Tips for Maneuvering Life’s Tornadoes

Business Strategy ConsultingI’ve been out of pocket for quite some time, dealing with issues surrounding my aging parents.  Although I am a business strategist with 26 years of healthcare experience, I still encountered many roadblocks and detours in trying to maneuver through the healthcare system over these past few weeks.  If I have had this much trouble, how difficult must it be for someone who has not worked in healthcare?

An executive leader needs to be prepared for all kinds of emergencies and challenges.  Below are two lists of things for executive leaders and managers to proactively consider concerning healthcare.  (I admit it—I learned some of the following tips the hard way in recent weeks.)


1)  Find out who your parents’ physicians are.  It is too late to start this process when you need to contact them as quickly as possible.

2)  Be familiar with the medications your parents take.  I had no idea my parents received medications from three different pharmacies!!!

3)  Have direct communication with your parents about Advance Directives.  Do you and your loved ones have written documents?  Do you understand the differences between palliative care, do not resuscitate, or full code?  Do you know what your parents’ wishes are in this area?

4)  Who has power of attorney in the event your parents become incapacitated? Someone still needs to pay the bills while they are in the hospital!

5)  Do you know your parents’ primary insurance?  Do they have secondary insurance also?  Do they have long term care insurance?  Do they qualify for veterans benefits?

6)  If death were to occur, do you know where the important papers are (like wills, life insurance policies, social security cards, etc.)?

7)  Do you know where your parents bank?  Who do they use for property and casualty (P&C) insurance?

8)  Do you know their pastor’s name and who their friends are?

9)  Do you know what company is the durable medical equipment provider?

10)  Do your parents have a preference for home health agencies?

11)  Do they prefer a particular hospital?

12)  Investigate and understand the various levels of care available, such as assisted living, independent living, skilled nursing, and so on.

Business Must Go On

When I received news that I was needed at the hospital for my dad and a few days later that my father-in-law had unexpectedly passed away, I didn’t know that I was going to be unavailable for six weeks!!!  I have a great team that continues without my daily oversight, but I learned the hard way that I wasn’t prepared to be out for six weeks without suffering some business consequences.  Learn from my experience.  Be proactive and setup the following:

1)  Create a folder of information to temporarily guide your colleagues and/or employees in case you aren’t available for a while.  (This should include key client names and contact numbers, accounts payable, accounts receivable, etc.)

2)  Make sure a list of pending contracts is available.  Who knows what business is being negotiated?  Who can negotiate in your absence?

3)  Ensure someone else has check-signing authority.  The bills still have to be paid in your absence!

4)  Designate a backup decision maker in case of your absence.

5)  Who is responsible for maintaining your calendar and/or email?  Do you have a backup?

6)  Use your last operations assessment as a tool to determine your emergency readiness.  Can you be absent for six weeks and still have a company?

Life happens whether you are ready for it or not.  Family should always be your primary concern, but your organization must be able to continue with or without your immediate presence.  As leaders, it is important to develop people, processes, and technology that will continue to operate for some period of time regardless of the circumstances.  We don’t always have advance warning of life’s tornadoes!

Thanks team for keeping it going!  It is good to be back at work!!!