Recently, I was on Bradford Beach building a sandcastle with my two small children. While the end result was a small, but successful castle, it was the process that was so enjoyable and memorable.
But, as I looked around, I also saw parents that were leading their sandcastle building project so strongly (and efficiently) that they ruined the experience for their now crying kids. Even though they eventually finished their castle, it was a bad memory for everyone involved.
Unfortunately, I see the same thing sometimes with vacations, family reunions, weddings, and other events in our lives.
It got me thinking about the building projects, technology implementations, and other big projects that I’ve seen around the healthcare world.
In many cases, project managers have done such an amazing job of including everyone in the process and making it a positive, bonding experience. However, in other cases, the project leader was so focused on project goals, budgets, and timelines that the people involved were forgotten. Consequently people became disenfranchised, began withdrawing, and sometimes even sabotaged parts of the project. By the end, the project was completed, but people were hurt, angry, or had new jobs at other places.
So, what made the difference?
Hopefully you can remember the joy of a project that is accomplished as a true team. Take time for individuals (not just groups). Take time to explain yourself and your motivations. Take time to truly listen.
You will probably learn some great information or new perspectives, and in the worst case you will at least have a happy staff.
I know that budgets are tight in this economy. However, asking people to do more than they can do, with less than they need, and without a voice, is asking for a bigger crisis than your budget concerns.
I know it sounds easier said than done, but as the economy improves (and healthcare reform continues), you will find it harder and harder to find experienced staff in our industry. The shortages are returning, and if you forget about people, they will migrate to the leaders that listen while they lead.
Take some extra time. You won’t regret it.
About the Author: Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions. When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects. He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.