A great concept I learned many years ago is something as simple as Doing the Right Things Right. Many times, we talk about this in two separate ways. First, we talk about doing the right things, which translates into aligning our objectives with the overall strategy, plan, or direction of an organization or team. Second, we talk about doing things right, which translates to delivering quality work in whatever we do.
Putting these two together – doing the right things and doing things right – creates a powerful way to think about our actions and our work. It comes down to what we do and how we do it; both are indispensible to moving forward with initiatives in a productive, positive, and purposeful manner. It is like bringing chocolate and peanut butter together, creating a unifying, tantalizing experience!
We need to think about our work using the following framework and determine ways to stay in the upper right quadrant as much as possible on any given day, week, month, and year.
Let’s break this down a little further.
Doing Right Things. In any health IT project, how do you know you are doing the right things? Part of the answer could be based on the activities outlined in a project plan; part of the answer could be based on how the activities are aligned with the defined objectives; and part of the answer could be whether or not the work is advancing the goals  outlined by the team or organization.
A simple test:
- Do you know who the customer is for the work you are doing?
- Do you know your customer’s current requirements?
As a sanity check, one further test:
- Do you own the customer relationship for which the work is being done?
- If not, why are you involved? Can you delegate or shift the work to the person who does the own the relationship?
In the world of Meaningful Use and healthcare interoperability, there are many, many projects to balance. No one can afford to waste time, get distracted by unimportant tasks, or do activities someone else should be doing. Additionally, things can change quickly, so we need to stay current with the expectations and the required deliverables. Being and staying current with the requirements is a key element we cannot afford to miss.
Knowing and understanding your customer requirements facilitates doing the right things. Keeping current on the requirements ensures you are not stale on the activities which need to be done. We must be constantly aligned  with the initiative’s mission and our customer’s current requirements.
Doing Things Right. Quality means everything. Just think about it, do any of these sound fulfilling?
- Half done work
- Incorrectly done work
- Disappointing metrics
- Dissatisfied customers
No one wants to have their work described in any of those ways. We want to be proud of how we do our work and the end results we achieve. In doing high quality work, a simple way to determine how well we are doing is by answering this question:
Do we consistently meet the agreed-upon customer requirements?
Any project or initiative contains links between individuals and tasks. Most of the work we do feeds into the work or expectations of another. To ensure we are doing things right, we need to deliver to at least our customer’s requirements, if not more. Meeting requirements is solid; exceeding them is exceptional and energizing.
Bringing It Together. There are many ways to approach our daily work. Using the “7 Habits ” is definitely one, as we have discussed before. While using the simple matrix above reinforces many of those seven principles, it also provides a great framework in which to adjust our mindset and focus our work.
Here is an opportunity to focus on how well you are doing with your projects.
- Draw a two-by-two matrix, just like the above one
- Write in your primary activities for the past few days, dividing them between each of the four quadrants
- Think about how you can stop doing certain activities and move others to their rightful place
- Determine ways to stay current with the customer(s) of your initiatives and activities and ensure you understand their requirements
- Plan your day and week around doing the right things in the right way
We are all busy in health IT today. There is so much to balance and much more to accomplish. Let’s work to ensure we are doing the right things right.