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Narrow focus or Wide focus, which is better for strategy. It depends on when you ask?

Transcript

Today in health, it going to beyond me too. Strategy. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system. And creator this week health set of channels and events dedicated to transform healthcare. One connection at a time. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders.

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If you see captain, get your picture taken with captain. It's plus $1 for childhood cancer for every face in the picture. All you have to do is take the picture posted on social media tag us. And we will get that money to Alex's lemonade stand. All right. Last thing, as share this podcast with a friend or colleague, you said it's the foundation for daily or weekly discussions. On the topics that are relevant to you and the industry rate foundation for mentoring. They can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. All right, let's get an add it. I was I've been having a lot of conversations recently about strategy and one of the things that strikes me. Is. I don't know if it's the lack of focus on the right things. And it's not always short-term thinking versus long-term thinking or seeing the big picture or not seeing the big picture. To me, it's the appropriateness. Of the picture based on the situation or the context. And it comes back to this concept of aperture.

So aperture is used in photography, optics, that kind of stuff. And its fundamental meaning is tied to the idea of opening. Of the hole, through which light travels in to the camera. So that's what allows it to determine what gets focused on what doesn't get focused on aperture is used to be, you measure it in F numbers f-stops and those kinds of things. But it's the opening and the camera lens through which light enters and exposes the film or digital sensor.

It's one of the three pillars of photography alongside shutter speed, ISO and other things. But it. Really determines what is the focus on? What thing? So in some cases, It can be it can allow your focus to be very broad and wide and you can see a really big picture and other times it can be really focusing on one thing and it blur the things around it.

So there's a lot of things you could do with aperture. Let me tell you why I'm talking about this. Just as adjusting the aperture affects what is in focus. And what is blurred in the picture. In life or business, focusing on the big picture requires adjusting your perspective. To ensure that the important details stand out while less critical issues. I remain in the background.

This adjustment helps in prioritizing what truly matters. And as we're looking at healthcare, there's a barrage of stuff coming at you constant. And one of the things is sometimes people get tunnel focus on we have this strategy, these are the things we're doing and they don't open. They're not open to the broader picture of the implications of those things. One of my favorite examples of that is the small health system that implements epic. And then gets to the other side and realizes they can't afford epic. It's That's the analysis.

You do a front. But the short-term focus as well. All the health systems around us have epic. Everybody's doing epic. Clearly, this is the right strategy to go to epic. My experiences in epic, I've taken a system to epic. Clearly it's the best EHR out there. We should have that be the best. The HR. That's the sort of the concept and the thinking. As opposed to thinking through the fact that you're going to go from having 16 people oversee your EHR and keep the hospital running to having 110 people oversee the EHR and run that system. And, all you have to do is the math and realize adding 80, some odd people full-time to a health system is going to be a significant burden on that health system.

That's just one of those examples of you. Short term thinking. It looks like it's the right move. Everybody's doing it. It's, appropriate, but is it right? So adjusted, the focus allows you to know what should be blurred out. And when should you use stay focused on the things that are right in front of you? I think another thing in photography, the aperture helps balance light and dark areas, creating a composition, if you will.

Similarly seeing the big picture involves balancing positive and negative aspects of the situation and acknowledging. Challenges while also recognizing opportunities again in the EHR realm. This is one of those where it's like, Hey, should we go with a solution? When we know that the EHR provider eventually will develop a solution? And this is always an interesting question in the a 2 29 project meetings. It's looking at, if it's on the roadmap, do you go with a best of breed third-party solution today?

If in three years, you're likely going to have to replace it. And so you have to balance those things. And there is a number there's typically. And actually we coalesce on a number every time we have this discussion. If it's on a three-year roadmap it's not that It's not a short thing.

Therefore you can do something today and still get that ROI out of it. Over the next couple of years, there could be a time and more and more organizations are recognizing. There will likely be a time where you go back to a platform. Kind of mentality. But the value of having that solution today in a best of breed. Fashion. Outweighs the. I'll waste not doing it today.

