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Fresh, usable ideas to help your team think differently about patient and team engagement
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Three things Sr. Jean can teach us about patient and staff engagement

Spring is indeed a time of renewal, hope and miracles: life returns outside our window, the season of Lent … and, of course, March Madness. During the opening days of play, the first-time-ever defeat of a #1 seed (Virginia) by a #16 seed (University of Maryland – Baltimore County) promised to be the story of the tournament. Then along came Loyola Chicago. Even if you don’t like the Catholic Church and couldn’t care less about college basketball, you have to love Sister Jean, the 98-year-old chaplain of the Loyola University of Chicago basketball team. Just seeing her in the stands rooting for the Loyola Ramblers brings a smile to your face. But it wasn’t until I heard and read a couple of her post-game interviews

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What does Warren Buffett know about customer experience that we don’t?

Within moments of the recent announcement that Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JP Morgan Chase would team up to form an independent health care company for their employees, predictions around their likelihood for success were rampant. Central to the debate was one key question: would the fact that none of the partners have significant experience in the provider industry be a roadblock or an enabler to thinking differently about how health care should be delivered? Quickly, many focused on Amazon’s expertise and power in logistics, technology and online retailing. But perhaps Berkshire Hathaway is just as intriguing to study. The massively successful conglomerate has broad ownership of successful companies across diverse industries, ranging from manufacturing and transportation to retailing and insurance. Maybe looking at the common

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“What kind of scar will I leave?” – Thoughts on our Lasting Impressions

Impressions. As caregivers, we leave lasting impressions on virtually every patient and family we touch. We strive, of course, for those impressions to be positive. But the reality is much of what a patient experiences while in our care is anything but positive: pain … a devastating diagnosis … a discouraging prognosis. These unescapable “scars” are unfortunately part of illness or injury. As caregivers, perhaps one of our most important roles is finding ways to diminish inevitable distress. Recently, a physician leader in one of our partner hospitals related a compelling story that had a profound influence on how he thinks about his role as a caregiver. The story he shared has had a lasting impact on the way I’ll now think about what our

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Sometimes, a cheerful smile and sense of humor is what patients need most

When I speak to audiences across the country, I always share that, first-and-foremost, I learn and draw inspiration from dedicated health care professionals who I’ve had the privilege to work with. But over time, I’ve found that inspiration in patient experience work can come from many places, including airlines and hotels where I spend much of my time when I’m not in a hospital. Antione, who cheerfully welcomes visitors to Delta Airlines’ SkyClub in Terminal B of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is one of the most inspiring non-health care professional I’ve ever met. Five days a week, Antione greets visitors with a broad smile and uplifting welcome or sendoff. “Good evening, young lady. How are you this evening?” “Thank you, young man. You travel safely.”

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Three Straightforward Tips to Bring More Energy to Team Huddles

Sometimes sports analogies are applied too often and are taken too far in thinking about effective management practices. But since we borrowed the term “huddle” from football to describe a brief team meeting, revisiting what makes sports huddles effective – and where we may have lost our way in translation in health care – seems appropriate. Whether you are a personal fan or not, it is hard to argue that Peyton Manning is one of the greatest professional football players is history. Manning was great not only because he was a talented quarterback but also because he was a gifted leader who brought out the best in the entire team. Arguably, he understood leadership as well as Peter Drucker, Jack Welch or any other management

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America’s favorite doctor offers remarkable insight into how to improve communication

Enlightening perspective on how to improve the care experience for patients sometimes comes from unexpected places. It might not surprise you to learn that one of America’s best-known, most-beloved doctors has authored a book that provides great insights into how to make communication in health care better – until you learn that that doctor is Hawkeye Pierce. Since he retired as the head surgeon in the 4077th M*A*S*H unit on the iconic 70s television series, Alan Alda has devoted his time and intellectual energy to more than just acting and directing. During the 11 years he spent interviewing scientists for the documentary series Scientific American Frontiers, he became fascinated with how people communicate effectively. The results of his subsequent research are shared in his new

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A Thanksgiving Story: How families in crisis find strength in other families

At every hospital across the country this week, there were surely heartwarming – and heart wrenching – stories of families coping with life-threatening injury and illness during the Thanksgiving season. We often hear families tell us how thankful they are for the superb care provided by doctors, nurses, techs, housekeepers and other members of the care team, especially during this season. And, indeed, we all should be grateful for the skill, compassion and dedication of our fellow health care professionals. But my favorite story this Thanksgiving season is not about the care provided by the health care team but instead by families caring for one another. The Neuro ICU at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in my hometown of St. Louis cares for some of the most seriously

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Are your departmental goals specific enough to change behavior?

Developed over 30 years ago, the widely-used S.M.A.R.T. goals model has helped thousands of organizations write more effective goals. But what about implementation? Our smarter S.M.A.R.T. goals approach focuses on how to use goals to change behavior and drive higher performance in healthcare organizations. For more information on how to use goal-setting to improve outcomes and advance employee engagement, download our latest whitepaper: Stamp&Chase LeaderBriefing – A Smarter Approach to SMART Goals.

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Why a “5-to-1 Mindset” Fosters a High-Performance Culture

In our work with major health systems across the country, we’ve advocated leaders adopt the golden 5-to-1 ratio in their interactions with colleagues and their teams. This research-based strategy reveals the power of five positive comments for every one criticism in high-performing teams and organizations. This practice and the underlying research were cited in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, “The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio.” But an insightful observation from Dr. Matthew Wayne, chief medical officer of Summa Health Medical Group and NewHealth Collaborative, in a leadership workshop last week helped me see a flaw in the way people think about the 5-to-1 ratio. By definition, this leadership principle focuses on quantity. Dr. Wayne wisely pointed out that the practice works

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The Power of Empowerment: “The Village has it Handled!”

In a leadership workshop earlier this month at Summa Health in Akron, OH, a manager shared one of the most definitive, straightforward affirmations of true staff empowerment that I’ve ever heard.  She explained that often when an issue or problem arises, by the time she becomes aware of it and approaches her team to work through a solution, she is confidently told, “Don’t worry; the village has it handled.”Empowerment is a frequently vaunted goal for high-functioning teams in today’s leadership literature. But while the term is commonly accepted, I’m not sure it best describes the true power of empowerment. When I clicked on the thesaurus feature in Microsoft Word while writing this post, I actually found a much better list of options: inspire, embolden, encourage,

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