Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Eliza shines, helped by Fluffer-nutter sandwiches

As I have mentioned on this blog, I often have a chance to visit with health care-related companies in the region and get a sense of how new technologies are being applied in this field.  My favorite among all of them is Eliza Corporation, which uses voice recognition technology and sophisticated data analysis and management to deliver and receive relevant information to and from people (i.e., patients, families, and consumers) for a variety of clients throughout the country.  It is a truly impressive organization.

But, as you know, it is the people who are the most important resource, even for high technology service organizations.  In that regard, from the top leadership to people throughout the company, Eliza shines.  So I was really pleased when I was invited to present at a "lunch and learn" session today.  Meeting over a lunch of extremely healthy (!) Fluffer-nutter sandwiches,  I gave a summary of the leadership lessons from my new book.

This generated several excellent questions and observations about how to introduce the philosophy of process improvement into an organization and the role of leadership in modeling the behavior necessary to encourage front-line driven change.  We also explored how to avoid and undo work-arounds that are created by task-driven professionals who find that the complexity of a company or hospital presents obstacles to carrying out daily work.  Finally, we spent a lot of time discussing mistakes and errors, and how to use them in a productive way.   The key is to employ a just culture that allows those who have erred -- and the rest of the firm -- to move on, learn from the experience, and make systemic changes that reduce the chance of such errors in the future.


alexandra drane said...

Never before have I seen a large room of Eliza family members sit transfixed for well over an hour - no blackberrying, no sneaking out to take calls or attend to emails - just rapt attention leading to a spirited discussion where you could see wheels turning and inspiration happening. Paul - you have a singular ability to connect with an audience in a way that cuts through the crap, boils what we're all striving for down to the essence, and makes the idea of going for the brass ring in all things feel not just achievable, but like the only option. I'm going to hell for the peanut butter and fluff, it's true - just couldn't resist letting those brown paper bags get what they wanted for once...and to be fair, accompaniment was an apple! Our home is your home - and if there was a 'key to eliza' we'd present it to you.
Thank you again!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, seems like I have heard exactly Alexandra's reaction from many other people to whom you give speeches - but I have yet to hear you speak in person, Paul. Will have to change that.