Keep it simple and get it done!

Posted by Kristin Baird on May 22nd, 2014 • 2 Comments »

A few weeks ago I was sitting on a plane waiting to take off. I looked out the window at the jetway where the gate checked luggage had been taken. I noticed a pneumatic tube carriage like the one I use at the bank to send my deposits to the teller. But in this case, there was no tube. Just the carriage tied to a hefty rope and dangling off the staircase attached to the jetway. The baggage carriers and gate attendant were raising and lowering the carriage containing their paperwork with a rope. My guess is that it makes it easier than having to run up and down the staircase with the paperwork. Or maybe the tube system was down. Either way, I got a kick out of they way they had devised a simple, if not primitive way to solve a problem. It also dawned on me that we often spend more time looking for, or engineering technology and complex processes for problems that could be resolved with some basic logic and simple tools.

It just so happened that I had spent that day coaching a nurse leader and walking with her on rounds. Like many of the organizations I encounter, hers is one is filled with leaders who think rounding is a great idea conceptually but have found a long list of reasons it doesn’t get done. This particular leader had told me that she couldn’t make rounds efficiently because she didn’t have a tablet and software to assist her in documenting rounds. Really? Let’s not over engineer this. I have many clients whose leaders make rounds and document on paper. Remember paper? They can accomplish great things by eliminating excuses and keeping the process simple. We cannot let absence of technology be an excuse or an obstacle for completing essential leadership actions like rounding. The action itself doesn’t require technology. Even the documentation of the task doesn’t require technology. It is nice to have in terms of tabulating the data and fast-tracking service recovery but it is not a deal breaker.

Here’s a few words of reassurance. Like the baggage handlers found with the pneumatic carriage on a rope; it is possible to think and solve problems with our head and hands. We don’t always need technology to get things done.


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Baird Consulting

2 Responses to “Keep it simple and get it done!”

  1. Tom Salerno says:

    I am sorry it’s more than keeping it simple . Rounding is a verb requiring response and action in real time ( emplasis on real time) or it will do more harm than good ( see the recent research) both in patient and employee engagement at least from a non- consultant perspective. Please help to spread the word amoug the 1000s of Healthcare consultants on LinkedIn .

    Thank You So Much.


    Tom Salerno
    CEO / President / Servant Leader
    Dignity Health, St Mary Medical Center

  2. Tom, Just to clarify, I agree wholeheartedly in the value of rounding with real time service recovery. It’s at the core of everything we teach and coach on. When I say keep it simple, I’m referring to the logs. The example I gave was with a manager who used the lack of technology as her excuse for not rounding. I work with so many organizations that don’t have the budget to add rounding software and tablets. They can, however, use a paper log and either pick up the phone or send an email to aid in service recovery. Yes rounding and the accompanying service recovery must be done in real time as you say. But beware of the excuses people create for NOT doing the right thing.

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