Category: News

3 Tips for Dealing With Politics (or Other Touchy Subjects)

Sometimes, inspiration for my blog post comes from unexpected places – like a quiet, late-evening dinner on the road. After a successful day with a client, I arrived back at my hotel for a later-than-usual dinner. There were only a few people left in the restaurant, and I was seated near a table of three gentlemen. While I wasn’t interested in eavesdropping, it was impossible to not hear their conversation in the quiet room. From their discussion it was clear that they all worked for the same company and were traveling together on business. Two middle-aged men were obviously more senior managers, and they were accompanied by a junior colleague who appeared to be in his 20s. What surprised me was how their discussion turned

Read More »
hospital staff engagement - burned out medical nurse putting mask on

For healthcare, COVID has forever changed the rules of engagement

Turnover. Burnout. Intense competition for talent. Lower hospital staff engagement. Never before have human capital issues consumed such a significant share of health system’s concerns about the future. While the pandemic has raised new challenges in retention and staff engagement across industries, nowhere are these issues more pronounced than in healthcare. This is the final installment in our series Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus. When we started this series, some may have wondered why we were talking about the pandemic when the worst seemed to be over. Vaccines appeared to provide a viable path to control the virus. And cases were dropping dramatically after the surge in late winter. But today, it is more than just the emergence of highly contagious variants and vaccine

Read More »
healthcare management can be overwhelming

Be careful what you wish for! Five tips to avoid the healthcare “management blues”

New title. New office. New status in the organization. Being promoted to a healthcare management position is everything you’ve dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve, right? Not always. A recent article in Harvard Business Review by professors Nishani Bourmault and Michel Anteby looks at why employees moving up to management roles experience what they describe as “managerial blues.” Given the stress of the pandemic, the healthcare management blues may be even more pronounced. In “Research: Becoming a Manager Doesn’t Always Feel Like a Step Up,” Bourmault and Anteby describe why staff drivers moving up to managers in the Paris subway system frequently experienced disappointment in their new roles. The new managers described that in their old jobs, they dealt with life-and-death situations, consistently

Read More »
how to better support frontline staff in conversations

Five questions to make the “How are you doing?” conversation more meaningful

How to support frontline staff and stay connected to what they’re feeling has never been more important. As health care organizations emerge from what has hopefully been the worst of the pandemic, there will be a tendency to breathe a sigh of relief and high-five the team’s success. Indeed, there is much for the country to be thankful for regarding healthcare professionals’ sacrifices. But for health care leaders, the emphasis now should not only be on celebration. Rather, effective leaders who are really focused on how to support frontline staff are more concerned about the toll heroic efforts have taken. Why the Development Dialogue makes sense now Of course, each individual employee has his/her own story and struggles related to the pandemic. That’s why the

Read More »
Feedback helps improve employee retention

Why catching your team in the act of doing good is so important right now

“It seems like they only notice when we do something wrong!” When talking with frontline staff about improving employee retention, I’ve certainly heard that statement more than once. In many cases, the complaint might be overstated, and employees may even admit that if pressed. But staff usually think that leaders are too critical not because they point out problems too often. Rather, it is because they offer positive feedback too seldom. More positive reinforcement is crucial to improve employee retention. In our T.E.A.M. leadership model, observation is one of the important practices within the “Mentor” module. By spending time in the trenches with staff, leaders have a much more powerful platform to provide feedback – both positive and constructive. Right now, spending time on the

Read More »
rethinking the purpose of goal setting graphic from stamp & chase

Rethinking the purpose and power of goal-setting during the pandemic

For health care organizations focused largely on operational survival, hour-to-hour may best describe their planning horizon right now. The immediate challenges of the pandemic have thrown a wrench in most healthcare systems’ disciplined, predictable annual goal-setting processes. But the pandemic shouldn’t cause organizations to completely toss aside goal-setting, especially at the workgroup level. This article is the fifth in our series Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus. Today, we look at how to use adapted goals to support a workforce that is physically exhausted, emotionally drained and, in some cases, disillusioned. Following are three ways to think differently about goal-setting during the pandemic, pulling back on some priorities and leaning into others. Be as clear about what you’re not going to do as you are

Read More »
Healthcare Leadership Development Program

When staff feel they’ve lost control, involving them in decisions is even more critical

All of us have experienced a sense of powerlessness because of COVID-19. For health care professionals, that frustration has been magnified 10-fold. As a result, empowering staff in healthcare is even more important today. While leaders cannot magically reduce the problems caused by the pandemic, they can include staff members in problem-solving and decision-making. Especially now, empowering staff in healthcare by listening to their frustrations and their ideas for addressing them is essential to reduce burnout and turnoer. In this fourth installment in our series, Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus, we talk about the power of empowerment in healthcare in this short video:

Read More »
medical doctor holding a gift box

Leadership rounding should be a gift you give your staff … and yourself

It is Christmas Day as I’m writing this blog. This quiet afternoon took me back to a similar Christmas afternoon in 1998. I was the new CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and that afternoon I made one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’ve ever made as a healthcare leader. It helped me better understand the real power in leadership rounding. Our kids were young at the time. Between the excitement of opening gifts that morning and our traditional holiday dinner, things were very quiet around the house. Out of the blue, I said to my wife Luanne, “I think I’m going to go down to the hospital for a little while.” “To work?!” she said. “It’s Christmas.” “No, just to walk around and tell the

Read More »
medical staff in a meeting at stamp & chase

A Forum for Team Conversation — and Venting — is Vital during COVID-19

“Are you crazy?!” That’s the reaction I might get from some leaders when insisting that staff meetings are more important now than ever. Yes, staff meetings take some thought and time to be effective. Leadership during COVID-19 is indeed challenging in many ways. But team meetings are the only place where staff have a chance to have a focused conversation with all their colleagues. That is, when we shut up and let them talk. At no time in recent memory have the demands on leaders been more exhausting and protracted than in 2020. This blog is installment #2 in our series, Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus, which takes a fresh look at our T.E.A.M. leadership model through a COVID-19 lens. With most meetings going

Read More »
Medical team reviewing patient vitals graphic from Stamp & Chase

Connecting with your team every day has never been more important

Among the many responsibilities of frontline health care leaders, activities that help the team work as a highly-functioning unit are critically important. Understanding the dynamics of the team as a whole is essential to nurturing the teamwork that improves quality, safety and patient experience. For over three decades, the health care industry has faced rapid change and unique operational, financial and market challenges. But at no time in recent memory have the demands on health care leaders  been more exhausting and protracted than in 2020. This blog is installment #1 in our series, Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus, which takes a fresh look at our T.E.A.M. leadership model through a COVID-19 lens. Each component of the T.E.A.M. leadership model – Teach, Empower, Align and

Read More »