Does your organization have an iron sense of budget discipline—all managers, all the time? Do your managers have a supreme sense of accountability? Do your labor hour budgets remain constant to volume year after year? Have you eliminated productivity losses? Do you have financial predictability and security? Are budgets quick and easy to prepare? These simple questions get right to the heart of the matter. In our live seminars, very rarely have participants ever answered with a resounding “yes” to all these questions. These are fundamental management questions, and a resounding "yes" is required, isn't it? For all the time and money spent on developing and revising detailed budgets and tracking down variances, through the numerous rounds of meetings and presentations consuming much management time at all levels, most organizations still don't have what budgets were supposed to give them.
And yet, getting to Yes is indeed possible, but a complete rethinking of organizational aims is necessary. Tweaks here and there won't have any lasting effect. New reports with more detail and more pages just end up confusing clinical managers, and they'll resist simple comparisons of computer printouts with unknown departments at unknown hospitals. And radical layoffs and drastic budget cuts don't work for the long term, for the management practices that gave rise to such extreme measures are still safely in place, unexamined and untouched.
Superior productivity management is not about more budget police chasing down variances, and it has nothing to do with hardware or software. Good management is not a technical or systems problem. A complete change is needed. Is your organization ready to change how it manages productivity? Is it ready to reassign authorities and responsibilities? Is it ready to enact explicit rules and procedures to govern productivity management, rules that everyone, from top to bottom, will live by? Let's get to work.
More than just measurements and reporting systems, organizations today need an integrated, comprehensive productivity management system emphasizing manager accountability, simplicity, and fairness. Anything that hinders accountability is an obstacle to be removed; anything that furthers it is to be implemented without delay. We need to move away from micromanagement to self-management; from external, top-down control to internal control, from needless complexity that confounds understanding to simplicity that aids acceptance and accountability.
The elements for an effective productivity management system include labor standards that all managers will observe without fail; reforming the internal policies and procedures that govern productivity management; reporting and monitoring protocols that everyone can easily understand; incentives to outperform; and consequences for coming up short. All the elements must support and enforce the concept of manager accountability to standard. While some organizations have one or more of these elements in place, very few have all the elements coordinated and working together as a system. Anything less represents a critical weak link in the chain that destroys accountability.