What Would You Do?

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By AHRA Staff

February 2011–Every month, a hypothetical industry and management related situation is posted. You are encouraged to share your thoughts (in the Comment box below) on how you would resolve the issue. Be sure to check out others’ responses and join the discussion.

Here is this month’s scenario:

You suspect that a newly installed process is being sabotaged by someone in your department.  How do you deal with this situation and prevent a possible incident, especially when you do not have clear evidence or it is not openly apparent—just a gut feeling?


  1. Communicate, communicate and over communicate. List the WHAT, HOW and the WHY to the process change so to enlist staff. Publish this document on the Radiology Intranet. Poster boards if appropriate.

    Discuss with chiefs of modalities what is expected of them to counter negative behavior.

  2. A gut feeling would not necessarily be an indication of sabotage, but seeing results that did not align with expectations would trigger more communiction and training as a first step. Odds are that I might have a gut feeling who or what was causing the discrepancy so at that point I would review the process and try to identify where the breakdown was happening. It might also be helpful to interview some employees I felt were high performers to get their input on how things were working for them and ask for ideas to improve the process. If my intuition pointed me to someone I thought had the potential for sabotaging the program (based on experience with those employees) then I would interview them and ask how they were handling the new initiative.

  3. I might try to isolate the suspected person in some way. Possibly assign them to an area that is not involved in the process, or to an area in which they are the sole tech/worker. Other options include computer audit trails and close review/oversight of the process at each step.
    The best process would be not to get in the situation in the first place. Communicate openly with the staff about the needs to improve a process. Have staff involved in the discussion of various options for improving the process and them make staff aware of the reasons for the decision to implement a process. Make sure training is completed and thorough for the process and then follow to evaluate the results.
    If someone is still not performing correctly then re-training and finally disciplinary action may be necessary.

  4. I would investigate by speaking with all staff members involved to find out if there were any issues with following the new process. I would ask if there were any known roadblocks in completing the required tasks. If no “problem” staff members were identified after this investigation, I would create a check-off sheet to explain exactly what needs done and when it needs done to meet this new process. I would require each shift to leave a completed and signed check-off sheet for the oncoming shift supervisor to show that the process was followed. I would ask each on-coming shift staff member to report any issues that they discover to their superivsor immediately. I would only require this checklist to be used until my monitoring has been completed. If I could narrow down the “problem” and when it occurred, I could then identify the “problem employee”. I would call that employee into my office, ask questions, and have a firm discussion on expectations, with a documentation of conversation. Any further disregard of expectations would then become a performance issue. If there were safety issues involved, I would follow our disciplinary process.

  5. Communicate and train and retrain. I might try a little reverse psychology and after some intense training have this individual under supervision be the trainer for other staff. This way not only does the tech have to use there knowledge in a positive manner it makes them to busy to worry about how they don’t like change. Redirecting them into a more teaching and responsible manner. If that didn’t work then one on one conversations about work expectations.

  6. Change is always initially met with resistance. Howver, the key is to communicate. It may be necessary to bring the “suspect” into the process by assigning them a part where they feel involved. This way this person joins the team. If they are not receptive of being involved in the process then disciplinary action may be necessary. You want to create an atmosphere of team building, accountability and pride.

  7. Put the ‘susspected” individual in charge of monitoring compliance and enagage the indiviudal in dialog about the reason for the change.

  8. As the nature of the process is not explained, it might just be resistance to change.
    Some processes are more obviously beneficial than others, and those that are perceived as bothersome, with no obvious improvement in work flow, are sometimes perceived as either a waste of time, or simply an additional demand on already overtaxed staff.

    “Catching” the perpetrator may have unintended consequences, as it may lead to retaliatory actions if the staff sympathizes with the suspected individual.

    If the process has clear benefits, either in reducing work, increasing productivity, or increasing quality of care, a clarification in how the process will improve life in the department should be more clearly communicated. On the other hand, if the process is simply perceived as bothersome, and no clear justification can be offered, one may wish to reconsider its implementation.

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