Saturday, May 5, 2007

Escaping the Dead End Corridor

Even though I'm on leave, I still went in to work today. I had the doctor look at The Son's induration (it was healing), I physically signed out on leave, and I reviewed my email and action items. I compiled statistics and submitted the monthly Division Officer report because I wouldn't be back before the deadline. I fretted about sending one of the corpsmen to the ICU.

Ultimately, the corpsman I decided on was the result of my reading Marcus Buckingham's book, "Now, Discover Your Strengths." If this corpsman sees something that needs to be done, rather than finding a junior corpsman to take care of it, he simply does it himself. He knows a lot from his year on the floor, he has college experience, and he is older and dedicated to the Navy as a career. His strengths are his maturity, his ability to take initiative, and his clinical skills and expertise.

His weakness, as he relayed to me, is his inability to delegate. "It's just easier and faster to do it myself," he said.

I have identified two concepts here:

1. Many times it IS much easier to do it yourself. Picking up litter and answering the telephone are low-level tasks that require no additional training beyond common sense and commitment to teamwork.

2. You should always be training your replacement. There was no need for me to submit a report while on leave. I should have trained someone else to do it. I have to explain where to find the data for the reports and how to update the charts. I have to obtain permissions for the other person to be a contributor online. I have to show them how to review and respond to requests for additional information from higher-ups. I haven't done any of that and it's only a monthly report, so I also need to generate a "how-to" for my desktop reference, "Instant Division Officer Handbook - just add respirations."

I've shoved fistfuls of paper into this 3-inch binder and I haven't organized anything and I haven't made it easier for the next person to step into my shoes. When I first arrived here, I dutifully noted the heavily stenciled warning above the double doors: Dead End Corridor No Exit. I joke that the sign leading to my office is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Well, it will be if I don't start training my replacement now.

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