“Systems In Place”

I had never heard that phrase until I got to long-term care.  Gotta get your systems in place.  Do you have systems in place?  Huh?

Our admissions process is broken.
Collections are killing us.
Our falls have increased every month for the past 4 months.
Patient satisfaction for food is low.
Our census is struggling.  We’re not really marketing.

I’m not a naturally organized person.  In Myers Briggs terms, I’m an ENTP.  Much more of a dreamer/spontaneous preference than a structured/organized type.  So, when constantly pressed with the notion of having systems in place, I struggled to really get into it.  That difficulty caused me problems.

AND, when you combine a natural disinclination for structure with the ignorance of a rookie, my first facility was a disaster.

Or more accurately put, I was a disaster.

It wasn’t until my third facility when a certain light turned on.  Turns out to be one of the most important lights to turn on in my career.  How to get “systems in place.”

Of course, as you read on you’ll be tempted to think, “Really?  You didn’t know this?  This can’t be that big of a deal.”  Nevertheless, it has been a career changer for me.

Here’s how I can help get systems in place regardless of my experience or knowledge with the “system” or problem or poor outcome we’re trying to solve.

The system tool

With this framework, I now have a way to solve problems in a systematic way – in a way that will stay solved long-term – regardless of my lack of experience or knowledge.

This isn’t the be-all, end-all.  You have to dig deep to the core problem you’re trying to solve.  But, once it’s time to set the system in place, you have to have answers for each of the boxes above in order to do it.

In other words, the more answers you have for the boxes in the system framework above, the stronger in place your system becomes.

I don’t need to be an expert in every department in the facility to effectively run the facility.  I just need to think critically & satisfy the framework above by asking the experts in the facility questions until I’ve filled in the system framework.

I usually start from the bottom up, with the scoreboard.  Stephen Covey famously taught to “begin with the end in mind” and that’s spirit of this.  I begin with the outcome we need and who, how, and when we’ll measure and “scoreboard” it.  Then, we work our way up to fill it in together with your staff.

That’s it.  Hope it helps.

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