Idaho Healthcare Association Annual Meeting

What a great, warm, friendly group!  I love the providers in Idaho.  This was my second time I got to speak to this group.  Last year I spoke on creating a unique culture within your facility/company.  This time it was about the ‘Leading Cause of Death’ of new leaders … monkeys.  It was a fun 60 minutes.  I really enjoy sharing the {monkey business} time management philosophy that completely saved my career.  And, I’m happy to speak to individual companies too.

I’m on my way home from Iowa & Nebraska.  I was there for a couple weeks to assist with the cultural integration of our organization with the acquisition of 9 facilities.  Our approach is not to come in and say ‘you will all be like us and do things the same way.’  Rather, we empower facility leaders to create their own goals, strategy, and vision.  It was a blast to see lights turn on in their faces as the realization hit them that they are more empowered than they have ever been in their careers.

We talk in terms of the three-legged stool: quality product or service, happy customers & employees, and financial stewardship.  Instead of ‘corporate’ people pulling puppet strings, we empower all of our local leaders to totally own their operation.  These guys will do great!

What I wasn’t prepared for was the staggering amount of corn!  Amazing.  Plus, the flooding of the Missouri River.  Crazy.  Some other great discoveries.  I truly loved the heartland.  Looking forward to coming back soon.  Great people.

Which is more complex?

Which is more complex?

One of the most stubborn paradigms we have to shatter as new leaders is illustrated above.  Which is more complex?  I admit it’s a bit of a trick question.  Almost everyone instinctively picks B.  But A is infinitely more complex.

Here’s what I mean …

With B you see relationships.  You could even possibly infer cause and effect depending on how those dots were organized and labeled.  As new leaders we tend to see the problems we deal with in isolation.  That’s how A is portrayed.  The trouble (and complexity) with A is that you don’t know relationships between dots/issues/problems/ideas/etc.  If you don’t know relationships, particularly cause/effect relationships how can you correctly prioritize and assign resources best?


During my Theory of Constraints and 6 sigma training by Dr. Tony LaTurner I learned a powerful way to visualize the problems or challenges an operation is experiencing.  Take ALL (I mean ALL) the things you wish were different about your operation and write them in short phrases onto index cards.  Then tape them up on a wall in the order of cause and effect with the cause being below the effect.  What is produced is the shape of a tree with the core problem or root cause at the bottom.  The research says that if you solve that core problem 70% of the other UDEs (undesirable effects) will be eliminated or reversed.


So, how are you allocating your resources?  That is essentially what you are paid to do as the Executive Director of a facility or like operation.  How much time do we spend on our most important, least urgent issues as opposed to the urgent, less important/strategic issues that fight for our attention?

What is your core problem?  Chances are that you’re not spending nearly enough time fixing it because all of the undesirable effects of it are drowning you.