There is unanimous agreement that healthcare leaders are facing significantly
complex challenges today that all require solutions to be put into place
as quickly as possible. The identification of these solutions require
a sound decision-making process by the CEO, the Leadership Team, and the
Board. Although making these decisions might seem at times ominous, the
task can be made easier by focusing on the three “I's”
which result in effective decisions and sustainable outcomes.
The first “I” is to be INFORMED. Collecting and studying as
much current information and data as possible relating to the challenge
being addressed is the first and most important step in the decision-making
process. Many wrong decisions are being made by all components of the
health systems today, including physicians, because the recommendations
suggested to address the challenges are predicated on inadequate or inaccurate
data that has not been appropriately vetted. Boards are often supporting
such recommendations even while knowing that all their questions and concerns
have not been answered adequately. They vote positively because of the
trust they have in the CEO and Leadership Team and in the interest of
expediency. Unfortunately, in such cases, this trust is misplaced and
speed is not as valuable as it may seem at the time. Uninformed decision-making
is the driver of poor outcomes.
The second “I” is to be INTENTIONAL. Once the appropriate data
is collected, studied and discussed, the leadership team should be comfortable
being intentional in deciding what are the best actions to address the
challenges they are facing. The choice is usually either eliminating the
challenge completely, or minimizing them sufficiently that they are no
longer a significant barrier to their success. Intentionality and commitment
to an action requires ownership by all team members and is necessary to
be confident in the recommendations that are being presented to the Board
for their approval. Having an “intentional decision” is always
better than presenting a “maybe this will work” option. Remember,
if pathway chosen for the solution is not working, the journey can always
be halted 'intentionally' and a new pathway can be 'intentionally' devised.
The final “I” of course, in decision-making is to IMPLEMENT.
A solution or action plan that is not implemented is waste of time and
effort. Unfortunately, this critically important implementation step is
the one that is often lacking. We make this, perhaps surprising, observation
about the healthcare industry and it is the basis for our soon to be published
book entitled: "Know is Not Enough: Implementation is Key."
Our subtitle for this book is: The Roadmap to Successful Transformation.
This is really what it should be about for healthcare leadership today.
Needed transformative change is evident.The challenges facing the healthcare
industry today are enormous and will only get larger. Finding workable
solutions as quickly as possible is essential and is driven by a sound,
reasonable, simple and predictable decision-making process. Hopefully,
making sure the three “I’s” are part of this process
will make it easier and more successful to accomplish the work yet to be done.