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Employees Before Patients: Heresy? Or Management Gold?

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, November 9, 2012

Culture should be most refined process in your organization, they argue. Yes, developing a culture of teamwork, purpose and fun is all common sense stuff, but leaders—at least in healthcare—haven't realized how important it is.

"All a bunch of new age crap?" Berrett asks. "No. You would think this is intuitive, but it's really not intuitive. The science is profound and research significant."

Leading like that also, much to leaders' surprise, says Berrett, requires less focus on bureaucracy.

"If we engage a team doing this with a purpose—a greater vision for the purpose behind what they're doing, the bureaucracy takes care of itself," Berrett says, equating internal bureaucracy to the creation of stifling rules to keep motorists safe from the worst drivers. "But if everyone's in alignment, you have [fewer] rules."

As part of their research, the two have created a website to measure an institution's "cultural IQ" through a series of questions. Once leaders see the results from their own team, it engages them in necessary conversations "that you might not have otherwise had," says Berrett.

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2 comments on "Employees Before Patients: Heresy? Or Management Gold?"


Deb (11/16/2012 at 4:27 PM)
Human beings can't give what they don't have. This is very simply why patient experience must start with employee's well-being – on all levels. In a 2010 research study, when asked what supports and creates a healing experience for staff, medical professionals in a range of positions all said "caring for self." Upon further inquiry, this wasn't simply eat right, exercise and (even with hospital shift hours) sleep. Self-caring includes interactions with others, clinical and business processes and even the business model that actually support well-being. Research revealed qualities or attributes of what this. Equipped with such qualities, every person, whether the engineer keeping the temperature just right, or the night nurse, or the CFO, can make decisions moment-to-moment, adjust behaviors, processes, and emotional qualities to embody self-caring. For example, one attribute is connection. Respondents said this includes peer to peer connection; staff and patient connection; and spiritual connection. In what ways does your organization embody each of those for each staff person to have that as their daily experience? Research Study Executive Summary: http://experienceinmotion.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Executive-Summary-5-Dimensions-of-Self-Caring.pdf Research report available: http://experienceinmotion.net/staff-experience/

Mary K Parker (11/10/2012 at 7:47 PM)
The workers in the trenches often have better ideas about how to get the organization where it needs to be. The senior leadership has a better idea of the regulatory pressures the organization faces. Unfortunately, there's usually a huge chasm between the trenches and the towers, and very little communication happens in either direction. This book title is true. If the senior leadership looks after its workers and removes the obstacles and barriers to getting the job done, miracles can happen.