Inspired By WHY You Can Climb Mountains

I had the same experience as many young parents; I had a child who asked WHY (it seemed like a thousand times a day). I did try to answer, but that generated another why. When I ran out of ideas to respond in a way a three-year-old would understand, I said “because.” For some reason, we were then able to move on. These are fun memories of a child’s mind waking up to ideas and loving to learn.

Some new rules that come at us as an organization make no sense to me, and I have given up trying to explain a rational reason. So, when faced with a new rule, I tell my team that we need to follow it “because.” Sometimes I offer natural solutions like they wanted to make the process easier, and it backfired. However, when it comes to the methods we elect to create, the routines and rituals of our own making, I am at a loss when someone does not know why.

As an adult, I want to know why and to create and be part of the creation process. Recently our residential services program experienced one of these uncertain WHY’s with no answer visible.

In residential services, we are funded for each client by an intensity scoring system — which is not part of the individual planning meetings. An independent agency contracted by the government scores the intensity level. But people do not live in groupings by intensity level, unlike a hospital where you staff a floor based on level of intensive care, step down, etc. So, we need to translate the service plan and the intensity scores into shift ratios. These ratios cover where a person is, like at home, in the community, etc. They do not cover when a person is at home with family or in the community with another provider, which makes it more difficult for our organization.

So how do we create a workable schedule within these parameters? How do we maximize flexibility for staff working and meet the client’s personal needs? We start with budgeted hours in total, then adjust our staff in a way that makes sense. Schedules need to be workable and need to avoid gaps in coverage. Open positions need to be as attractive to new staff as the current schedules are to the current staff.

Get ready to plan. Gather your facts. You have 336 hours maximum per week of authorized hours of direct support. Who will you include in the discussion? How will you handle conflicts? What is the outcome you are hoping for? What options would you consider?

Use this thought process to come up with a plan:

P: Plan… Identify the problem by engaging the people who do the work and discovering where and why it started. Plan improvements to test, create the action plan, and then the emancipation begins here.

D: Do…Implement the plan by engaging with people in the process.

C: Check…Analyze the results to see if everything went as planned. Are there any tweaks needed? How can we implement new routines and rituals to sustain the positive changes?

A: Share the learning. Standardize the process (implement those new routines and rituals), reflect, and celebrate the improvements.

I can guarantee you that if you miss a step, your plan will not likely work; and if it works, it won’t last. This model of planning, called the PDCA cycle, is essential. It reflects a deep belief in liberation. It will get us over any hurdle we may encounter. It works, but it too is fueled by WHY. Without the WHY, it will just not feel worth the effort. What’s your WHY?