“What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today!”
That classic line is just a small sampling of why Groundhog Day is one of my favorite films. After 20 years, the comedy still holds up extremely well for many reasons, including Bill Murray’s dry wit — delivered brilliantly, and the fact that the concept of the movie is relatable.
Although it’s unlikely that any of us will wake up day after day still finding that it’s February 2, as weatherman Phil Connors did, most of us have at one time or another experienced déjà vu. Defined by Wikipedia as “the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced had been experienced in the past,” déjà vu can present itself in many forms.
Last year, while attending the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas, I had a generous helping of “I’ve been here before” syndrome. Each day, I found myself in the media room, where I fought off other reporters trying to steal my chair (despite the fact that I was visibly pregnant) and took meeting after meeting with vendor representatives, PR people, and marketing professionals wanting to know how we can work together. Nothing unusual about that.
But here’s the thing — as anyone who is familiar with our site already knows, healthsystemCIO.com is not your typical publication. The crux of our content is the podcast interviews for which many CIOs have generously given their time. That’s what we do. It’s no secret — it’s all there on our website.
So when I’m inevitably asked “how can we work with you,” or get a request for an editorial calendar, I start to hear Sony and Cher belt out “I Got You Babe” as I explain, once again, our editorial policy. (FYI — we don’t use an editorial calendar because we believe they negatively impact the content of our quality by requiring us to cover topics that may no longer be relevant). I tell them that we are interested in interviewing customers who are hospital CIOs, and that although the product or service being offered by the company will come up in the discussion, the interview will not be centered around it.
In my experience, this hasn’t been met with enthusiasm. In fact, the facial expression I often see is the same one I get when I hear things like, “Dr. X is running a little behind,” or “You’ll have to contact your insurance company.”
In other words, it’s not good. For both parties, it can feel like the past 30 minutes — not to mention all of the time and effort that were required to set up the meeting — was a waste of time. And that just shouldn’t happen. Relationships with vendors are absolutely critical, but there’s got to be a better way.
It’s that type of thinking that inspired Anthony and I to shake things up this year. We feel that formal, often-rushed meetings in crowded media rooms aren’t the best outlet for discussing opportunities. This year, we’re opting for a much more casual setting and holding an offsite Meet & Greet instead of scheduling individual meetings. We believe that having informal chats in a relaxed setting provides a better venue to catch up with friends and get acquainted with prospective partners. It’s a more effective use of our time, and we hope it will take some of the repetitiveness out of the standard meetings, and enable us to get to know each other better. And that, in turn, can help us both to understand how we can, in fact, work together.
We realize that it’s very different from what’s been done in the past, but that can be a good thing. Because after all, no one wants to relive Groundhog Day.