Remember the excitement and anticipation of your first day of school each year? It may have been a little scary, but it was always an opportunity for renewal. There’s nothing like a new beginning to help fuel inspiration.
Each fall as children, we could sail into a brand-new year where you could make new friends, embrace new challenges, and achieve the next academic milestones with a new teacher who, hopefully, was oblivious to any of your previous classroom transgressions. Whether it was starting first grade, entering my master’s program, or any academic milestone in-between, I always felt an overwhelming sense of inspiration at the onset of the new school year. It may have been the smell of freshly sharpened pencils with their soft pink erasers, or the blank notebooks all ready to stow new ideas and information, but I think it was more than that. This excitement was renewal.
So what does this have to do with healthcare leadership? More than you might think.
If you are in leadership, helping your team stay engaged and inspired requires that you continually seek opportunities for renewal and re-commitment. Think about it. There is a natural rhythm to renewal in a child’s life as he enters a new academic school year. But once we grow up and move into the work world, we lose that natural rhythm. You may need to seek out opportunities to re-engage.
Where are the opportunities to create a cycle of renewal in your department or organization? It might just cycle around the quarterly reports and dashboards. If you simply post new data and expect your team to passively read the content with an eye on improvement, you are missing an opportunity for a cyclic renewal and re-commitment to shared goals.
A Culture of Renewal
The next time your quarterly data arrives, don’t just post it and leave it. Make the numbers come to life. Help each individual connect to purpose by sharing a story about a patient they served. Or share a story of a team that is contributing to improvements. Ask for ideas and generate discussion. Challenge the team to embrace one new change that will improve the customer experience. Find things to celebrate.
When you demonstrate a renewed commitment to service excellence, you are sending a strong message that the commitment is ongoing and, hopefully, contagious. And who knows what flashes of brilliance may appear if you throw in some freshly sharpened pencils and brand-new spiral notebooks.