“I blame the government. I blame insurance companies. I blame the hospital. I blame the patient.”
You know that physician. He is the victim of a thousand enemies. Each enemy is dumber but more powerful than he. If only he were in charge, things would be different.
Yet he won’t be in charge. He blames others for his problems, which prevents him from getting what he wants. He will never get it done. He may want something; however, there is a big difference between wanting something, and him working his butt off to get it.
Stay away from that physician. Reasoning with him will get you nowhere. Don’t give him your time.
It’s hard enough trying to change someone who doesn’t think there is a problem; it’s a losing game when you try to change someone who thinks everyone else is the problem.
Who should you focus on?
1. Focus on those seeking solutions.
You’re surrounded by colleagues who point out problems. They drone on about the problems, and the problem with the problems; this is not helpful. It’s a problem.
You already have a long to-do list of important things that you want to fix. A rehash of the known problems is a dead-end, circular effort.
Pick out the specific colleagues who not only understand the problems, but also offer ideas for solutions. Work with them.
2. Focus on those looking toward the future.
You have permission not to care about what happened back when there were different people, a different market, and a different setting. Yes, there is a history. No, things didn’t work out when you did this and they did that. However, things are different now. You are laying down a new path, not digging deeper into the old path.
One of the worst things you can do when trying to improve something is to focus on what got you there. It’s more effective to look to where you want to go.
History tells you that things need to change. Now change it with the future result, and not the past result, in mind.
3. Focus on those who appreciate the value of incremental improvement.
Change rarely occurs in giant leaps. Most improvements in throughput times, most increases in revenue, most of the solutions we drive create improvements in small steps.
This past May, one of my radiologist colleagues climbed Mount Everest. I asked him, “Why didn’t you just climb it in one step?” He assured me that it took him multiple purposeful, difficult steps. He’s the kind of guy I want to work with to improve radiology turn-around times.
Small improvements create significant improvements in overall morale and patient care. It creates a snowball effect; the kind of snowball effect where the rolling snowball gets bigger and better; not the snowball effect where big kids throw them at you because you wear glasses and are good in science.
4. Focus on those who can get things done.
It’s one thing to have great ideas for solutions; it’s entirely different taking those ideas and getting things done. You need to work with those who can accomplish goals.
You can have meetings and you can create action plans, but if nobody is doing the work, you are wasting your time. The value of an idea, a concept for improvement, is negligible compared to the value of that idea executed. Spend your time with those specific people who get things done.
Your time is limited. Stop wasting it with the wrong people. Start spending it with effective people.
Things You Can Do Now:
1. Stop attending a meeting where nothing gets done. Just cross it off of your schedule. In its place use the hour (or three) to get something done.
2. Stop answering emails from colleagues who think that everyone else is the problem. No matter what your response, you are the problem.
3. List the names of three people who get things done. Thank them. Schedule more time with them. Find out what you can do to help them. Be like them.
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