I’m not sure when it happened, but it seems like algorithms and “pathways” have overtaken healthcare. I’m not complaining; I love it. I’m a visual person, so when people explain processes to me, I tend to draw them as I’m listening or reviewing my notes. I’ve found that algorithms turn gray processes and care to black and white. They clarify exactly what everyone can and should do rather than leave that information in one person’s head. I frequently make – and revise – algorithms. They’re easy, artful, practical, and just plain smart work.
I make algorithms one of two ways – in Microsoft Visio or in Microsoft PowerPoint. You could also use Microsoft Publisher, but I prefer not to use it for algorithm creation simply because I know PowerPoint shortcuts and tools much better. Visio is intended to develop algorithms and pathways. It’s incredibly easy to use (especially if you know how to use PowerPoint or Publisher) and takes all the guesswork out of making straight lines and centering text. If you don’t have Visio but make a lot of algorithms (or are planning to do so), purchasing Visio is well worth the investment. No, Microsoft Visio is not paying me for this article; I just love Visio that much. I know, it’s geekily comical. I am unashamed.
If you don’t have Visio, you can still develop your algorithms in PowerPoint. It may take a little longer than Visio, but hey – it works. Open a blank file. You’ll only need to use one PowerPoint slide for this. Start adding your quadrilateral shapes, overlaid text boxes, and add in arrows. Capture or highlight all the items on the slide, group them, and then right-click to save the file as a picture to then insert into other documents. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
Do you use or create algorithms in your healthcare setting?
I just repainted several areas of my home. After seeing the finished product, I thought, “Wow, no one would ever know there’s a deep, rich gray underneath that new color.” My mind drifted to an art exhibit that showed, through some kind of imaging machine, how artists painted over their draft work to develop today’s masterpieces. “Huh…I never would have known that was under there…or even thought to look!” The very next day I had a conversation with a leader, and I learned a lot about her – some of her “shaping” and “refining” experiences (read: “painful”). I walked away thinking the same thing…”Huh, I would have never known that was under there.”
All leaders are amalgams of their past experiences. What’s incredibly interesting, though, is that all great leaders have some really painful experiences – moments that have defined their work as well as shifted their focuses – making them who they are and why they lead the way they do. It’s unfortunate that too few people really get to know their leaders and learn about those experiences. The great leaders are willing to share them. I assure you; they don’t want you to relive their past horror.
I hope you have the opportunity to have some of these discussions with the leaders around you. And, I hope you’re brave enough to share your leadership experiences with others in the process.
Leaders aren’t born. They’re made. Sometimes painfully.
Here’s a smidgen of what I’ve been reading (and watching) this week:
What have you been giving your attention to this week?
She stood like an empty statue
Flanked by a sea of broken spirits.
Her leadership poised,
Promising not to cry.
The thanks poured.
The memories flooded.
The tears rolled down.
The room floodgates blew open.
Her strength was never more prominent,
Her leadership never so brilliant,
Her care never so transparent.
Through liquid humility.
My reading and education mashup lists have been scarce lately, I know. Trust me, I’ve been reading, reading, reading; I just haven’t posted much with our bipolar summer – hectic at many moments and then waaaay laid back at other times. Here’s a little sample of what I’ve been perusing lately.
What about you? What are some readings that have caught your attention lately?
There are lots of things you cannot control in life and in work. Lots. It’s frustrating, I know. Those uncontrollable moments often impact the one thing we can control – ourselves. And when we don’t control ourselves, we look unprofessional or just downright silly. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there are instances when it’s important to let loose, and we’re all vulnerable, so showing so is precious – especially so for leaders.
This week, focus on what you can control. It just might move the needle on the things you once thought you can’t control.
Everything in business, which includes healthcare, comes down to people. Everything.
Have a product? Who makes it? People. Who buys it? People.
Have a service? Who does the service? People. Who need the service? People.
Despite this fundamental element, I’m constantly surprised when other – ahem, people – forget about the people – those who both do the service/make the goods as well as those who purchase and consume those services and goods. It’s astounding and, quite frankly, disgusting.
People are not widgets. Stop thinking of them that way. People need attention, they need someone to think about them in light of plans and ideas and circumstances, they need to be central to everything we think and do in the moment rather than the afterthought.
Why isn’t this essential concept as easy as breathing? How do you view people? How does your organization view people?