Every day I come across several problems that I am not responsible for:
- Personal computer in the doctor’s room is slow.
- Printer is out of toner.
- Biopsy gun is broken.
- Two out of three elevators don’t seem to work.
- The only closet in the physician’s office is filled with old patient files.
All of these common problems not only cause delay in our workflow but lead to great frustration in your team. By choosing your reaction to all of these issues you make a great decision between ongoing frustration and improving the quality of your work.
In his book “QBQ: the question behind the question” John G. Miller addresses the matter how to ask the right questions to cause a change for good. Here are some examples for the wrong questions (read them with a whiny voice, please):
- Why do I always have to get new toner?
- Is this really my job to fix a computer/ get a new biopsy gun/ store away old files?
- Am I the only one who is working around here?
None of the questions listed above lead to a solution of the main problem and all of them represent: drama. It only wastes your and everybody else’s time.
Instead you should try to focus on a good outcome that leads to persistent improvement of your work environment.
Actual leaders discipline themselves to erasing these questions out of their repertoire and rather ask the right questions:
- What can I do to provide quick solution to this problem?
- What can I do to provide a possibly permanent solution to this problem?
- Who can I contact who may be in charge of this problem or knows somebody that can provide help?
- How can we prevent these problems from occurring in the future?
If on the other hand this is a totally new problem nobody has an answer for you should come up with solutions yourself. Then you should report to your boss the problem and possible solutions and ask for authorization to solve this problem.
This approach won’t harm your career, either.
Question: What has repeatedly slowed down your workflow and caused delay? Leave a comment below.