I cannot speak for you, but I know that in my hospital, there are challenges we cannot ever solve and actually if we do, it could be detrimental to our business. Learning about this third category to put problems in has made all the difference. (In interest of full disclosure, this is something we first heard Andy Stanley talk about.) There are problems within your hospital that do need to be solved, BUT there are also some that are actually tensions to manage.
The best example in our practice is the schedule. Sometimes, it can be a huge headache to serve our customers effectively while also maintaining sanity within our team. Ideally, we would love to have no more than a TPLO and one other surgery to do per day. This gives me time to do surgery and still be there for my family when I get home.
I could be so firm that there are no exceptions to this: “no matter what, we will never do more than two surgeries a day.” This is an option, but over time, it would affect the business. I know people get frustrated when we cannot accommodate them any quicker now. I can only imagine what it would be like if we were so rigid that there was no flexibility in our schedule. In fact, I DO know what would happen. We would stop getting as many calls, and our business would regress instead of grow.
What we know now and actually say out loud is that our schedule is always a tension to manage. A tension between being there for our customers and being there for our families. We can’t always be giving our best to our customers, or one day our families will no longer be there. But neither can we be so dogmatic with our schedule that we don’t serve our customers the way they need to be served either. My husband is having surgery the end of this month, and then the following week we are going on vacation. The TVSS team knows that for the next few weeks, we will be trying to accommodate as many surgeries as we can. Because of these upcoming events, sticking to our guideline of no more than two surgeries per day will not be possible-BUT that is okay. We now all understand this is a tension to be managed, and it won’t be like this forever.
There are many examples of this within our business. Our relationships with each other and our relationships with the support staff at the different hospitals are two others that we always identify as tensions to manage.
How do you know if you have a tension to be managed or a problem to solve?
Does the issue keep coming up even though you have addressed it?