Have you ever noticed how much personal, painful change a superhero must undergo in order to protect someone else’s everyday normality? They change so everything can stay the same for others. That’s what makes them heroes. Normal folks typically resist change. Heroes embrace it.
I was reminded of this in a recent conversation with a fellow healthcare professional. He was telling me about a conversation he had with a medical office administrator. During the conversation, the admin kept telling him the doctor would never make the improvements he was suggesting. The more he probed, the more resistant she became, always saying the doctor would never go for it.
I interrupted him while he was telling me and suggested that her resistance had nothing to do with the doctor. I then took a guess that she was the administrator that had been with the doctor for at least twenty years. She had a set way of doing things and was not open to hearing about anything new, no matter how much time or money it may save her, her doctor, or the patients. He laughed out loud.
In fact, the woman had been with the practice for twenty-five years. And her insistence that the doctor would never do it was a way of shifting blame from herself. She didn’t want to change. She was comfortable in her time and money wasting ways. She wanted nothing to do with increased effort. Shame on her.
Healthcare offices are full of folks that love their sameness, even though the walls may be falling down around them. Come to think of it, I’m pretty fond of my sameness. Change is a difficult road and I’m not inclined to become a hero…so I understand the administrator.
But deep inside, I have a desire to do heroic things. If they could just be done inside my comfort zone! I know that great things often call for great effort and sacrifice, so I have a choice. I can snuggle down into my comfortable sameness or take a risk and become better. That's your choice as well.
You may not feel your office is an especially precious place for a hero to save. You may not feel your old, inefficient processes are vile enemies that need defeating. You may not think anything is wrong with your sameness. But there is a threat – nothing can ever stay the same unless we fight what is coming to change it.
The pressures of technology, patient expectations, government regulations, payor contracts, and generational attitudes are pushing at your practice now. They are working overtime to steal your comfort and land you in stress. Fighting to maintain a happy, efficient workplace you look forward to being in is necessary. You and I must fight to maintain our sameness, and in some cases, or saneness!
A hero is someone who sees the threat, finds a way, or someone to show the way, to overcome it and then takes action. My question to myself, and to you. Are we heroic enough to spot the enemies, learn how to defeat them, and then personally stand up to them?
Make no mistake, your practice has several enemies threatening your peace of mind, workplace enjoyment, financial stability, and efficiency. You may have to fight some brutal battles in the near future. The first step though is to ask yourself, am I willing to fight? If so, welcome to the heroic. Willingness is the first step.
The second is vigilance. Look at your practice today. What change have you been resisting? What threat is going to create stress for your doctors, staff, or patients? What disaster is about to fall? Identify it. Then start preparing to do battle. Get ahead of it and you will defeat it so those who won’t fight can enjoy their comfort.
When everyone around you is enjoying their sameness, you can take pride in the fact that you won that privilege for them. You fought, you bled, you rose the victor so they could remain the same. You are a hero! Now have a beer or some shawarma (some of you will get the reference) and enjoy!
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