How many times have we run into a challenge that we thought could be overcome if we simply had the right people and more money?
More staff and additional money may seem to be a barrier to solving problems – but is it really?
In my previous role as a long time corporate executive and business owner, I saw similar challenges between money and people play out many times. As a relative newcomer to long term care, I choose to let those corporate business experiences be my guide and learn from other industries (retail, fast food, hospitality, and technology). For example, when fast food identified declining workforce numbers as a problem, they searched for ways to become more efficient. They worked on streamlining the work of people. In contrast to our workforce challenges, when was the last time we looked beyond more people and money to create more efficient ways for delivering care? Example – how much time do staff spend walking around looking for supplies or transporting laundry? Could we give staff more time with residents by locating supplies closer to the bedside? Or, do we have licensed staff doing work that a volunteer could do – typing, filing, delivering mail, answering phones, etc.?
Through reframing the challenges into opportunities, we acknowledge that it’s not just about the number of people and amount of funds available rather a clear vision, laser like focus, building core competencies, and developing a common guiding passion that defines success. I would recognize that effective execution really does trump talent (and money). It’s about focusing on what I can control, not on what I can’t.
Reality check: it’s not enough to simply throw people and money at a problem. That rarely works and leaves little lasting value with the organization. If it did, why do we continue to hire outside consulting and labor pools? They come, we spend, and the same challenges come up again. Consultants and labor pools should are there to help fix things, not perpetuate the problem.
Experience has taught that the real answer is setting and communicating a clear vision, planning well, and executing plans with ongoing measurement. The ability to execute well defines our success (or lack of same) and creates a roadmap for our teams that has value for years to come.
In the absence of abundant talent, and cash, here are four tips to enhance our execution.
Clarify our Vision
Creating a clear vision for our organizations and communicating that vision will help set the tone for any major initiative. Remember the teaching “without vision, the people perish”? That has never been truer that today. Solidifying our vision confirms the “why” questions: Why are we doing this, and how will it impact those we serve?
Sharpen our Focus
Focus provides the clarity necessary to make decisions that support our most important plans and goals. It results in a clearly-defined pathway to success. A sharp focus answers the “what” question: What do we need to do to execute our plans?
Enhance our Competence
Competence is used here in the broadest sense of the term. It encompasses all the skills, systems, processes, and tools your team uses to achieve its goals. The result is the ability to commit to, measure and hit your targets. Building competence answers the “how” question: How will we execute our plans?
Ignite our Passion
Passion creates a sense of connectedness. It builds a connection between team members, to our human need for meaningful work, and each individual’s sense of value and contribution. Igniting passion answers the “impact” question and provides the platform for teams to perform at their very best.
With a clear vision, sharpened focus, enhancement of competence, and ability to ignite our passion we plant the seeds of success. We learn that while it would be nice to have more talent, and access to greater funding, ultimate success is defined by our ability to get the basics in place and win on a daily basis. We can control our own destiny.
Questions for you to ponder:
- In the absence of endless streams of talent and cash how can you improve your ability to execute plans and programs?
- How will these enhancements enhance your organization?
- What will be the measurable impact of renewed focus, and effective execution of plans and programs?
- How can you take what is learned and create a renewed foundation of stability and growth for all you serve?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Feel free to email us firstname.lastname@example.org.