As a longtime BlackBerry user, I recently made the switch to an iPhone. I had been anticipating the transition with much excitement, but also a bit of trepidation. You see, I’m a bit of an efficiency freak. I don’t like to be slowed down…..by anything. And while I knew dozens of thrilled iPhone users, I was nervous that the changeover was going to result in a learning curve. And I was bound and determined to accelerate that task. So, on day one, I blocked out several hours of non-peak volume time at the Apple store to find a friendly geek who could help me learn and format my phone for optimal use. I needed to learn where everything was, how it worked, and what functions and shortcuts were going to keep me humming along in life (hello OCD!!!). Hey, I wanted to make the most of this fabulous gadget, and understand all of its key features.
This situation reminded me of the many times over the years that I have helped physician practice clients implement an EMR (electronic medical record). In the clinical world, documentation is captured on every patient encounter. This used to occur in paper charts. But now, it occurs in a software platform or virtual environment. The number of EMR platforms and their key features is as vast in variety as the number and type of smartphones. These software tools are very costly, tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the brand and size of user organization. But, they have the ability to streamline work processes for physicians and staff, make more efficient the sharing of information, increase security of information, and reduce staffing expenses. That is, if they are used correctly. Unless the features and functionalities of the software are operational and deployed to their full capacity, the end user is “missing out”.
It would be like driving your car down the highway at night, unaware that with pulling one lever could double the brightness of your headlights.
What could you do with that extra “power”?
Life can be so much easier if we just know how to use the tools at our disposal—be it the latest tech toy, software tool, or automotive hardware.
Or how about your people?
What if you applied the principle of “utilizing all of the features” to your employees? We’ve all heard that employees are the “greatest asset of the company”. But are we getting the most out of them? Just like you maximize your phone by mastering its features, so can a person’s innate talents be maximized.
As a strong leader, not only should you identify your strengths and intentionally leverage them, but you should identify the strengths of your team members—and from there determine ways to engage each associate to make most powerful their contributions.
I’ve mentioned Gallup’s StrengthsFinder, an assessment whereby these individual talents are uncovered. Courtesy of such an assessment, you may find out you’re the “Restorative” type—you’re very adept at fixing broken things. Or you may find a team member’s strength is her wealth of “Woo.” People who are high in “Woo” (that’s just fun to say) are the typical “social butterflies.” The more they’re around people, the more energized they become.
You get the most out of your team by assuring that the person who is high in “Woo” isn’t stuck in the back-office. Why not get him out in front with the patients? On the other hand, the “Restorative” type may need fewer opportunities to socialize and more opportunities to troubleshoot.
When employees are engaged in the specific type of work that plays to their strengths, it’s like the difference between low beams and high beams. Same instrument, exponentially more power. Raw, innate ability produces greater productivity and sustainability on the task.
Unfortunately, people don’t come with guides or manuals like iPhones and cars do, or training and implementation consultants like EMRs. It takes effort and awareness to get up-to-speed on what makes your team tick, but you can’t make the most of your office if you aren’t maximizing the “features” of your greatest assets—your people.