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Are We Holding the Right Suitcase?

By Joey Havens

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two suitcases

CeCe and I are enjoying the opportunity to travel again and seeing some of our best friends from across the country is simply wonderful. Now the actual travel with the airlines is another blog for another time. Today, we are returning from a long weekend with friends where we enjoyed the Super Bowl together. What a great game; in fact, all of the playoff games were very exciting this year.

As you might know from previous blogs, CeCe has a tough time packing in one suitcase and when she accomplishes that, the limit of 50 pounds can be a real problem. It’s pretty embarrassing to open up suitcases in the middle of the airport and start redistributing weight. Ha! To CeCe’s credit, we have not had to do that in many years. She has a real skill at hitting that 49 number. Is 49 on the roulette wheel? It’s a sure bet in the airport.

So we’re getting in line and CeCe always likes for me to pick up her suitcase and tell her if I think it’s under 50 pounds. Reaching down, I pick up the suitcase and jiggle it a little, “Cece, this feels like you really packed well. It’s nowhere near 50!”

Cece laughs, “you picked up the wrong suitcase!”

Glancing down at the suitcase in my hand, I realize I have my suitcase and not hers. It felt great and it was an easy lift but it was not the right problem. Having a great laugh together, we head to the baggage drop where another blog begins next week.

The wrong suitcase! How often do we try to serve clients by solving the wrong problem?

It’s easy to show up and work on the wrong problem. When we assume they want the same service as last year, we frequently solve the wrong problem. When we work on the compliance aspect of our engagement, we miss the suitcase of problems altogether. When we don’t collaborate with clients, we miss a suitcase full of opportunities. When clients are presenting problems, if we don’t ask clarifying questions, we often end up working only on the symptom, in other words, the wrong problem. Questions lead to clarity for our clients and ourselves as to the real underlying problem.

When we don’t collaborate with clients on hard trends, trends that will happen, we miss opportunities and problems that will result from these hard trends. Telemedicine is a hard trend and we will see more healthcare delivered via telemedicine. This affects most healthcare organizations and providers. If we ignore this and focus only on crowded waiting rooms, we are working on the wrong problem.

Strategically ignoring changes in business models leaves us working on the wrong problems. Most business models today need, at a minimum, digital convergence and all have new emerging opportunities and problems due to the transformation in technology and how we are working and choosing to live. As the pandemic hit, change accelerated beyond imagination. How many of us were solving the wrong problems? We need to spend time with our clients on strategic vision and direction to understand the right problems to solve.

Are we holding the right suitcase?