Recently I've been reading, learning, and thinking about teams and how they get their work done. I work in a complex healthcare organization that has many priorities, requirements (both legal and regulatory) and pressures to meet the steady flow of financial, talent management, operational and communication challenges. It is inherent in the industry. To top it all off, we care for some of the most fragile patients imaginable.
I've often joked over the years that working in a health system is like having a stove with only front burners stretching far to the left and far to the right. Everything is a priority! Everything is urgent! The work is SO important, that nothing can be considered a "back-burner" issue for fear of offending someone.
It is important to distinguish between issues that come up each day that require attention versus maintaining organizational focus on what is truly important. I'm not sure anyone is good at that yet.
Do you know what the most important priority is for your organization? I'm guessing it has little to do with the fire that needs to be put out in "department X" or the suddenly frantic cries about vacancies and the talent pipeline. Am I right?
Instead, I'm guessing you don't know the answer. How could you? If it hasn't been clarified, discussed, and some measure of consensus brought to bear (not necessarily unanimous agreement!) you would have no idea.
How About You
What are you going to do to ensure your organization can separate "urgent" from "important?" Is it your role to push this issue? Well...are you in leadership? If so, then yes! If not...then yes again! Driving accountability to make our institutions more effective is viewed as a positive regardless of job title. So I'll ask again...what are you going to do?
I'd love to hear from you.