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A Recent Illness Taught Me Something

It taught me something about business and supply chain resiliency.

It has taken me a while to get back on my feet. 

Many of you will not know that I recently underwent a significant health challenge and a number will have noticed I have not sent a newsletter for some time. I am happy to report I am back on deck (I hear a very low level of cheers, thanks for that…) and my time in and out of hospitals and doctors’ surgeries have given me some insights I’d like to share with you.

Firstly, communication is key. I was provided very little information on what to expect. I needed two rounds of invasive “surgery” or “procedures” – the first to remove what could be removed and a stent inserted to help clean up the area; and the second involving complete removal of the offending matter. In preparation on the day of the procedure the doctor told me what was to happen, and that afterwards (and I remember these words SOOOO clearly), “you may experience some discomfort”.

The pain was horrendous, so much so I nearly passed out. And this happened every time I went to the bathroom – something I could not avoid because I was being pumped full of water to help flush out the system. I was thinking there was something seriously wrong and was deeply regretting the decision I had made to have the procedure done.

It wasn’t until I spoke to the doctor’s office and his nurse that I got to understand what was causing the pain. When she explained it to me she indicated what was happening was completely normal and everyone before me had experienced the same thing. The knowledge she imparted to me informed my understanding and was extraordinarily helpful. Knowing what was happening helped me deal with the intensity of the pain. 

Why in heaven’s name didn’t the doctor tell me?! My guess is that he is the technician, he does this every day of the week and has done so for many, many years. You see he was one of the leading doctors in this field. I think this is so routine to him that it didn’t cross his mind that some of the basic knowledge he takes for granted is not known by his patients.

What I have leant from this is, I am also the technical expert in the work I do with executives. And while CEOs and business owners know their business well, sometimes they may not know the basic things about the work I do with supply chains and technology, or the reasoning behind why I do what I do the way I do it. It has brought home to me that I need to at least start the conversation around some of the basics to ensure clients fully understand this information. They too may find it extraordinarily helpful in understanding what is going on and how to deal with the pain of transitioning from a situation where you want or need improvements, through to the point where that improvement has been delivered and you are reaping the rewards of that effort.

Secondly, basic skills are key. The nursing profession has changed a lot over the years and, in my opinion, not necessarily for the better. There seemed to be a lot of focus on process and not so much on outcome. My recent experience showed me just how a combination of busyness, skills, levels of care and hospital procedures led to a situation where a post op issue with me was not identified and I had to go back into the emergency department one day after being released to have this issue rectified. I was in agony after being released from hospital. The issue was totally preventable and was caused by no one actually checking with me to see if I was experiencing certain symptoms. The nurses were all busy ticking boxes and not spending time with the patient checking in with what was happening with them on a broader view.

The lesson here for me is to continue the open and frank communication I have with clients to regularly pulse check things to ensure we remain on track and to continue to ask the probing questions I do.

If you’re an executive or owner of a mid-sized or large company and want to discuss ideas on how you can use systems and technology to dramatically improve efficiency, decrease costs, and increase profits and enhance scalability, give me a call


© David Ogilvie

communication, ERP improvement

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