Another thing you know is depth of field. So a larger aperture. Creates a shallow depth of field, bringing a specific subjects into sharp focus while blurring the background. This is a concept I talked about earlier. Th this, I guess the metaphor is the importance of concentrating on core goals and values while not getting distracted by the peripheral issues.

Conversely, if you have a smaller aperture it increases the depth of field, bringing more of the scene into focus. And that is, Analogous to having comprehensive understanding of the situation and its broader implications. And so you could see how both of these are good for strategy, right?

There are times where you want to blur out all the noise and things that are going on and remain focused on the things think pandemic, right? Blur out all the extraneous things and focus. On the things we need to do today. And the rest of it is just noise, right? That's an important skill to have, but also an important skill to have is to know when to pull back. And increase the depth of field, looking at the scene and bringing it into focus, seeing the situation and the broader implications of that. Of the situation. This is one of the things I'm fairly good at as a leader.

And when we, when I came into healthcare, I was able to look at it and go. If everyone's telling me that the way healthcare is delivered today is not working. Why would we continue on the path that we're on? And expect anything to get better. And therefore most of our strategy. Was based on the ability to take the strengths of what we are doing today. Keep those either going to support the existing business, but to look at what health care could be. More ability to reach the patient where they want to be reached. More care in the home. More I sell services the wrong. It's the wrong title, but more empowered patients, if you will give them the data so that they can do the things they want to do for their health and to to really take control of their health journey. And so we focus in on those things.

Can we build a healthier community? And I was lucky enough to work with the sisters who cared about such things over profit. If they. If they felt like we could deliver better care, which is why the sisters got into healthcare in the beginning. They strongly supported those initiatives. And And it was fun, it. It's fun to see that big picture.

Now, there were times where we still had to narrow the aperture so we could not get distracted because some of the noise is 10 years out. This is stuff that's 10 years out is the stuff that, you want to be aware of, but it's not really relevant to what's going on. Today in most cases. There's probably a couple of other things, yeah, for the photographer adjusting the aperture based on the lighting conditions, desired effects is being able to adapt your focus from narrow to broad allows for a better understanding of the different situations.

Making informed decisions by considering both. My new details and overall context, right? So you're able to look at the context of your health system in the competition. That is your market. You're able to look at it in terms of. The broader industry of healthcare and where you fit with regard to the payer provider in the journey of the patient. And then the right aperture setting. It can turn. And ordinary scene into a stunning photograph by highlighting its most compelling elements.

And so we talk a lot about telling the story and being able to articulate the story. In order to get funding. We gain excitement. Get buy-in. Get people focused on the potential on the possibility. And that's what this is really about. Are you able to allow the right amount of future in and the right amount of focus today?

And so that you could tell a story that the listener is hearing and saying that's relevant to me today. And I see how that's going to take me into the future. So I, as I as I spend more time with CEOs, as I spent more time with healthcare leaders I'm either struck. By either how narrow the focus is at times or how broad the focus is at times. And both can be detrimental. And I find the best leaders are those that can adjust the aperture narrow or wide based on based on the conversation based on what they're trying to do or what they're trying to accomplish. Or where they're trying to take the organization. And that is a skill.

I think that the great leaders have see the big picture. And that narrow people's focus in on the things they need to do in order to deliver and execute on that vision. So that's what I wanted to talk about today. And that's all for today. Hopefully you are sharing this podcast with a friend or colleague using it as a foundation for mentoring and you guys can talk about is bill way off base.

Maybe you're a photography buff and you're like, that's. That's right on. Not applies to strategy anyway. That's a, that's what I was thinking today. After a lot of conversations, hopefully you guys have a great discussion around it. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

Short test artist site interprise health parlance, certified health, notable and 📍 service. Now check them out at this week. health.com/today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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