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The Three "I's" of Decision Making

The Three "I's" of Decision Making

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.