Lean Leap to Healthcare: Hospital Sabbatical
Lean Leap to Health Care #10 (click for Part #9)
In my first Leap to Health Care blog, I mentioned using a two-pronged industry approach of Health Care and Defense – patch 'em up and blow 'em up. In Networking with Buffalo and Doctors, I mentioned blasting e-mails in response to job alerts.
It is said, only 15% of jobs are found via this explicit avenue. Most landings come from networking, connections, and seeking – a “rifle approach” vs. the “shot gun approach” of the published job market.
But given a sample size of two – my job search associate Steve and me, it looks like we are defying the odds. Steve found a job via Internet job postings which he started this week. He will be relocating his young (as in easier to move than than my teenagers) once his house sells. But for now, he will commute the two hours and stay in a furnished apartment.
Despite my two industry approach, it appears a third option is opening for me (via an Internet job board like Steve) in the manufacturing of building materials. It seems the most interest I am getting is for a role is the third down on the totem pole of 1) Health Care Lean, 2) Manufacturing Lean, and 3) Manufacturing Manager.
This is a dilemma. Since I had a career shake up, I have really been focusing on reinventing myself and trying to find an ideal fit. The trick they say is to make your vocation a vacation by finding your “natural” making you jazzed up to go to work each day. The more I learn, I am convinced continuous improvement in Health Care will be my legacy. My personal mission statement simplified has been to help people do things better. I am already moving toward a mission to help people do things better to help other people .
But what if my interview tomorrow (with 8 people in 2 states) goes well? I have every indication it will. My background, energy, accomplishments, and leadership will take any manufacturer to a better place. I am confident of this – which will certainly come across in an interview. I just hope hope I can do some verbal ju jitsu if they ask my about my ideal job.
During this multi-step interview process, I have already been given an indication my qualifications would set me up for 2 or 3 positions up the chain of command. This company has only begun any kind of improvement and employee involvement so it could be challenging and exciting.
Although I believe Health Care is my “natural” or my calling, decision-makers have not seen it as my natural often because I lack a clinical background. I just heard it again this week. Through linkedin.com – a professional networking tool we should all be utilizing (employed or not), my associate Mike introduced me to the Director of HR at a major Health Care system I have been targeting. The positions I am interested in had lean and process improvement in their titles. One was a director level and the other was a specialist.
The HR Director's first question to Mike was, “Does Scott have any clinical experience?” When Mike said no, the Director said, “No thanks.” He went on to explain there were plenty of people out there with both clinical and lean backgrounds.
Really? I thought. Are there really an abundance of people which have built grass-roots lean efforts, engaged the executive team as champions, driven dramatic technical as well as cultural change, and sustained the gains as a leader of the operations through visual controls, leader standard work, daily accountability, and discipline? Have they worked through strategic planning and budget processes to ensure continuous improvement and lean become the organizing philosophy of the enterprise?
Are there a lot of people who have led hundreds of formal improvement events as well as engaged organic employee improvements – running into obstacles and adjusting approaches to connect to cultures and sub-cultures with multiple businesses and functions? Are there a lot of people who have experienced the challenge and reward of influencing lean nay-sayers to become lean evangelists? For the benefit of Health Care, I hope the HR Director is right.
The manager of volunteering is on standby for my potential hospital sabbatical. It would be sad to turn in my hospital badge (after waiting so long for it). Despite fighting boredom at times, volunteering earned me what I was looking for – information and an affirmation Health Care is right for me. I would also miss seeing Grown Folks in Slippers and Pajamas (Crocs and Scrubs) especially after coming from an environment of steel toes and safety glasses.
After my rude awakening this spring, I am not so naive to think I will spend the next 20 years at my next company. The world has changed in the past two decades. It may be helpful, if I do land in manufacturing, to think of it as a bridge job. Don't get me wrong, I only know one way to work which is to put my heart, head, and hands into what I am doing. But, I don't want to have all my eggs in one basket ever again.
If I refocus on manufacturing, my blogging would probably go on sabbatical too at least in this form. I will continue to network, research, and participate in leading the kaizens which I have starting to get requests to do – mostly on the east coast.
But wait, I just received an e-mail from a hospital administrator which I have been networking with from a premier hospital in Dallas. I had offered to do a guest gemba for his staff who is studying Creating a Lean Culture. Additionally, I offered to be a thought partner to help brainstorm and strategize for disseminating lean beyond the model built in one part of the hospital.
The e-mail says he would like to set up time for us to meet with a prominent VP with a continuous improvement and lean mindset. Hmm, they are expanding their lean efforts. It would be an amazing place to work.
Coach Mike's hospital also called wanting me to interview with the director of the training and development department next week.
Maybe there is still hope for me in Health Care after all.
“Scott McDuffee is an experienced Lean professional who is currently searching for a new career opportunity. He is based in Mansfield, TX.