Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Focus on Agility

Business agility is a term that you hear frequently in business today that deals with being flexible and able to deal with the rapid changes in business and economy on a daily basis. We all recognize that healthcare is volatile, ambiguous, rapidly changing and evolving faster than we can keep up with. As cancer registrars we need to come to grips with the ambiguity of our business and develop a leadership agility that others can model individually and as part of our team.

While acceptance of this ambiguity or volatility used to be an optional trait of leaders, it is now an imperative requirement. Cancer registrars must be able to proactively anticipate changes as well as promote them and adopt them in an uncertain environment. Leaders not only need to be proactive but they also need to engage in planning for continued improvement, or even for restructuring if it is necessary.

With leader’s focus taken up with adjusting, planning and helping others to develop agility and tolerance, they often forget the value and importance of communication. It is very easy in the workplace to settle for email or voice messaging instead of taking the few minutes of extra time to speak to staff or peers personally.

However, studies have shown that it is this personal touch that is going to put leaders back on track and to give them the credibility they need to demonstrate their own agility and preparation for whatever comes their way. Cancer registrars are being watched by their staff, peers, physicians and administrators to see how they will cope, and how they will demonstrate their ability to deal with the changes in medicine and cancer reporting. To succeed as a leader you must first develop your own competency as an agile leader by being willing to shift and change how they approach and think about the work. It is not about doing more with less, it is all about finding new ways to work with the rest of the organization that will determine success. It is very important that the leader put aside their pride and personal interests in order to explore new ways to serve the organization and meet the demands of business.

By working to eliminate apathy and mediocrity, by defining the new work processes and expectations, by constantly exploring new ways to think and do your work, you will develop your agility competency as well as in those around you. By focusing on what you can do as a leader to help people become mentally agile you will develop a new construct and backbone for your organization that can transition their work and goals into value for the patient and organization.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reality Check

Many leaders are too sure of themselves and think that they know what is right for every situation or person on their team.  You may have observed a leader with this mindset as they have ignored reports and analyses and dismissed them as missing the point, or not "on the mark" in a particular situation or circumstance.  While in some situations leaders can still be successful while ignoring the facts, it is not recommended that this become their routine practice. 

As you lead people on your team in your workplace, community or social setting, take advantage of the different tools available to you and use them appropriately.  Never underestimate the value of solid data and hard research. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Look Below the Surface

Leaders will use vision not only for problem solving, but also to look beyond the obvious and understand people and their behaviors.  Bill Hybels said that, "Vision is the ability to see beneath the surface of people's lives." 

Most of us can pick out the obvious in one another.  For example, you may say to a friend that "She is gifted," or "He is so arrogant," and your friend might reply with "That is so true!"  Both of you would smile in agreement and maybe even marvel in your mutual observations and insights about others.  But, in reality, all you have done is make a remark (and maybe even an unkind remark) about something that is obvious in another person.  Visionary leaders will not settle for the obvious.  Instead they will look beneath the surface of that person and search for their uniqueness and goodness.  They will look at the heart of their character, their hopes and fears and identify what motivates that person's behavior. 

We need visionary leaders who treat others with kindness and respect and then match people to projects and tasks that are comparable to their skills and abilities.  Look beyond that person's faults or weaknesses and, instead, seek out their potential and draw it out.  Look beyond the obvious and see what is really going on inside that person and what can be drawn out and developed into something meaningful and of value.  It takes courage for a leader to see something in a person that no one else sees.  Be a visionary leader today!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Multitasking The Team

In general teams function very well when each member has a specific task to do or area of expertise and does nothing else.  But, as a leader, you will help your team grow and remain flexible by creating opportunities for multitasking.  Your team will function more efficiently and with less stress when they understand each other's work or responsibilities.  Set aside time for each team member to work with others on the team.  For example, have a follow-up clerk work side-by-side with the cancer conference coordinator, or have your abstracting staff spend a day with the quality control team member.  Multitasking in this manner will broaden the perceptions, enhance skill sets and promote cooperation and team spirit.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


"Flatter me, and I may not believe you.
Criticize me, and I may not like you.
Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.
Encourage me, and I will not forget you."

~William Arthur Ward