Decisions

Big mistake.

I made a big mistake recently and I am woman enough to admit it.

I failed to understand EXACTLY what decision was being informed by the report I had been asked to design.

How could this happen?

Simple. The client and I were using the exact same words to describe what we were trying to impart in the report, but we were telling two entirely different stories, which would inform two entirely different decisions.

Here is the first word that started us down this slippery slope:

Budget.

Followed by the acronym:

FTE’s.

I immediately went to financial budgets in my mind. Even after I saw and heard what the client was actually talking about – the nurses weekly staffing plan.

What they wanted to know was “do we have the right number and type of staff providing direct patient care every week and are we staying within our personnel budget.” I kept referencing the financial budget in my mind and as a result I kept coming up with a report design that missed the mark.

Finally light dawns over Marblehead.

I take minor consolation (and great pride I must admit) in Shirley Tierney (client’s team – nationally recognized nurse staffing expert). She used my own words to smack me upside the head and get me to understand what they needed. “That is not the story we need to tell Kathy… this is the story…”

Reminder to self – the same words (data) may be used to tell very different stories and inform very different decisions. Get it straight at the start.

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