By Jann Ahern, Executive Director South Shore VNA
Leading a home care agency in today’s changing healthcare environment is challenging to say the least! We must daily juggle the needs of patients, families, employees, referral sources, insurance companies, and regulatory agencies. With only so many hours on in a day, we jump to the operational solution that is the quickest or most obvious. Many times we are right, but some of the solutions we put in place are not always implemented effectively and are not sustained. Why?
In our rush to solve a problem so that we can move on to the next one, we often neglect some important fact finding. Experience shows us that there is no better way to get to the root of a problem than to go see for yourself what is actually happening. You need to ask – in person – of the people who do the work or who benefit from the work: what works and what does not. And then you need to go that next step: respectfully ask how they would do it better.
For a leader, this can be an eye-opening experience. What you may believe is working effectively and efficiently is often bogged down in work- arounds to an ineffective process. The best solutions can come from the people who are actually doing the work or from people who are the recipient of your product/care. Asking them why, rather than what forces people to think deep and to get to the root of an issue or problem
An added plus: buy in and adherence to a change can be more easily achieved if the people who do the work or who benefit from the work were the initiators of the solution. It is a win for your entire organization.
To all good leaders and managers, I say: get out of the office and go see what the issue is. And respectfully ask the powerful question: “why?”