Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Healthcare Sheepwalking and the American Investment & Recovery Act

I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin the marketing guru. Recently I’ve been enjoying his book about Tribes where he talks about a concept called “sheepwalking”. He refers to employees who are shuffling around on their jobs; doing what is asked but not being inspired and not giving their all. I appreciated the thought about how when one does a job that doesn’t inspire even the best employees morph into a herd mentality. There is a mindlessness about work in that context which when viewed from the healthcare perch is frightening.

Also, as the economy continues to befuddle economists, the government, the world’s stock markets and employees/employers alike, the challenge becomes how to create a culture that keeps healthcare employees engaged and not simply shuffling around in fear of losing their jobs.

Here are the allocations in the financial stimulus plan for healthcare and education in the US.

Department of Health and Human Services: $19.57 Billion

o National Institutes of Health: $9.7 Billion
Additional scientific research and capital improvement projects
o Office of the Secretary: $3 Billion
Includes funds for computerizing health records and prep for possible flu pandemic

o Administration for Children and Families: $3.1 Billion
Includes funding for childcare assistance for low-income families
o Health Resources and Services Administration: $1.958 Billion
Building and renovation of headquarters building and other health centers
o Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: $1.3 Billion
Conduct research on effectiveness of healthcare treatments and strategies
o Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $412 Million
Purchase of property and equipment and renovation of laboratories and other facilities
o Administration on Aging: $100 Million

So what can we expect from the stimulus? Karen Sampson blogs on Masters In Healthcare about how it is to play out and how it might affect the care we receive. But, I'm asking what about what it might do for the healthcare employee? I suggest we need to think about the culture we are creating for those who touch us in a very personal way at the intersection of our health – in healthcare services, medical care or in the life sciences. I’m curious what you think it means to you?

My clients are healthcare companies, medical practices or life science companies. I’m curious about when everything and everyone contracts and squeezes the healthcare professional or scientist in the middle? How do we keep them from “sheepwalking” just to keep their jobs? How to we keep them “stimulated” not from anxiety about their fears of the future, but of the gift and promise of the future?
Answer: I don’t know. I don’t know. But, I do promise to stay active in the dialogue. Contributing my two cents and advocating to those who are hiring, and to those companies who have hiring on hold – our biggest challenge is creating captivating cultures of excellence that stimulate employees to do their best; to care, to innovate, to offer quality in all they do.

Success by design – one employee at a time.

What career is captivating you? What employee are you inspiring?

Lynden Kidd
www.nextiteration.net and www.nihealthjobs.com