Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Could Do Better If...

Last week, I met with our Directors and Managers. It is amazing when I look around to many new faces and many people who have taken on a new or expanded role within the organization. On this day, we discussed the support they needed. One person brought up a challenge many of us face - how to prioritize things when you have fewer staff than you need, you have a lot of meetings and you still need to "get your work done". The conversation shifted to needed more staff, capital and other equipment. So we started to discuss how could we help each other while still helping our organization meet it's goals so we continue to sustain and expand our efforts.

After giving it more thought, we will continue to have this discussion on a regular basis. Ideally, we want to keep sparking those innovative ideas or ideas that frankly just simplify the way we do things. We want to continue to foster that ownership and entrepreneurial spirit.

On Thursday, I attended the Missouri Hospital Association's Annual conference. Richard Teerlink, the former CFO of Harley Davidson discussed how Harley went from a fledgling company to essentially one of the most existing motorcycles around. They focused on the "experience" of their customers. Obviously, the riders were the final customers but they bought their motorcycles through the dealers. Richard and the Harley executives focused on the dealer's experience and made sure their Engineers spent a significant amount of time with the riders to understand their experience. Through both avenues, the company found innovative things the dealers and riders were doing. Harley was able to shape the way they made the motorcycles through the continued engagement of dealers and riders. I enjoyed one of his quotes stating, "Create an operating environment allowing people to to great things on a daily basis." He went on to share that all employees needed a forums (e.g., department meetings, discussions with colleagues, one on one meeting with their manager) to say, "I could do better if..."

Another speaker stated that there is lots of opportunity out there. We will always need and ask for more staff and equipment but we can not wait. We need to do what we can today, tomorrow and next year with the resources we have and that includes coming up with new or simplified ways of doing this. Then align your daily efforts (both personally and professionally) with big goals and big dreams.

My takeaway was to make sure we continue to look for ways to work better together and challenge the way we do things now to make things better for the future. Fire up that entrepreneurial spirit. I look forward to hearing your innovative ideas and/or the ways you have simplified things you are doing.

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