Time is a limited resource. The best leaders get more done with the time they have. Today we explore.
Today in health, it I'm going to do a stream of consciousness episode. We're going to talk about getting. We're done in 2024, our. Better yet get the most important things done in 2024. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and created this week health instead of channels and events dedicated to transform health care.
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It's just standing in front of a whiteboard talking. To the team about things, as you guys know, I've done executive coaching for many years. I don't have that many clients. I have a lot of residual clients. On it meaning I don't get paid, but I still coach. Which is probably not the best model, but I, when I really enjoy the people I'm working with. And we decide to stop coaching.
They become friends, so we just keep talking. And it helps me to stay current with what's going on in the industry and hopefully it helps them to be better leaders in what they are doing. Today, I'm going to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, which is creating margin.
I find that we have tech debt in our lives, and we have tech debt in our professional lives, our personal lives in our teams as well. And towards the end of the year, a couple of things happen in my life. One is I review my life goals and my one, five and 10 year plans. And I write them out. They're actually on my desk, they're on my desk at all times. So that I can review them multiple times a month and stay on the path.
And I want to stay on in order to achieve the goals I want to achieve. The other thing we do towards the end of the year is we do an evaluation of all the things we've done this year at this week, health. And we do that as an organization and as a team. And I asked the team, what are the things that we've done this year? That have really had a return.
And what are the things that really haven't had a return that you looked at and you said, eh, Hey, nice try bill, but that's not really gonna do much for us. And it doesn't really. Have the intended.
Outcome that we headed when we initiated the project. And we look at those things and we, create a chart of the things that we're doing, the outcomes we anticipated and the outcomes that we're actually getting. And we determine if we're going to continue to do those things. Going into 2024 into the next year. And we call those things.
We, we essentially take things out. And what that does is it creates margin for us, creates opportunities for new things, to take the place, new things that we anticipate will have a higher return for the industry. And we're always looking for margin. Not only for me personally, but also for the entire team.
If we can free up some time, we can then work on the things that are going to move us forward. I think it's one of the reasons why. A lot of times when I'm talking to people about this week health, they're like, I can't believe how much stuff you get done. wE're constantly cutting out things that don't add value to the industry that don't add value. To us personally and professionally.
So we're cutting those things out. We create margin, we put things in that we believe are going to add value. And so we're constantly just building on the things of value that we do. And I think it's a great exercise. For the team, it creates margin. But also I think from a personal standpoint as well, I'm constantly looking at the things that I do and, as a CIO, I had this problem as well.
My, my calendar just gets, got filled, constantly filled. And maybe you're feeling this way. Maybe you look at your calendar and you're like, oh my gosh, I have no time to think. And this year I instituted a new method. If you will. Where I pushed all my meetings on to Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And it left Monday and Friday completely clear.
And I told my team no meetings on those days, unless I put them there. We have an admin that's shared across the entire team and that person knows no meetings on Monday or Friday. Don't. Put an interview on Monday or Friday, don't put anything on Monday or Friday. I can either use those days as a strategic days to think about strategy moving forward.
I could use those as catch up days where I just essentially get on the phone from morning until the afternoon. And. And just call people who I've needed to talk to, or haven't talked to in awhile and just catch up with people. So I they're my days, they're my days to fill with what I want. And so I've created margin in my weeks. I also create margins in my day. I cut off my days at about I tried to come off around two 30, generally.
It goes to about three o'clock. So I create margins in each one of my days. So if there's things that I need to get done, by the way I create margin at the top end as well, I'm recording this at, let's see, it's four o'clock in the morning. So I create margin on the front of my days. I create margin at the end of my day.
So at least, two to three hours, maybe four hours a day. I have time where I can get things done that aren't in my schedule. And so I create I create margin on a daily basis. Create margin on a weekly basis. And then we create margin on an annual basis by cutting out things that aren't productive for me personally.
So from a personal standpoint we create those things that give us time to invest in the things that are going to move our personal life forward in our professional life forward and our teams life. Forward. I think this is an important exercise and when I was a CIO, I was constantly that the. The greatest gift I could give my team was taking things off their plate. Like just eliminating them. And one of the things we did was we did a project. I Don't know. At portfolio calling, if you will. We looked at all of our projects and we went through. The hundred and 20 projects. I essentially looked at him and said, look, If there's not an executive sponsor on these projects, we're going to stop doing them. And the team looked at me like I was insane.
I'm like, Nope, until there's an executive sponsor, we're not going to do that. If there's not a statement of why we're doing this project, we're going to stop doing them until we have a statement of why we're doing this project. And do you know, just by doing that. We cut out like 20, some odd projects. The other thing we looked at is does the reason this project was initiated still exists today. And we had projects that had been going on for multiple years and teams were working on them and spending hours and time.
And I looked at it and I'm like, does that reason still exists and it doesn't still exist. And so I looked at the executive. The it executive team, I said, Hey. Why are we doing this project? And there was no answer other than while we started it, so we should finish it. If the reason doesn't exist for doing it anymore, stop doing it. And so we would call projects and all of a sudden the team, and sometimes the team would push back and they're like if I don't do this, am I going to have a job?
And your job as a leader is to communicate to them that there are more important things to do. We have a lot of work that we can't get to. That we would love to have you do interesting projects, more important projects, things that need to get done. And so as a team, we would call those things. We would also call technologies. tHe technologies that were no longer. Delivering what they needed to deliver. We call this application rationalization today, but at the end of the day, when you eliminate things from the environment, including technology, it creates space for new, better technology space of time for the people who are. Overseeing those technologies or moving them forward to get trained on new things and get excited about moving the organization forward. And so that is part of the job as a leader is to take things off of people's plate.
In fact, I would say a significant part of the job as a leader is saying no to things. It is the ability to look at. I was explaining this to somebody just yesterday. I said, as a. wHat you need to understand. And this was a partner. I said you need to understand as a partner. Is that CIO is sit on an executive leadership teams and every year. Every year or every three years, depends on how often you do your. yOur cycle, you would sit there and look at 180. 120, 180. Really good projects.
There was no bad projects on there. Nobody was bringing forward a project that wasn't going to improve care, improve outcomes, and improve the clinician and patient experience. All the projects that were said, sitting there. We're going to do that in some way, shape or form, or they didn't make it to the executives desk. And so you had 180 projects. And you had to sit there and look at it and say, these are all good. But we can only do 80 of them. And so now the work. Started on what you say no to and bad leadership teams, don't say no.
And they end up with too many things, not enough focus and your teams get overwhelmed. Good leadership teams. Create focus. And they usually do that around a set of strategic principles or pillars or those kinds of things. And they make sure that all the projects fall into those strategic pillars and they clearly identify what the objectives of those pillars are at an all the projects that deliver on those objectives. Get prioritized.
And so things just naturally fall off. If you have a good strategic process within your organization. Organizations that don't have a good strategic process. R I, leadership malpractice is what I call it. You're putting your teams in peril. You are putting them behind the eight ball to start. So anyway, today I want to talk about margin we're in the process of doing it at this week. Health. We have cut out some things that we've done in 2023, as we look forward to 2024, we're creating space for new things, better things, hopefully things that will help you to progress your career and get more done in 2024. Make your lives easier. Like our new site, give you one place to go every morning for the news. That's going to help you to get your job done. And a handful of other surprises for next year that we are working on. Create margin for you, yourself, your teams, your family, just create margins.
Get more done in 2024. And get the most important things that, all right. That's all for today. Don't forget to share this podcast with a friend or colleague. 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 parlance, certified health. Notable and 📍 service.
Now, check them out at this week. health.com/today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.