Last week I was having a discussion with a CEO who was venting his frustration over their poor patient satisfaction scores. He ticked off a list of all the best practices they had tried, but didn’t stick. When I hear this (and I hear it at least once or twice a week), I start delving into their culture. More often than not, when we conduct a culture assessment, we will find underlying beliefs, attitudes and practices within the culture, that are keeping them from gaining traction. Thus, they are left spinning their wheels.
There is no shortage of tried and true best practices, which are tactics. Think of best practice tactics as seeds. Imagine taking a handful of seeds from a packet and throwing them onto hard, parched, depleted soil. They are not very likely to grow. But take the same seeds and toss them onto well cultivated soil, and they are likely to take root and grow strong.
The word culture comes from the Latin ‘cultus,’ which means care. The French ‘colere’ means to till, as in till the ground. Just like tilling the ground sets the stage for a successful planting, and ultimately a prolific harvest, so does preparing your culture when planting best practices.
You can’t expect growth if your tactics are being planted on barren land. However, after a culture assessment, you’ll at least know what you are dealing with. And with the right information, you can make the necessary improvements to the culture that will prepare it for receiving best practices.