I wrote last week about the importance of checklists for all aspects of your business. Expanding on that I learned a valuable lesson at the weekend in the most unlikely of places, in a hospital. Our youngest son has had some medical challenges which started before he was born, he was given a 1 in 10 chance of survival when it was first diagnosed. However, he didn’t let it hold him back and battled on growing stronger each day. By the time he was finally discharged from hospital he had been an inpatient for almost 3 years, but he is unique. This means that he has to be managed much differently to any children with ‘similar’ ailments so much so that his consultant has made oxygenation plans, care plans, flow charts for his care etc. Last night we had to take Danny in to children’s A+E as he had a bad chest infection. When we got there we explained the situation to the nurse and then again to the doctor. I explained that his oxygenation plan states that unless he is in 3lts of oxygen he should not be admitted. We also explained that there are certain procedures as to how Daniel is dealt with in most situations and he should consult the PICU unit to get more information.
To cut a long storey short the two key things happened that sealed our fate to 6.5hrs in A+E and a lot of stress and arguments. The first thing was that the doctor did not contact the people we had clearly told him to speak with to get more information. Instead he just rang the on-call person which mean that the wrong information again was fed back. The second was that the carefully written procedures for handling Daniel and the care & oxygenation plans were not made accessible to all people that may be in contact with him. This mean that he was given all of the wrong treatment.
So what has this to do with my IT life? Simple. The first lesson is when you are dealing with a client, new or existing, the most important thing to do is LISTEN. Let them talk, make notes and ask questions. This simple step alone can save you hours in wasted time and if the client is on a flat-fee contract this means money saved. Second lesson is as you begin to create business processes, checklist and procedures to run your business smoother make sure that everyone that needs to know they are there..know. After all you could have the best product/service on the planet but shouting about it in the middle of a dessert is not gonna do a great deal of good is it.
So to summarise; Stop, Listen then Talk….in that order then you can’t go far wrong.
Any thoughts? I’d love to hear them.