SONO Creativity Series

“What If I Did the Opposite?”


You cannot be creative in an environment where everything is static. You must deliberately make a change to the system if you want to tap into your creativity.  You have to be strategic in the introduction of new thought processes into a system.  This takes effort. This takes action. You may have a system that is working well and has produced success for a long time. You may be comfortable in consistency. But your competition is changing and innovating and could end up taking you down as a result of your consistency and comfortability.

Today is the day for you to start thinking differently.

Let’s start by considering the idea of thinking in opposites.  Thinking in opposites is all about a radical change in thought regarding any single matter of your business or hospice agency.  Today is the day to sit down and force your mind to play with a new idea and see what sparks from the creative playtime. 

Last week I was at a hospice conference in which no one wanted to come to our booth. 

No one.

This inevitably led to me asking myself a simple question:

What can I do differently to create situations where I am able to have meaningful conversations with hospice leaders?

What if I did the opposite?

The answer was simple:

Don’t hope they will stop by your booth and say “Hi”, instead, create a reason for them to want to seek you out. 

Create a desire to find you or hunt you down.  Sure, that makes sense, but how?

I left the booth immediately and went directly to my hotel room to craft a solution: A hospice creativity workbook that helps hospices reinvent their culture and ignite real innovation. 

If I could pull this off, at the next conference, the attendees who have read my work on creative hospices would want to come find me. 

What if hospice leaders were looking at the roster of attendees to see if I would be there as opposed to the industry norm of vendors looking at the attendance list to see what hospices will be there?

Talk about a paradigm switch. Or, thinking in opposites.

This change of approach led to an amazing idea that has been the focus of my life for the past two weeks. 

What if every hospice patient was enrolled in the EMR with notes as to who they are, NOT confined in our minds by their admitting diagnosis?

  • Teacher.

  • Veteran.

  • Grandfather of 20.

  • Married for 51 years.

What if each nurse and aide had to learn three things about the patient before the first visit?

This would cause them to see the patient first as the special and unique person that they are, then their disease state.

Would that change of perception, spread throughout the whole hospice, positively alter the manner in which you engaged with the patient? 

What if your Key Performance Indicators measured the number of positive dialogues with your patients about their lives and the items that are important to them? 

What would that do for your relationships with family, friends, and referral sources? 

Spoiler alert: It would do A LOT.

Which is why most of the best hospices in the United States are already doing some form of this marvelous patient engagement.

Start with something simple.

Purposefully think differently. 

Have the courage to ask, “Can we reinvent this adequately functioning system and transform it into something truly impactful?

Have the courage to think in opposites.

Take time to celebrate the success. 

Then, do it all over again.

Dr. Mark Lewandowski

Co-Founder of SONO Hospice Solutions