A Painful Business. Acute or Chronic, which is Worse?

Eleanor Barlow 

In healthcare acute conditions are often very sudden and severe. Breaking a bone or having a heart attack are such instances. In comparison, chronic pain takes longer to develop and can often lie undetected for many years. Yet, while the pain experienced with a chronic issue, such as osteoporosis, may not be as sudden, we must note that such a condition can cause an acute break in a bone in the future. The same goes for your business model…let me explain.

There are two things businesses often suffer from. Acute issues and problems and chronic issues and problems. Nearly always, acute business problems get dealt with at some point because they cause a great deal of pain in a short space of time. Things such as not making payments on time or forgetting to order more paper are such examples. These issues are tangible and tangible pain can be picked up on in the numbers and the metrics of an organisation easily. With these issues highlighted quickly, in the form of graphs and charts, solving said issues becomes an easier task.

Yet, while acute pain can cause serious pain in an instant, chronic pain is much more debilitating in the long run for any business. Because it is intangible, chronic pain is very difficult to spot. Little frustrations, emotions and niggles that build up within your workplace culture can lie undetected for many years. Aspects that your employees “just put up with” because it is too much drama to fix, such as an IT system that is very poor, or a fragmented management, can cause a great deal of frustration. These issues, when experienced by everybody as a whole, can become acute pain and, like an acute illness, can become very debilitating. Despite this, we all put up with it.

What is interesting is that we analysed (for an organisation who shall remain anonymous) some comments that were categorised by members of staff as being neutral and, therefore, of no real relevance. Yet, when we ran our emotion graph over the exact same data, the dominant emotion was in fact frustration. This goes to show that, not only do organisations not know what to search for in their data, but that we put up with a lot of frustration without recognising that it is a real problem at all.

That’s what we are here to do. Pansensic recognise that the only way you can really measure the intangible aspects is through the experience of your staff. That is why the right types of questions need to be asked, and the right type of data analysis needs to be used to highlight the frustrations in your organisation and to highlight and stop chronic pain from becoming an acute problem in your business.

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