Great execution starts with clarity of purpose and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Without a carefully planned approach, organizational goals cannot be attained. It is better to have mediocre goals and great execution than great goals and mediocre execution. The bottom line is that great execution improves an organization’s operational efficiency and lowers its costs. Since execution is essential to success, especially during a recession, have you and your organization developed a disciplined approach to it? Do you spend time developing and perfecting processes that will help achieve desired outcomes? Have you seen good plans gone awry because of substandard execution efforts?
Harness the Power of Curiosity
To thrive in this recession, leaders of EMS agencies must possess an intense curiosity that leads to consistently asking piercing questions about their current reality and future possibilities. Leaders who relentlessly ask questions create opportunities to turn unrealized potential into results. Curiosity allows people to bring flexibility and improvement to policies, procedures and practices that are stale and rigid, and it brings structure to the type of chaos created by declining financial resources.
Curiosity helps create a culture that motivates people to ask “what if” and “why not” questions, and it promotes a climate of “let’s try it” experimentation to inspire innovation. Curiosity is not just a way to harvest ideas; it’s also a process of involving people, and it encourages them to take responsibility for shaping their ideas. It’s a great method to inspire people to not just voice problems, but also to figure out solutions.
To practice the discipline of curiosity, you must keep an open mind. You must be open to learning, unlearning and relearning. If there are long-standing ideals you believe might be wrong, be prepared to accept this possibility and change your mind. Since the mind is like a muscle that becomes stronger through exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.
Intellectual and organizational curiosity is essential in today’s world. Financial challenges associated with this recession require EMS organizations to constantly troll for fresh ideas and unfiltered knowledge from sources close to the work. Front-line personnel might have powerful answers to questions not yet asked, such as, “How can we control waste?” and “What type of cost-saving measures would you suggest?” Do you relentlessly pose questions to your staff? Do you have an intense desire to be curious, to dig deep into the underlying issues that rarely get solved? Are you ready to look below appearances and be open to what you might find? How many great ideas have been lost to a lack of curiosity?
Pursue Relentless Renewal
To succeed in this new reality, individuals and organizations must be able to deal quickly and resolutely with change. Declining financial resources and increasing market demands, such as bariatric transport needs, require EMS leaders and their agencies to renew, reinvent and continually transform themselves. For this to occur, knowledge is the most critical asset. The process of gathering knowledge and learning when and how to renovate can’t be relegated to specific locations or circumstances. Instead, learning and sharing knowledge must happen on an ongoing basis.
In every EMS organization, there is an enormous amount of wasted knowledge. An EMT who works in a senior center or care home every day collects a lot of information about those customers. He learns things that even employees in those facilities don’t know. Some of that information and insight about these customers’ needs could be useful to leaders of their EMS agencies, but often it is lost because the EMT doesn’t recognize its value or is unable to get the information to the people who can use it. Individuals and organizations need to understand that gathering and sharing knowledge is critical if they are to recognize changes in the environment and respond appropriately. Responding appropriately may involve revamping services or altering the deployment of resources.
Responding effectively to change requires individuals and their agencies to be avid learners. Innovations remain unique and cutting-edge for a nanosecond, then are superceded by something newer or better. The challenge for us as leaders, therefore, is to design and build organizations where everything gets better and everybody gets smarter every day. Voracious learning that leads to relentless renewal is a key to sustained success in unfavorable conditions.