Friday, March 25, 2011

The Matrix

Healthcare organizations are very complicated and there is a need for people to rely on each other in the best interest of the organization. Many organizations have a matrixed structure. I discussed this with David Ireland, the CEO of our Cardondelet Heart Institute and Ron Slepitzka, President of Avila University. Ron, a former football player shared an analogy about a football player running up the middle of the field towards - if certain players do not go into motion to block and allow the player to move through, it will be nearly an impossible task to magically run "through" thousands of pounds (of players).

David discussed the benefit of always having a lead person on a project or initiative with others supporting the lead. This project lead is not based on an organizational hierarchy. It goes back to a discussion I had a few weeks ago on co-creator vs. dependent and when each of us need to play a particular role.

The other key element is for the teams to know and understand the organization's priorities. Therefore, if I take the lead on a project and need support from 5 others, we all need to understand where my project falls on the priority list.

Think of an airline. There is a lead Pilot on each flight. The Air Traffic controllers and many others support the Pilot's effort to take off, fly and land safely. However, the Pilot needs to know what order they are in priority so the expectations are clear by all. And they usually let us know by telling us, "Folks, as you could see we have been waiting on the runway for some time now. Looks like we are 5th for take-off with an estimated 10 minute wait."

The matrix environment we have in many healthcare organizations encourages us to collaborate, leverage our knowledge, work together and communicate clearly with others impacted or involved. This pertains to communicating our organization's goals, key leaders on projects or over departments and prioritization of these goals.

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