By Dr. Liz Bywater, author, Slow Down to Speed Up: Lead, Succeed and Thrive in a 24/7 World!
How do today’s healthcare executives stay focused on the right things, productive in the face of immense pressure and competing demands, and proactive and strategic in the way they lead? It all starts with taking a pause.
In my work with executives across the healthcare universe, I advise leaders to step back from the daily busyness, to reflect on where they are today, and determine how they will lead the way to a brilliant tomorrow. As we round the bend on 2017, I’d advise you, too, to take a strategic pause as you lay the foundation for a thriving 2018. Pause, reflect, engage your team, and address the following:
1. HOW DID WE DO?
Did we demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges?
Did we develop creative solutions to the problems of the day?
Did we successfully drive toward a brighter future?
2. WHAT KIND OF FUTURE ARE WE GOING TO CREATE?
What does a resoundingly successful 2018 look like?
Where are we, and the industry, headed in 2018 and beyond?
Are we cultivating the right talent, leadership, culture, partnerships, strategy, and innovation to get ahead of the curve?
What can we anticipate in the political, economic, regulatory, and competitive landscape?
Which factors can we control?
Where can we influence, and where can we lead?
In which ways, large and small, must we be prepared to adapt?
3. WHAT ARE THE (REAL) PRIORITIES?
Get exceedingly clear on what’s important. Your longterm vision should drive the strategy, and your priorities will emerge from there. Each decision and action must move you closer to reaching your top goals. Strategic leadership requires that you avoid distractions and say no more often than you say yes. Invest your time, energy, and funding where they will have greatest impact—and let go of the rest.
4. WHERE DID THINGS GO WRONG?
Where and why did we fail?
What are the common denominators?
How will we avoid repeating the mistakes of the past?
Past mistakes can provide tremendous learning. While it’s unhealthy to stay mired in the past, it’s worse to disregard the lessons you can glean from failures. Engage your team, partners, and customers in the hard conversations about what went wrong and why. That kind of robust, candid dialogue is essential if you are to prevent regrettable repetitions—the kind of repetitive errors that create unwanted complications, wasted time, and serious costs.
5. HOW WILL WE REPLICATE SUCCESS?
Where and how have we been most successful?
How can we understand our achievements and then replicate and expand upon them?
Be sure to recognize the people who’ve created the most successful outcomes. Launch the new year with your strongest leaders and top performers sitting in the right roles. Put them in charge of your most promising projects, enlist them to mentor others, and bring them together to drive collaboration, innovation, and transformation. That’s the fastest way to extraordinary success in the new year.