Connecting Hearts and Minds
The Power of Sharing Your Own Story
by Don Dean, Studer Group senior leader, coaching division
Purpose, worthwhile work, and making a difference. It’s why each of us got into healthcare in the first place. But it’s easy to forget that as a leader today with so many strategic “imperatives” and day-to-day challenges we face. That’s why one of the most powerful ways that you, as a leader, can motivate, inspire, and engage your team is to cultivate that sense of purpose.
Years ago, when Quint and I worked at Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago, we reviewed our patient experience data together for the first time. And the data told us we weren’t very good. In fact, 94 percent of hospitals in the country provided a better patient experience than we did at the time. Our initial journey at Holy Cross was about improving a patient experience number…and we did have some limited success.
Unfortunately, about the same time, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was one of the most painful times of my life. I learned what it was like to be on the other side of the bed…what it was like for my dad to be scared, to go for tests that created anxiety, and what it was like when people came into his room and he didn’t know who they were or what they were doing.
Then we received a letter from the daughter of one of our patients that had passed at Holy Cross. The letter stated how wonderful his nurse was. She was our employee, Wilma. The letter went on to say that the nurse clocked out and stayed with the man until he passed. We started to understand that this was more than moving a number. It was a journey to serve patients and touch them with our hearts.
Ask leaders and staff to share their stories.
The best way to engage hearts and minds is to begin with the “why” because it connects back to our values. So ask leaders and staff to share stories that reconnect them back to purpose.
If you just give employees a “to-do” list of tactics, they’ll miss an important part of the journey. It must come from the heart because it grounds them on what we are truly trying to accomplish. After reflecting on my coaching for 15 years across the country, I have found that those who truly achieve breakthrough performance are those that effectively connect the heart (passion) and the mind (tactics).
Don Dean is a senior
leader, coaching division
for Studer Group