Finish This Year Strong

How We Conclude One Year Prepares Us for the Next

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

How has this year been in your healthcare call center? I suspect you’re ready for it to end. Though you may feel that way every year, the magnitude may be more pronounced this year.

All the rapid changes and stressors in the healthcare industry pile additional burdens on the call centers that support them. Practitioners expect you to do more, and patients want you to do it better. You’re stuck in the middle. In addition, there are staffing issues, employee compensation expectations, and budget constraints.

In situations like these, often the tendency is to merely hold on for the rest of the year and enjoy whatever holiday respite you can squeeze out. You won’t think about—or worry about—next year until the time comes.

But I encourage you to do just the opposite.

Strive to finish this year strong. Though you may feel like coasting, don’t. Continue the momentum you have behind you to make the most of this year’s remaining days. This will best set you up for success next year. And doesn’t everyone want that?

The following are some ideas to help you finish this year strong.

Enjoy This Season

Though your work is important, it’s not everything—at least it shouldn’t be. Take time to enjoy this holiday season in your nonwork moments. Whenever you have the opportunity, enjoy the holidays at work too. Remember the adage about all work and no play. Don’t be that person.

Thank Your Staff

Just because Thanksgiving in the United States has passed, that doesn’t mean the time of being thankful is behind us. Take the time to thank your staff. Be intentional. In a job that is short on appreciation and too often focused on criticism, a heartfelt thank-you can go a long way to let your staff know you care.

Smile whenever you can. Do this even when you don’t feel like it—especially if you don’t feel like it. Smiles are contagious. Never forget that. Let your countenance communicate your thankfulness throughout the day, even when you don’t say the words.

Celebrate Your Stakeholders

Remember why you do the work you do. It’s to help others better address their healthcare needs and make their life better. Without them, you wouldn’t have a job. Don’t forget to celebrate them.

The patients and callers who contact you every day are your biggest group of stakeholders. Yes, they may be crabby at times and occasionally critical. But use this as a reminder to know how important the services you provide are to them and their lives. After all, if what you did for them didn’t matter, they wouldn’t care how you did it.

Your stakeholders also include your boss, your employer, and your organization—be it a for-profit business or a nonprofit entity. These are all stakeholders in your call center operation. Celebrate all of them.

Wrap Up What You Can

As you go about these initiatives, look at your project list. Surely you won’t be able to finish all your projects all this year but resist the urge to let them all carry over into next year. Each project you can knock off this year is one less thing on your plate for next. And won’t it be a relief knowing it won’t be hanging over your head in the coming twelve months?


To finish this year strong, first remember to enjoy the season. As you do, thank your staff and celebrate your stakeholders. Finally, wrap up whatever pending projects you can so they don’t dog you into next year.

When you take these steps, you’ll be poised to finish this year strong, paving the way for success next year.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

Learn about his books and read more of his articles at