Being Focused When It Comes To Financial Performance Improvement

Every organisation, no matter what sector it operates in faces financial challenges from time. When this occurs it can be all too easy to take a scatter gun approach to improving the financial performance.

For example you work up a long list of areas where there could be potential. I know in the course of my career in accountancy I have seen lists going to 10 or 20 pages.

Now while you might not want to limit or dampen enthusiasm, it’s really important to get focus.

One way to do that is to map all of your opportunities on an impact and importance grid.


How it works is that you take your list of ideas and essentially rank them in terms of both impact and importance.

Armed with this you can are much better placed to make informed choices about where you focus attention.

For example when I was a Finance Director in the NHS one of the issues we had was the high cost of temporary staff and this is still a big issue for many NHS organisations.

This is going to be of high importance to both use of resources and patient care. It will also have a high impact if you on both patient care and use of resources.

By focusing on this as a strategic initiative you can really drill down and understand what the blocks are and plan the way forward.

Now you are probably going to know some of the factors contributing to high costs of temporary staff like:

• Vacancies
• Sickness
• One to one nursing for specific patients
• Price paid

On the other hand there could well be other factors that are not helping fill roles. It might be perceptions, the way a ward or department is run, the levels of flexibility on the way gaps or covered, the absence of any real structured proactive workforce planning and even the availability of affordable accommodation.

The thing is obtaining this level of insight takes time and this is often the limiting factor.

By being focused attention and energy goes to those areas where there is likely to be greatest benefit.

Duncan Brodie helps NHS organisations the areas of leadership, change and improvement.