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How to rid your EMS work life of complexity

Overloaded with too much information, email, presentations and meetings, it’s easy to see why a major complaint among managers is that they are working more but achieving less

Updated February 2015

Overloaded with too much information, e-mail, presentations and meetings, it’s easy to see why a major complaint among managers is that they are working more but achieving less.

It only takes two steps to begin to eliminate some of the complexity in your life, but it’s up to you to take the first step, says Ron Ashkenas, a managing partner at Robert H. Schaffer & Associates, a Stamford, Ct., management consulting firm, and the author of the book Simply Effective: How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done.

Step One
The first step is to avoid being complicit in creating your own unnecessary work, Ashkenas says. How many times have you attended a meeting, or called one, without a clear agenda or objective? Have you received or sent unnecessary e-mails without thinking or asking senders to avoid hitting the “reply to all” button? Have you sat through a presentation with too many unclear points and never provided feedback to the presenter or made the same mistake with no one pointing it out to you? If so, challenge this culture of complexity. Have an agenda for every meeting, he suggests, with three slides for every presentation.

Step Two
The second step is to recruit others to your cause. Your colleagues are likely unaware of how they complicate life for you and others, so enlighten them. Slowly begin to identify the sources of complexity throughout the company, no matter how small, and collectively decide how they can be overcome.

Produced in partnership with NEMSMA, Paramedic Chief: Best Practices for the Progressive EMS Leader provides the latest research and most relevant leadership advice to EMS managers and executives. From emerging trends to analysis and insight, practical case studies to leadership development advice, Paramedic Chief is packed with useful, valuable ideas you simply can’t get anywhere else.