Discretionary Effort

In all the years of blogging, I've mentioned the scandalously utterly dysfunctional monopolistic state health system of Britain many times. As beacon of what not to do to deliver a service.

'Envy of the world' it most certainly ain't.

With a general election imminent, I read a broadsheet assessment of how neither potential Prime Minister has any plan whatsoever to stem the decline.

This was not a piece in isolation. Every such journalistic organ contains similar sentiment, whatever their shade.

One of many striking stats, was that no matter which side of the horseshoe holds sway, nor how much funding was lavished or restricted, there has been absolutely no productivity improvement over the past quarter-century.

As the ol' adage goes, 'you can't solve a problem by just throwing money at it'.

For those of my software background back in the day, there's also the wisdom of Brooks's Law; 'adding manpower to a late software project makes it later'.

There's plenty of contributing factors towards the National Health Service malaise. Staff entitlement, outdated infrastructure and working practices, unjust political lionisation. To name but three.

There's one signal things are spiralling ever downwards at a more alarming rate than before. Whilst much activity has returned to 2019 levels, UK health output is nowhere near such giddy heights. Just ask the seven million on the waiting list. That's around an astonishing one-in-ten of all people countrywide.

Insiders seem to point to another alert. As a health think tank puts it;

"The NHS has run for many, many years on what is called discretionary effort, and fewer staff are prepared to put that in".

This term encapsulates what we already instinctively know. People that love their job, its environment, process and purpose, tend to go that little bit above and beyond.

Not necessarily all the time, but they aren't likely to be clock watchers, shackled to a restrictive rulebook or dawdle around initiative absent.

As one sales jibe had it (via a famous telly ad of the time) when making my way beyond cubrep, 'when did you last get up at four in the morning for something you believed in?'

Given the recent explosion in comms methods, the need to keep healthy work/life balance feels increasingly important.

Yet that does not render discretionary effort no longer viable.

It's visible in us or our colleagues. And not by dint of a supposed email timestamp.

That couple of hours spent on a slide after bouncing around fresh ideas at the end of one day, then showing your draft the start of the next. Travelling one Sunday night. Talking through implementation tips with a client in an opposite timezone to suit them.

There's plenty of scenarios.

You're probably already picturing certain people you work with. One way or the other. Cultural insight unwittingly revealed.

Yet have you ever considered to flip this?

Take your funnel.

Who at a prospect on it has noticeably put in that extra bit of 'outside' effort on your project?

How much of it is directed at, in conjunction with, or exclusive to you?

And is there a specific 'transaction' you can craft that fits this bill, that you can use to perhaps 'test' their underlying commitment to both you and your Proposal?

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