Skip to main content

Do You Have A "Stop-Doing List?"

Of course ambitious organizations like yours have strategic plans loaded with things to do. But do you have an equally disciplined list of things you need to STOP doing?

You've emphasized process improvement and Lean manufacturing, downsizing and efficiency-seeking. You've told your physicians and nurses that to do otherwise places your organization at great risk. They might even buy it...until they stop to think about how administrative processes seem to grow at their own pace regardless, often with little (if any) evidence of added value or improved performance.

Mysteriously, processes originating in the boardroom or some walnut-paneled corner office escape scrutiny, as if the value is always self-evident.

What if you scrutinized your administrative decision-making processes with the same zeal you exhibit when talking "evidence-based medicine" with physicians? What value are those processes delivering? How can that value be realized with less work? What work is now unnecessary? That's your "stop-doing list."

Why not tell your leaders to spend an extra 5 hours a week with employees and/or customers? Give those leaders the explicit flexibility to decline another committee assignment if it takes away from that face-time. And to lessen the pressure, what if you applied Lean's focus on value to downsize your roster of committees and task forces from 'many' to 'few?'

What if your finance team was able to shave two weeks off the budgeting process, using fewer forms, fewer iterations and more coaching? That's four percent of a leader's year opened up for something more important. (And if you tell me there's NOTHING more important than a months-long budget process, show me where your strategic plan says that.)

Speaking of strategy, does your planning process focus on the "vital few" issues or the "trivial many?" Does your SWOT analysis have 15 of each? Pick two, work furiously on one. Repeat.

How many extra steps does it now take to hire someone? Is all that bureaucracy in place as a budget control or because you don't have the right people in leadership positions?

What reports do you demand just, well, because? You've laid off people for not contributing to organizational performance. Time to do the same with a few dozen time-wasting forms and reports. (And, no, moving your bloated roster of forms to your intranet is NOT what I'm talking about, unless you shed half of them along the way.)

What else might you shed? Start with these recommendations from Business Week.

Here's a free tip: cut in half the allowed time for every meeting. An all-day meeting becomes half-day. An hour becomes thirty minutes. 18 holes of golf become nine. Oh wait. That'll never happen.


Popular posts from this blog

Being Disrupted Ain't Fun. Deal With It.

Articles about disrupting healthcare, particularly those analogizing, say, Tesla's example with healthcare's current state, are frequently met with a chorus of (paraphrasing here) "Irrelevant! Cars are easy, healthcare is hard." You know, patients and doctors as examples of "information asymmetry" and all that. Well, let me ask you this: assuming you drive a car with a traditional internal combustion engine, how much do you know about the metallurgy in your car's engine block? I'll bet the answer is: virtually nothing. In fact it's probably less than you know about your own body's GI tract. Yet somehow, every day, us (allegedly) ignorant people buy and drive cars without help from a cadre of experts. Most of us do so and live happily ever after (at least until the warranty expires. Warranties...another thing healthcare could learn from Tesla.) Now, us free range dummies - impatient with information asymmetry - are storming healthcar…

Becoming Consumer Friendly In Five Easy Steps...Or Not

An article at offers hospitals 5 steps to becoming more consumer friendly.

If you still think there's a secret sauce to your hospital becoming more "consumer friendly," these 5 steps are as good a place to start as any.  Unfortunately, it's a little like that old Steve Martin comedy bit where he says he'll teach you how to be rich. The first step is to go find a million dollars.

Step 1 from the article is realizing that "...a Medicare beneficiary with chronic conditions is different from a young mom who brings her kids in for an annual check-up." This is market segmentation for beginners, and, yes, one size decidedly does not fit all. I'm sure your marketing team's been saying this for a while.

Steps 2-5: have a strategy, metrics, a champion and resources. OK. Hard to argue with any of those.

But those things, alone or together, won't overcome culture. They're important components to be sure, but insufficient without a …

My Take On Anthem-Cigna, Big Dumb Companies and the Executives Who Run Them

After last Friday's Appeals Court decision, Anthem's hostile takeover of, er, merger with Cigna has but a faint pulse. Good. Unplug the respirator. Cigna's figured it out but Anthem is like that late-late horror show where the corpse refuses to die. Meanwhile, 150 McKinsey consultants are on standby for post-merger "integration" support. I guess "no deal, no paycheck..." is powerfully motivating to keep the patient alive a while longer.

In court, Anthem argued that assembling a $54 billion behemoth is a necessary precondition to sparking all manner of wondrous innovations and delivering $2.4 billion in efficiencies. The basic argument appears to be "We need to double in size to grow a brain. And just imagine all those savings translating directly into lower premiums for employers and consumers." 

Stop. Read that paragraph again. Ignore the dubious "lower premiums" argument and focus on the deal's savings.

$2.4 billion saved from a p…