Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Task by Any Other Name...

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task,  but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

~ Helen Keller, American Author (1880 - 1968)

Never underestimate the importance of a task. Never underestimate the impact of a task done well.

Some actions may seem like routine or trite movements, and yet a task, when given the right context, often has greater value than the act itself.

A way to consider a task is to think of the following questions:

  1. What is my Job?
  2. What is my role?
  3. What is this task?
  4. What is the result?

When you are given/assigned a task, you may be asking these questions aloud with another person, or to yourself (or heck, you may ask them aloud to yourself)- whatever works for you to gain energy and relative importance for the outcome.

As you delegate or assign tasks, you can share the four points for effectively communicating the relevance of ask or responsibility by covering those four as statements versus asking the questions.

An example of each is below:

Given the task of a report: As a Project Manager (job), my role is to keep on task and within budget, so this status report (task) will allow us to know where we stand internally and can be a tool for our client, too (result).

Assigning the task of mentoring a new team member: As a Director of Marketing (job), your role is not only to promote the organization (role), it is to groom our up-and-coming leaders, so I am asking you to mentor Tyrek (task) so he will be ready for a promotion within the next 6 months should it go well (result).

Often tasks get quickly dismissed or done with little thought, and with the 4 questions regarding that action, the answers lead us all to a job well done and results that make a difference!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Lessons Learned: Ideas Shared from a Hospital Stay

"Getting out of the hospital is a lot like resigning from a book club. You're not out of it until the computer says you're out of it." ~ Erma Bombeck, American Journalist (1927 - 1996)

Unless for giving birth, and for those who are medical professionals, my guess is that going to a hospital, even to visit someone, is not high on a desired destination or experience for most of us. I say "most of us", as I, too, was not someone who thought yippee, let's go to the hospital on any occasion. Once, when selected for the Tampa General Hospital White Coat Internship Program, I was thrilled to get to go to the hospital, and yet that was quite a different experience from what I just had. 

Being a living kidney donor (something I'll share in a Lessons Learned later in the year, as I am still in the process of recovering and learning), and doing it during COVID-19, meant I was alone, without a companion at the start or visitors throughout.

Based on what I experienced, the lessons learned for future hospital experiences and for anyone else include:

  1. Ensure you take notes about what to expect (ask a lot of questions of each person in the process) prior to the day of your check-in
  2. With every professional, at the end of your pre-hospital visit, ask "Is there a question I have not asked that you think would be good to ask?"
  3. Take the following with you: your notebook of information, including your insurance card, a robe (to cover your backside), a comb or brush, glasses (if you require them) earbuds that are charged or plug into your phone, your phone, and an app on your phone for sound/sound machine (everything else is likely extra weight, as the hospital will provide most everything else
  4. Arrive on time, without being rushed, and then expect to wait
  5. Make eye contact and call everyone by name in order to gain a sense of familiarity, as the people in the hospital are the only people you may see
  6. Ask each person "NAME, how long have you been here, and do you love what you do?" (It will tell you a lot about their attitude toward their work, and possibly, you)
  7. Be your own health advocate. While you may feel vulnerable and compromised, nobody knows you like you, and nobody will speak up for you the way you can/will
  8. Ask what tests and other actions are for, meaning not just asking "What are you doing", ask "What does this tell you?"
  9. Be a patient patient, meaning smile, be kind, know that getting demanding may be necessary in the end, but starting that way will not make you a good patient, rather that could make others lose their patience with you
  10. Leave as soon as possible so you can get rest (ensure you have your medication and clear instructions prior to leaving, along with the specific phone number to call if you have questions during the week and on weekends

While few hospital stays are perfect, those ten lessons learned will likely ease your concerns, keep your stress in check, and position you for the best sense of a good stay while you make your way to your best health!