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.