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Domino by Nick Tasler

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21Priori-Time: The Antidote to Urgency

One Friday morning not too long ago I did a workshop with the management team of a rural hospital system in the western part of the United States. The purpose of our day together was for me to help get a few hundred of their managers ready to deploy that year's strategy. The day was designed to give these leaders an opportunity to step away from the hectic daily challenges inherent in their jobs throughout the hospital, and to think strategically about the direction of the organization as a whole and of their functional teams more specifically.

When the CEO took the stage her brief presentation was telling. After she welcomed everyone, she began by sharing an update on the highest level strategic issue in the organization at that time—the status of a potential merger with one of the larger healthcare systems in the region. She then immediately followed that update by double-checking whether the emergency room at the main hospital was fully staffed that day.

“What a great metaphor,” I thought. Here we are, all the key leaders in the organization assembled together for one day for the explicit purpose of thinking big picture and getting out of the weeds, if only for a small chunk of time. Yet, they legitimately could not ignore the fact that the emergency room still needed to be staffed regardless of how much they wanted, and in fact needed, to be strategic that day. The CEO herself then apologized profusely for having to leave immediately ...

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