Why understanding the time pyramid is critical for healthcare administrators
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Everything that falls under the auspices of healthcare administration is complex. From budgets to billing and policy to care management, healthcare administrators at any level must understand, manage, and optimize complicated systems.
As such, the actions of one healthcare administrator can impact a significant number of departments, teams and employees. Because of this, it is critical for administrators to become familiar with and embrace the time pyramid.
Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky are tech industry veterans that took the lessons they learned optimizing systems while maintaining constant connectivity and condensed them into a practical guide to creating time for what matters, called "Make Time." An essential theme of the book — combatting constant busyness and distractions — is something most healthcare administrators face regularly.
The first step in trying to solve for busyness and distractions is to get clear on the myriad things that take the focus away from critical work.
Unfortunately, even trying to do so might be overwhelming. In some cases, it may be difficult to discern what is truly important from what is not; in other situations, it could be there are simply too many distractions to allow any time to figure it all out.
Pyramid or pond?
This is where the time pyramid comes in. In a recent article, "Making Time at Work," Zeratsky described the impact of leadership decisions on teams and, subsequently, staff decisions as an upside-down pyramid. At the point, leaders are small but their decisions impact the next layer of management, whose decisions impact the next level of employees, with the impact expanding at each layer.
By pairing this visual with an understanding of the things that keep us busy and distracted, we can begin to see how exponentially any lack of focus can create ripples that continue to grow and expand throughout the organization.
Because of the nature of the role of healthcare administrators, it is then critically important that all leaders in this field prioritize effectively.
No time to make time
The problem is, again, because of the nature of the job, healthcare administrators rarely have any time to focus on time. Yet doing so is essential to their success.
So, how do they begin? The key is to start small.
First, admit that your decisions can have a significant and wide-ranging impact on systems and people. Second, understand that your day is a constant battle against an even more wide-ranging number of things trying to keep your attention regardless of whether they deserve it.
Third, note that few of the things vying for your attention actually deserve it. And fourth, figure out what is important, must have your focus and is something truly only you can do.
Getting to and through that last step requires commitment. But once you have made it, the rest is all about practicing the word no. At that point, one of the best things to do is focus again on the upside-down pyramid.
When facing distraction, remember that anything that keeps you off track impacts the rest of the employees down the line. As leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure our employees have the chance to excel and the ability to be productivity.
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