I am writing this insight while sitting in the comfort of my own home. My setting is quiet and bright and composed of all of the things I need to work effectively. Where I am sitting has the creature comforts and open space that I use to help keep my mind focused and sharp. But more than anything, my environment has everything that I might need for the day within easy reach. What was the name of that report I created in the third quarter of 2018? Its right here in our online repository. What was that leadership concept I wanted to reference in this email? The specific book is along this wall, third shelf down. Everything is in its place and easily accessible. But this is not the normal scenario. This is the world as COVID-19 has remade it. Though, hopefully, only temporarily.
As a consultant, and consummate road-warrior, the majority of my time is spent at client site locations both near and far. I am on the ground alongside the employees and executives of healthcare organizations helping them solve their problems and grow their companies. Oftentimes, I am working at a spare workstation or in an empty conference room. There was even one occasion where I worked from a small supply closet alongside boxes of medical supplies. The conditions are not always ideal. So what do you do when you are out on the road and not within reach of the tools and information you may need? How do you continue to provide top-tier service and expertise? And now, working from home, how do I continue to serve my clients in these same ways sometimes hundreds of miles away? The answer lies in having a well-equipped toolkit before you ever step foot outside of your door.
If you are to be a successful employee, consultant, or entrepreneur you need to properly prepare for the job at hand. You also need to prepare, as much as possible, for any situation you may face in your specific department or industry. If you are on the road, or even if you are now working from home and apart from your co-workers, you need quick access to the tools that let you execute in an efficient and meaningful manner. As a high-performing healthcare management consulting company, John Lynch & Associates has invested large portions of our time building and creating consulting tools that help both our staff and our clients achieve their most impactful results. How did we achieve this? How can you replicate something similar for your own organization?
As our team developed our consultant toolkit we focused on three primary areas:
1. Data analysis
2. Thoughtful consideration
3. Proper planning
As everyone from staff-level employees to C-Suite executive knows, in-depth planning should be used prior to the start of any project, change, or activity. If you plan for it, you will be ready for it. However, before you can plan your activities, you must first consider what you are going to do and how your experiences have shaped your readiness to execute those plans. This is where thorough data analysis comes in.
Our team took an in-depth look at the service lines we offer as well as our past experiences assisting our clients. In the first couple of years we used best practice tools and templates for all our early projects and client-work. But did those tools ‘hit the mark’ every time? Did they fully serve the needs of our clients and our employees? We always look for new ways to improve our performance so we continually ask ourselves these questions.
We took the data from those experiences and cross-walked what worked well, what had the best results, and what could have been even more beneficial. Once we had all of that information in front of us it was easy to analyze the information and spot trends and areas where we could customize the types of tools we used to do our jobs.
The next step was to take that information and dissect it thoroughly and from every possible perspective. We created a collaborative team comprised of our employees from multiple levels of the organization to review the information and help strategize our next moves. It was refreshing to have such distinct views on the data we had gathered. Through multiple brain-storming sessions we thoughtfully considered the information and the efficacy of our previous tools. We came up with new ideas and exciting changes we could make to improve and better meet our clients needs. Through careful and inspiring leadership provided by our Chief Operations Officer, our team was able to create a road-map for our consulting toolkit that would fully meet the needs of both employees and clients.
With the first two thirds of the preparatory rounds completed, our team began to plan our next steps. We created business-line and scenario-based models to represent what we would mostly likely face while working alongside our clients. The team then used both models to brainstorm every possible tool and template we may need while out in the field. We moved quickly, seizing on the momentum we built and finalized our toolkit.
Because John Lynch & Associates focuses heavily on Lean Six Sigma methodology, those tools and templates were internally reviewed, tested, and modified where appropriate to ensure they were without defect or gap. Then we peer-reviewed them just to ensure they met all our needs.
What resulted was a comprehensive consultant toolkit that was customized to our exact specifications. The tools and templates in this toolkit provide our employees and clients with everything that they need without having to be at home scanning through shelves for the right binder or frustrated that you forgot to grab something before you left the office for that last time. Our employees are prepared to respond to any healthcare, business, and clinical challenge or situation with this virtual toolkit within easy reach.
As the nation begins to slowly return to a semblance of normalcy, I will also begin to go back out and greet my clients and colleagues in person. On the ground work will start to become the routine again and I will once again find myself pacing around small offices searching for an empty desk or workspace. However, the value of having a comprehensive consultant toolkit, no matter what type of environment I find myself in, cannot be overstated. I will know that I have everything I need to handle anything that may come my way and be able to respond to it efficiently and effectively for my clients.
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