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Upside Down Improvement Program Waffle Meister

What’s your experience of consultant surgeons? If yours is English public sector based, then shockingly bad I’d suspect. In which case, what weight would you give just such (a ‘visiting professor’ too no less) who has quit the infamous NHS in desperate exasperation?

Especially when said transplant specialist freshly embarks on what he sees a better career as … wait for it … a waffle shop franchisee.

Seriously.

Almost a case of going from saving lives, to serving fries…?

With obvious questions over judgement an odious hanging discomfort, I was surprised to warm to this very chap when I caught chirpy Parisien Eric Chemla recount his tale on the radio this weekend.

Given the source was the ever metropolitan liberal elitist BBC – remembering that the numerous expats I’ve met on my travels, to a man and woman, when the issue of what they miss about Blighty inevitably comes up, they all go out of their way to state that not one of them miss in any way the ills of either BBC or NHS – there was concern more for grief porn at the expense of reason and remedy.

Still, a trio of points hit me as relevant to any Sales effort.

Cost Improvement Program:

This omnipresent phrase clearly irked the ex-knife. It is evidently what the organisation calls its constant striving for spending less money. Nothing wrong with that, you initially think. Then he gave a chilling example.

The decision was taken to send post second-class instead of first. The result was that he suffered what he termed 30-40pc missed appointments. With all their devastating knock-on effects. Apparently, admin staff couldn’t make the switch to send these longer-to-arrive letters out earlier than before. Operations went without happening, ambulances despatched only to return without patients, operating theatres and fully prepared staff left empty and unused, people in pain had their lives significantly worsened.

You could unpick so many lessons from this. One among several being if you see the oxymoronic label ‘cost improvement’ in a solution sell arena, then you must tilt the frame investmentwards or suffer malady yourself.

Not Given The Software:

A stunning case of ‘In With The Old’ followed. They had millions adorned on them to get new IT. As a man who sold Enterprise solutions before Y2K’s Millennium Bug and birth of the €uro, I almost regret not being in the Health systems game at that time.

Part of hospitals’ enormous extra expenditure stretched to replacing a whiteboard showing the names of all ward patients written on with a flashy big flat tv screen holding all the info instead.

A problem soon appeared. In his own words, they hadn’t been given the software they needed. Consequently the pricey plasma/lcd kit quickly found a whiteboard leant in front of it carrying on its old role.

The disaster of the unadopted ‘new’ sends shivers through any solution seller. How are you going to make sure this small yet commonplace misfire would not develop to derail your project?

Upside Down Leadership:

The quest to place a medical professional in charge of a health service is as misguided as all those firms that put accountants at the helm of their businesses. Whilst there may well be the odd success, it is absolutely not an automatic recipe for general triumph.

The key is rather in giving those at the ‘coal face’ the chance to both express themselves, then crucially act upon their experience.

It seems they are rarely afforded this opportunity. And when it does arrive his depressing answer quoted was that after he was asked for advice at meetings, years later he’d still see nothing ever got done with suggested resolutions.

A big solution must is avoiding this sorry state.

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