Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The Discipline of Getting Things Done

The Discipline of Getting Things Done

the-discipline-of-getting-things-done- image0In the excellent book Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan write about things they believe great organizations do.

The first one that caught my eye was focus on execution. They say great plans are just that; mere plans until turned into reality. This makes sense to me. I remember talking to a person who was interviewing for a position I was trying to fill. He told me he was “an idea man.” He said he could think of more ideas than the average person. I asked him if any of them were any good. And then, I asked him if he implemented his ideas. (He had opened the door for my questioning and, after all, it was an interview.)

Of course, it takes both—thinking of ideas and then executing them. The truth is I enjoy hearing other people’s ideas. Not all ideas are winners, of course, but one person’s idea might spark a refinement to it in the mind of another person and between the two of them a really great idea might emerge. Again, however, one of the points in this book is all the good ideas in the world do not amount to a hill of beans unless acted upon. It is hard to argue with that sentiment.

The other point that impressed me is their advice to set clear goals and priorities. They said to focus on three or four clear priorities everyone can grasp. Furthermore, they advise that one speaks and acts simply and directly. This thrilled me because we have had our five Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for several years now. And, we have improved on every one of them. I think it is in part because we focus on them, talk about them, and measure our performance. I like to say they are the equivalent of punt, pass, kick, block and tackle. In other words, they represent the fundamental things we must do well if we are to achieve our vision of being a top tier practice—satisfy the patient, practice measurably quality medicine, respect and help each other (make it a great place to work), perform well financially, and grow our business. It’s pretty basic, but basic is good.

Finally, these writers say that one does not need a lot of complex management theory to move the organization forward. What is needed is to explain to people what is important, what outcomes are desired, and to recognize them when results are met. It makes sense to me. I see so many dedicated people at Texas Tech Physicians who are working hard every day to execute our KPIs and to practice our SPIRIT values. Thank you.

In last week’s column, I said if anybody had any ideas on how to reduce the service to posting time to come to see me. Someone had a very good idea, which he came by my office and shared with me. I really appreciate what he did.