information in the pool. (I try to make the most out of being underestimated.)
In business, when a senior executive comes up with an insipid suggestion, the rules of decorum dictate that it be treated like Einstein’s theory of relativity. Sometimes there is no suggestion, there is only silence. People came knocking at the idea door only to find that there was nobody home. No ideas can be as detrimental as bad ideas.
When someone tells you, “We’ve got our arms around consumerism,” don’t believe half of it. Believe the other half.
Think back to the last important business meeting you attended. Sooner or later you realize that nothing that is being said is making sense.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
Sound familiar? When someone doesn’t know what to say almost anything will do.
I’ve been in many meetings on consumerism, access, experience and engagement. And when the most senior person in the room discovers that his or her organization as been missing in action on those issues, everyone knows it. That individual stands there like Captain Queeg, rolling ball bearings around in their palm and ranting about who stole the strawberries.
Today I spoke with a very knowledgeable, senior clinical executive at a very large and respected health system. I learned that the health system we were discussing had spent months researching and updating its website to reflect what people want from their healthcare provider.
After my call, I went to the website to see what their research told them people wanted from their healthcare provider. They must have concluded from their research that people really, really like the color blue. The aesthetics are nice. Aesthetics are usually the final task in design thinking—make sure it looks nice.
However, all of the tasks that take place prior to aesthetics involve making sure that people can actually do something on the website—your digital representation of your brick and mortar facility.
Since I was already at the site, and since I like blue, I decided to stick around for a while and give the website a test drive. I began with the Contact-us box. I wrote a very nice note. I received an immediate response; 500 Error. Check back with us later. I may not need a doctor later. There is a link for Donations and Pay Your Bill. Both of those links seemed to be working very well.
I clicked on Locations. They have a lot of locations. I tried Patients and Visitors. More blue. Lots of words. Nothing actionable if I were a first-time patient other than a link to share the page with a friend who also likes blue. I registered as a new user. A nice touch. But I did not receive a confirmation, nor did it come back with Hi Paul, what would you like to do next?. In fact, it did not come back with anything.
Consumerism 101: Patient Acquisition. Registering online does not have equal value to having someone do something; set up a profile. Do you want to add family members? Do you want to schedule an appointment? Do you need to speak with a clinician? Add your pharmacy information? List your doctors? Complete a health history?
This system is also in the process of centralizing its call centers. Since offering a seamless omnichannel experience is so important, the best advice I can offer them is to make sure that the carpeting in the new call center is blue.
BTW: I took the strawberries.