from Pantperthog to Knockando

Monday, February 08, 2016

Communications, innovation and choosing who to work for

The best content out there is always other people's, which is why I'm happy to be a signpost. Here are some interesting nuggets of workplace wisdom I have come across this week - one that is more general and some that seem very handy to people working in the NHS.

The first comes from Michael Katz, with his recommendation to avoid working for desperate clients. I like the analogy of visiting the supermarket with a rumbling tummy - you regret it later when you are full. When the crisis is over, your employer may feel differently than they did when they hired you back when they were at peak stress. Michael delivers it with his trademark wit - well worth a read.

I sent it on to my friend Matt because we have had discussions like this about clients who turn out to be difficult. One of the truest things I learned from Mark H McCormack's books is to not be afraid to fire your customers. Sometimes you have to sever the ties with someone who isn't paying you enough for the amount of hassle they cause. Matt and I agree on this and I knew he would like Michael's take on not working for the wrong customer.

Matt responded with two links of his own. The first to a blog by Seth Godin that talks about marketers being hampered by their own organisation. This really applies in the NHS, where everyone says we desperately need innovation and transformation but it's equally desperately hard to innovate and change anything.

Seth adds a bit at the end about knowing when to give up: Good marketers have "The willingness to quit what isn't working." Yes, we need to learn that, but it's tricky though because you're caught between throwing good time and effort after bad and the sunk cost bias of getting nothing back for all your expenditure. It's hard.

The second link was to a brilliant TED talk about how the 'rules' charities have to operate under limit their ability to actually tackle issues. Everything in this video is true for the NHS, with the newspapers ready to pillory any risks that go bad or salaries that are considered 'too high'. It's 18 minutes long, but worth watching.


Then finally something popped up in my Twitter time line that originally came from Helen Bevan, who does a lot around innovation and improvement.

We need to get good at this

I would like to see this happen because social learning and application must be the way forward for us in the NHS. Go into any office and the shelves are full of toolkits and learning papers full of ready to apply knowledge, slowly dessicating with neglect. We need a better way of talking and sharing. This slide seems to give us the evidence to try doing it differently.

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