Seth Godin, one of the world’s most successful bloggers and a long-standing best selling author, recently wrote a short blog titled Emergency Room Doctors, that I feel is particularly relevant for healthcare leaders across America and around the world.
In this short post about organizational focus and strategy, Godin made a great analogy that healthcare leaders can easily relate to:
“Emergency room doctors – it’s a mindset, not just a job. You can pitch them as hard as you like about having them work to persuade their patients to give up smoking (after all, it saves lives in the long run), but I think you’ll find that they’re a lot more interested in stopping the bleeding.”
Godin relates emergency room doctors to the people in an organization who zero in on the immediate and the urgent; he acknowledges how very important these people are, but wonders if some organizations have too many “emergency room doctors” and not enough “preventative care doctors.”
“If all we do is reward ‘fast first aid’ in what people do at work, is it any wonder we don’t have enough attention to the strategy and choices that would eliminate the need for all that running around in the first place?”
Based on my experience as a healthcare leader for nearly 40 years, I can relate to and completely agree with Godin’s analogy. While “emergency room doctors” – those people who focus on the urgent – are an absolutely essential part of any organization’s workforce, the “preventative care doctors” – people who think about long-term strategies and outcomes – are crucial to the overall success and longevity of any organization.
Godin offers excellent food for thought concerning the focus and mindset of the people in your organization. He concludes his post by saying, “It helps to know how prevalent the ‘emergency room’ culture is before you start training your people on a new long-term strategy.”
Great advice for any healthcare leader!
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