A failure to plan is planning to fail
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Before we say goodbye to this year and welcome in the next, we should take time to envision what we want next year to be like, to plan and to prepare so that it’s a really great year. First, I recommend you do this personally, to establish a vision and set goals for the coming year.
However, the focus of AnswerStat is not on your personal life but on your work, which is likely in a healthcare call center. Though it’s possible you’ve already prepared for next year, or maybe you hope to do so in the next couple weeks.
However, I wonder if in the day-to-day crunch of call center work that you’re so focused on getting through this day that you never have time to think about what’s next. I get that. I’ve been there. It’s called the tyranny of the urgent. It’s the reality that putting out fires consumes all our time, leaving no time left to pursue what is truly important. This includes planning for future success.
Don’t let the tyranny of the urgent limit what your call center, department, shift, or team accomplishes in the coming year. To inspire your thoughts and get you started, here are some ideas to help make next year the best year yet:
Celebrate Areas of Excellence: Every call center has things they do well. Don’t lose sight of these items. Instead of coasting or assuming you’ll always excel in these areas, consider two options. One is looking at ways to make these even better. And the other is taking steps to ensure they don’t slip.
Identify Areas That Need Fixing: Conversely, even the best call centers can do better. We all have flaws in our operation, processes, or human resources. Start by identifying these so you can prepare to fix them next year.
Look for Growth Potential: Though no one can predict the future with any certainty, we can look at trends and consider areas where we can grow our call center to offer new services or expand existing ones. This gives us a chance to dream. And less you consider this exercise self-serving, remember that everyone likes to be part of a growing operation. Make sure your call center is expanding and not shrinking.
Consider Pressures to Your Call Center: While there’s the potential for growth, there’s also the potential for contraction. This isn’t as exciting to think about, but it’s important to give it attention nonetheless. What issues does your call center face that could have a detrimental effect on it in the coming year? Theorize the top three pressures that could have a negative effect on your call center. Then plan to counteract them, offset them, or negate their power.
These four items are often summarized as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (also known as SWOT). Yes, I just encouraged you to conduct a SWOT analysis for your healthcare call center. But don’t look at this with foreboding; embrace it with excitement.
Then use your SWOT analysis to plan appropriately for the coming year: capitalize on your strengths, shore up your weaknesses, pursue opportunities, and guard against threats. Turn this into an action plan, establish a vision, and set goals. If you do this, I guarantee you’ll have a much better year than if you skip this critical exercise.
May this next year be your best year ever.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.