I have been reading the postings to this group, on and off, over
the past couple of months. I have enjoyed the conversations and insights
that have been expressed herein.
I am the director of pharmacy in a hospital. I also serve as the
TQM coach and the PC specialist. I also own my own computer consulting
company, specializing in business automation design and PC training. I
have studied the Fifth Discipline and the Field Handbook and I am a long
time subscriber to The Systems Thinker.
I am currently in the midst of witnessing the decay of an
organization and it's culture. As most of you know, the health care
industry is moving through quantum changes. The increasing costs of high
tech medicine, the growing elderly population, and the market system which
separates the payer from the consumer (i.e. Tragedy of the Commons) are
converging on "our" declining ability to pay (i.e. global competition).
The only organizations that have a chance to succeed are those that, among
other things, can tap into the collective "genius" of their work force.
We have managed to do just the opposite, that is to pit employee
against employee There is no cooperation, just competition, fear, rivalry
and broken relationships.
Allow me to explain. After a decade of declining revenue, service
cut backs and periodic layoffs, the CEO decided that it was time to
reengineer the organization. He announced that we will conduct a "rapid
reengineering project". The entire project, from inception to
implementation will take 6 months. He further instructed that there will
be no "tweaking" of operations. We are to "blow up" the organization,
start with a "clean slate" and redesign the entire organization as if it
did not currently exist. Then, and only then, would we factor in the
realities of our physical plant, etc., to complete the plan. Inservices
were then presented to all hospital employees to educate as to the
principles of reengineering and the intentions of our application.
So far, so good.
The principles of reengineering according to James Champy in
"Reengineering Management" has taught us many things. In particular the
importance of purpose, values, vision and customer focus. In other words,
many of the principles of a learning organization. So far, we have been
in this process for 4 months and have not even paid lip service to these
principles! The reason as expressed by the CEO; WE DON'T HAVE TIME!
Well the project has degenerated into a glorified employee
suggestion program. Employees have no choice but to "tweak". Their view
is analogous to that of observing the organization and the health care
industry from the bottom of a well. Their department is the center of
their perspective with the progressive minded only able to see their
immediate supplier and customer. No one has a grasp on the structure of
the over arching interconnectedness of the whole.
We have espoused values that are routinely ignored. We have no
vision for the future, except to continue with more of the same; and the
ultimate customer, our patients, are incidental.
It is sad to witness the destruction of this organization.
Systems-wise, what does that really mean? If quantum theory is correct in
saying that inter-connectedness and not things are reality, then it is the
continual severing of relationships that causes the decline of a system.
We have an inability to see that health care is so much more than the
diagnosis and treatment of individual diseases. Even within the
individual we severe the mind/body connection. After that we severe the
body/lifestyle connection, the lifestyle/environment connection, the
environment/community connection and the community/mind connection, just
to name a few.
Will it be too late by the time a critical mass of the population
figures out that we (and I don't just mean Homo Sapiens) are all in the
same damn boat? When will we see that in the long run there is safety is
in cooperation,, interconnectedness and inclusiveness of peoples,
communities, families, organizations, etc...
I would be extremely interested in any comments any of you might
have, and/or working with anyone engaged in developing thought from the
perspective of systems thinking and inter-connectedness as applied to
organizational learning/reengineering or to more global/societal issues.
Also, is there anyone out there who lives in the Southern New England area
who meets or is interested in meeting to participate in group dialog?
Thanks for listening.
Russ Castello, RPh, MBA
Russell Castello <castello@SNET.Net>
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>