I recently read:
“the trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised...”
Reminding me of the demands put on us today to “deliver more for less”. How is it possible, let alone how can we be expected to deliver:
• high quality services;
• sound management and leadership;
• innovative solutions;
• real outcomes for those we are here to serve;
• more when there are even less resources available.
There is nothing new here; our own experiences have shown that with the right approach less can actually achieve more.
“You must be dreaming!” I can hear you say. Well no, not dreaming, simply seeing how we can face the reality of health and social care today.
Many have followed TV series such as Downtown Abbey from which we can see great examples of how we today are able to do more with less.
Where society existed around the lives of wealthy families who engaged enormous teams of staff just to look after their daily needs e.g. footman, ladies maid, cooks, butlers, scullery maids, house maids, gardeners, nannies, shoppers, etc.
Take the activity of the household shopper once a full-time job purely undertaking the shopping. This activity evolved and replaced the housekeeper purchasing from mobile home deliveries.
Later replaced by local traditional and corner shops including the local butchers, bakers, hardware, grocers and newsagents and later local stores. The last 40 years have seen massive transformational changes in our high streets and local shops as:
• supermarkets and super stores appearing and traditional shops closed down;
• small shops, selling similar items stayed open much later;
• supermarkets stayed open even longer and longer hours and many small corner shops disappeared;
• out of town supermarkets (hyper markets) emerged, enticing shopping away from city centres;
• now home online shopping with home deliveries, consumers gain more for less with more consistent quality and often better choice.
The last 100 years has seen major changes in the way we choose to shop. Today we are shoppers who seek far more for less. Following a shopping journey from:
• Being served: the shopkeeper, finding all the goods on the customers shopping list. Shops would often deliver the goods to the customers’ homes.
• Selecting own goods: with the customer choosing items off the shelves themselves, using self service and packing their own goods and taking their own good home themselves.
• Shopping online: via the internet with goods delivered to customers homes within 24 hours.
This evolution of how we shop clearly shows that we have not found it disadvantageous acclimatising to nor accepting that we can get more with less. In fact it has motivated us to buy more.
In the world of health and social care we care can learn so much from the evolution of shopping.
It may seem unrealistic to expect anyone to achieve more with less, but in reality it is only a different way of thinking. We must let go of our predetermined outlook and:
• impose a self discipline to keep ourselves on track;
• hold firm to what our customers want and keep our vision and beliefs alive;
• take the plunge, live in the real world and make it happen;
• take ownership to be a part of the change and achieve more with less.