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Having used the monkey article and reference many times while teaching was a very useful tool. Recently, I made reference to this for a subordinate who took on tasks from his staff. The one issue to handle is when a subordinate doesn't perform a task and the avoidance is for the purpose of getting the administrator/manager to do the work. This type of person must be confronted with the negative consequence of their actions. Terrific article.Alex
Interesting. The role of a REAL medical director, as opposed to one hired to fill empty beds, is filled with monkeys. The need for powerful progressive QA/PI is the preview of a REAL medical director and this article amazingly addresses the barriers I've found as a medical director. I'm going to put this to work and see if quality improvement results. Thanks
Fifteen years into my twenty year career of collecting, feeding, and taking great pride in my large collection of monkeys, I finally learned and started practicing this principle. At the time I had a excellent team so the transition to this mindset was easy. I can't begin to tell you what a positive effect it had on my work performance; my family life; my health; and even more importantly, a re-newed passion for what I have always loved doing. Great article. Just wish I had learned it in year three!
As a student entering the field this article is great! Already in my AIT I am taking on too many monkeys, taking them home with me at the end of the day until they completely exhaust me. Thank you for this and the highlighting tip - something I will definitely use!!
and then there are the FLYING Monkeys - the ones NOBODY wants to do....or is able to do.
Dave, nice job. Speaking as a casualty (or fatality) of this very issue, I can attest to the principles here 100%. I'm always curious about what people use to "know" their monkeys, tasks, etc. Given the close relationship between time management & monkey management, have you discovered a great time management tool / system that effectively discharges monkeys?
A colleague of mine shared with me his secret for seeing his EMAIL MONKEYS a few years back. And this usually takes a bigger leap of faith, but it is HUGE for my ability to SEE my monkeys and act quickly on them. "A monkey is whatever the next move is when dialogue between two parties ends," right? Therefore, emails become a massive collection of monkeys. So, here's what I do … I delete EVERYTHING that doesn't REQUIRE a response. My Trash folder becomes my massive archive if I ever need to review an email from before. I TRY to keep my inbox below 10. I have 8 in there right now (I have 24,985 in my Trash Folder). Again, I delete everything that doesn't require a response, a next move. So my inbox are only monkeys that need my attention. I'll sometimes put on my calendar an email/monkey to address if it can't be done immediately or if I'm in the middle of other more important things. It gives me a tremendous sense of control and organization. I breathe/sleep easy knowing that I don't have monkeys hidden in an inbox of 10,000 emails (those hidden/forgotten monkeys are the ones that undermine my credibility with people who are WAITING forever for me to respond). I do not use folders to organize emails from So-And-So or emails on a certain topic. I'll use Evernote to record emails on a certain topic of a project I'm working on. Folders are just more hiding places for monkeys. It could take a weekend to thin out your inbox depending on the size. So, you may just want to rip off the bandaid and delete everything older than two months and thin from there.
Solid principles in here. wish I would have read this earlier in my career! Thanks for writing it
What an awesome article. Well said Dave!