Avoid The Triage Trip Up
Learn some tactical tricks from the battle field and the medical world to more effectively manage yourself in relation to time and get more done.
Let’s face it…there is always going to be more to do than we can do. Good or bad, we are easily accessible to information and vice versa.
Information overload unfortunately has become a way of life for many. The more we know, the more we know we don’t know. That ambiguity can cause overwhelm and even paralysis by analysis. That’s not good if growing or sustaining your business depends on getting things done.
Knowing how to process information effectively and act on it resourcefully becomes a critical business building issue. In the medical world, a medical team’s ability to effectively triage is the difference between life and death.
In business, triage involves categorizing desired goals & outcomes and the processes that support them based on their relative importance to achieving a stated measurable goal or outcome. Using the same triage categories employed by military medical and disaster medical services, business processes can be categorized as essential/critical (red) important/urgent (yellow), or optional/supportive (green).
In a business triage model, resources are allocated based on the outcome/goal and process category/rank, with resources first dedicated to red, then yellow, and finally green categories. In the event that resources become limited, resources are first withheld from green, then yellow categories. Resources are only withheld from red categories if failure to achieve outcomes/goals is acceptable.
The challenge most business owners experience is becoming overwhelmed by all that needs to get done and not possessing the best decision making system to provide the framework.
Here is a simple and natural framework that each of us needs to give conscious thought to developing.
Information comes at us from all angles: via situations, email, snail mail, in person, telephone, television, web, radio and print media. The triage loop through which we all, consciously or unconsciously, process incoming information is: What is it? What does it mean to me? And, what am I supposed to do with it?
Unless we become clear of the red-yellow-green categories it is difficult to answer the ongoing looping triage questions. Although asking the questions initially serves to help develop those red-yellow-green categories .
The only reason things pile up at work is due to a lack of an effective red-yellow-green system through which to process the triage looping questions.
Think of it this way. In business or life you are either sporting a Velcro suit or a Teflon suite. As information comes at you it can stick to you because you have no systems to channel the incoming elements and things pile up on top of you. Or, you have upgraded to a Teflon suite by having systems in place that allow you to deflect the incoming elements and channel everything where it needs to go, how it needs to go, and when it needs to go, in order to keep things flowing to get things done in the best way possible.
This week try this: As things come at you, consciously ask yourself the triage loop questions. As you become aware and start to see patterns with regard to what things mean and what you need to do about them start to build out your red-yellow-green system. This will reveal what your business values are. As Roy Disney said, “When your values are clear, your decisions are easy.”
It takes some work to get clear on your value categories and it is well worth it. Good Luck!
Make it up, make it fun & make it happen!
Learn more about the author, Machen MacDonald.
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