Fix your workflow in four steps

Fix your workflow in four steps

A theme that reverberated around APP 2024 was the importance of workflow, and, how one might fix it. While many experts in our industry do brilliant work optimizing workflow and consumer experience, the coach in me says, you’re the best person to do it. Here’s how…

The four-step (coaches guide) to identifying workflow solutions  

1. Identify the goal

Identifying the goal could also be called ‘identify your ideal solution.’ Imagine you had a magic wand and with one ‘abracadabra’ the ideal end result would appear before your eyes.  Don’t let yourself be inhibited by cost, resource (including staff) constraints, time or any other limiting belief that appears. Imagine what it would feel, look, sound and smell like from your perspective as well as the perspective of the staff, patients and any other key stakeholders.

Going against the grain, DO NOT make it a SMART goal. This step aims to expand your thinking outside the box. While you’re completing this step, keep these two questions front of mind:

  • What is the ideal outcome?
  • What problem will it solve?

2. Reality check

After you have a clear picture in your mind’s eye of what you want to achieve, look at where you are now. Consider the following questions:

  • What is currently occurring?
  • How is it different to your ideal outcome?
  • Where are the friction points that deviate or impact what you desire?
  • What resources and technology are working for you and what are not?  
  • What are the barriers that are inhibiting you from reaching your ideal outcome?

Spend time completing your reality check. You might like to keep a list next to you to document pain points that appear. And, when things go well, what made them go well? The more detail you can have in this step the more opportunities that will present themselves in step three.

3. Options

By completing step one and two you now have identified that gap between where you are and where you want to be. Now it is time to begin to methodically explore the options. Working through each challenge or friction point in your workflow, consider what options are available to resolve the issue. Once again, don’t limit yourself. to begin with. Write down all the options from the most far-reaching to the simplest. Then, consider what is currently realistic, actionable and most importantly what you’re willing to try. What is realistic and actionable today might be something miniscule compared to what is realistic and actionable in six months time.

In this step, don’t forget to look at your strengths. By identifying what is working for you, you may be able to expand on these strengths to minimize your challenges.

Also, this is where it’s great to collaborate with other people. What are they doing, can you use any of their ideas? How have they overcome challenges similar to you. Don’t get siloed in your own pharmacy!

4. Way Forward

Finally, it’s time to create a plan to execute. Take the options you have decided are your best way forward for now and order them into a plan. The way forward will become a series of mini SMART goals. Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound actions that will in time allow you to reach your objective.

What then?

Reflect regularly

This method is a continuing circle. Come back to it regularly to check in and review the plan. While the goal will likely remain the same (at least for a while), the reality check and options will adjust as you edge closer to your optimized workflow objectives.

Include your team

While this method works well when completing it alone, by completing it with your staff and asking for their input more friction points will be identified and more opportunities to overcome them be found. This allows for a more robust plan moving forward.

Take it steady

Just remember as the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. Take it slow and go easy on yourself. It’s takes time to learn something new and this thought process is no different. While it might be tricky to start with, by sticking with it you will learn how to expand your thinking and fix your workflows yourself. That means you build a tool that will help you with your current workflow and the next.

The Emotionally Intelligent Pharmacy Leader’s Program helps pharmacists, retail managers and aspiring leaders make the transition to management more seamless. Authentic, effective leaders create higher functioning teams and that is good for individuals, good for teams and good for business.
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