In This Issue
Kevin Johnson, FACHE
Mountain View Hospital
Bob Cash, FACHE
University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics
From the Regent's Desk|
Bob Cash, FACHE
Are we there yet?
Growing up in and around Utah, we took a few family vacations over the years. “As the story goes,” on one such trip from my childhood home of Pocatello, Idaho to the Lagoon amusement park in Farmington, Utah, one of our good childhood friends asked, seemingly every five minutes, “are we almost there yet?” I am sure that almost all of us have had the same or a similar experience either as the one asking or the one being asked “are we there yet?”
Years ago, I read a book by Forrest Carter titled The Education of Little Tree. This book is the story of a young Native American boy, raised mostly by his grandparents and then taken from those grandparents by authorities to live in a distant orphanage. As he is being driven to the orphanage he says something like: “If you don’t know where you are going, it is a long ways away." Our trip to Lagoon many years ago was really not that far from my current perspective, but our friend’s lack of experience and understanding caused him to think it was a long way away. (And with his asking every five minutes, it certainly felt that way.)
For many of us, the uncertainly in healthcare can cause us to feel we don’t know where we are going. And not knowing makes it feel a long ways away; perhaps for us, but more likely for those who work with us. I would recommend that we consider three practices to help our teams avoid the “are we there yet?” question:
- Plan where you are going. Knowing where we are going is critical to our teams in helping us to pace ourselves for the journey and to be able to look forward to the rewards of reaching the destination. Effective planning is a critical part of our roles as healthcare leaders.
- Share the plan, with key milestones – freely. Those who work with us need to know the plan and the critical milestones that will represent our progress towards the goals we set. Not knowing makes the “journey” seem longer.
- Understand and consider the perspective of team members. Recognize and take into consideration the variety of perspectives that exist in your organization. Some team members are “change pros”; they’ve been here before and know the “time and distance” but also know “we’ll get there.” Others are “change novices”; they don’t know where we are going, and not knowing can be scary. We may need different communication plans for our varying groups.
A trip to Lagoon can be a lot of fun; so can the journey if we are clear on the plan, learn to enjoy the sites along the way, and create explanations and experiences that consider the age and experience of those on the journey. Our journey to better healthcare can and will be a lot of fun as well as we plan, share, and enjoy the ride. I’ve got my seat belt on and my eyes on both the road and the sites along the way.
Bob Cash, FACHE
Utah Healthcare Executives Breakfast
April 27, 7:30 a.m.
Courtyard by Marriott, St. George