Project Management

Oops! Top Doctors Perform Surgery on the Wrong Patient! Outrageous Post Mortem Follows! (Part 2 of 2)

Joe Wynne is a versatile Project Manager experienced in delivering medium-scope projects in large organizations that improve workforce performance and business processes. He has a proven track record of delivering effective, technology-savvy solutions in a variety of industries and a unique combination of strengths in both process management and workforce management.

You thought your projects could end badly? In one hospital they found out they had the wrong patient while she was in the middle of an operation. Part 1 of this series described the jaw-dropping findings of the subsequent investigation, which helped us understand that:
  • When a lot of little errors happen in succession, they can create catastrophic results.
  • Even processes that involve matters of life and death are not immune from this truth.
  • Your project may be a breeding ground for the exact situation that allows these little problems to proliferate.

Yes, if a woman can be told in the middle of an invasive operation that she is the wrong patient, you too can find yourself in shock therapy, without much warning.

Establish A Culture of High Expectations
The study concluded that a Culture of Low Expectations is at the root of the problem. Your only defense against this infection is to establish and maintain a Culture of High Expectations. This means taking action in the Activation Stage and also during your project, in the Control Stage.

As you plan and implement these ideas, consider perhaps the scariest part of the hospital example: The process that the workers used was adequately defined. Problems arose in the areas of accountability and issue resolution. You must focus efforts on these two areas.

Focus on Accountability

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"A good composer is slowly discovered. A bad composer is slowly found out."

- Sir Ernest Newman