1. Examine your own operations Look in the mirror. Your recommendations and suggestions are much more credible if your own operations are ultra-efficient and your house is clean. Make sure that your superior knows that your use of company funds are always beyond reproach and are used in an extremely frugal manner.
2. Get an outside perspective Enlist the help of outsiders. Consultants are not required. Others in similar positions with other hospitals may be in a position to offer suggestions on things they have witnessed about restructuring and changing your operations. Your local friends at other hospitals may be able to provide a quick-and-dirty assessment of your operations from their perspective. Be open to their feedback instead of defensive and offer to reciprocate for them, as well.
You can also ask your staff for their feedback. They are often a wealth of information for ways to improve efficiency or changes that may be needed. However, staff are often reluctant to offer critical evaluations even though they may be accurate, so it is important to create an atmosphere where every suggestion is evaluated and no retribution is made, or to simply create a “Suggestion Box” where comments can remain anonymous.
3. Think outside the box Just because you have always restricted yourself to a particular type of equipment, or job assignment does not mean that you cannot expand you talents. Look around. See what is being done poorly, and get involved. Look beyond your traditional job description.
4. Be ruthless If you cannot make the hard choices, someone else will be brought in who can. And as a result, you may become part of the problem instead of the solution. Make sure that you make your voice heard.
5. Eat or be eaten If you cannot deliver the results the bosses want, they will find someone who will. Avoid at all costs the need for your bosses to send in a “hired gun” to examine your operations. They always have to find something to justify for the cost.
6. Don’t have any sacred cows Long-time contracts, relationships and employees who are not productive in today’s environment should be closely scrutinized. It’s easy to get trapped in the, ‘that’s the way it always has been’ mentality. Desperate times call for desperate actions. Things that may have been sacred and untouchable in the past are fair game in today’s economy.
7. Prioritize friendships and associates Your loyalty ultimately must be to the organization. If you meet the needs of the organization, you can then take care of your employees, friends, and co-workers. People outside the organization should receive less of your attention than people inside the organization.
8. Collaborate Reach beyond internal boundaries. Just because certain responsibilities have traditionally fallen in the realm of certain departments doesn’t mean that they should remain there. Meet with others in your division or hospital to find ways that you can help each other help the organization. Be prepared to give up responsibilities if there are others that can do the job better than you.
9. Expand If you are already efficient in everything you do, your only way to improve is to expand your services. Find wasteful spending in other’s domains and offer your assistance.
10. Start with a clean sheet of paper Sometimes it is better to just throw out everything and start over — at least in the initial planning phase. Forget how it is, or how it has been, and design the optimum operation for the needs of today. Do not build your ‘ideal’ operation around any longtime employees, long-standing traditions, or old relationships, unless they fit into the ‘ideal’ design. Only after the ‘ideal’ design is completed, can you then try to see how the existing operation can be changed into the ‘ideal’ one.
Patrick K. Lynch, CBET, CCE is the Biomedical Support Specialist for GMI (Global Medical Imaging). He can be reached for questions/comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.