Recognize the need to hyper-focus your efforts around those key moments that determine your success

Michael Brown, M.D.

Recently, I was talking to a physician who has taken on a new role in an industry that sells to healthcare organizations. He commented that most of the time, it was not clear what his company wanted him to do. Clearly, they valued him when he presented to customers and prospects, but that was only a small percentage of his time. His company was paying him to work full-time, and he was struggling to figure out how to provide value to his organization for the rest of the time.

Since he is a Boston sports fan, I asked him how many hours a week does he think Tom Brady (quarterback for the New England Patriots) works? One can think of Tom Brady as only working a couple of hours each Sunday during the football season, but if that is all he did, he would never win. He has to work hard all week and, in the off-season, too. But hard work for the sake of hard work is not enough. He needs to figure out how to optimally prepare for those couple of hours each week. Otherwise, he will not achieve his goals.

Similarly, executives must avoid the trap of not giving their most important moments enough attention. Many executive roles have moments that are disproportionately important. It may be times when he or she needs to make key decisions or do important presentations. If that is the case for you, you need to think of ways to manage your time to increase the chances of your being successful during your key moments.

For the physician who finds him/herself in a new sales role, it might involve learning about customers/products/industry, networking, practicing presentation skills, or even just taking care of themselves so they are at their best when it counts. Some people derive comfort from being busy, but in the long term, we are all judged by the success we achieve in our top priorities. Usually, there is more we can do to prepare or be ready for those key moments, and we should try to ensure that we do not let these efforts get pushed aside by tasks of lesser importance.

Michael Brown, MD, MS, MCHM, CHCIO is a certified executive coach (Center For Executive Coaching) and Chief Medical Officer at Acesis, Inc. He was an instructor at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health for 8 years after graduating from their Masters in Healthcare Management program in 2007. For the 12 years prior to joining Acesis in 2014, Michael was the Chief Information Officer for Harvard University Health Services.