Gratitude is a powerful thing. Feeling gratitude on a deep level has been associated with everything from physical and emotional health to greater abundance. In fact, UC Berkeley conducted a 3 million dollar study on the impact of gratitude http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude and validated many of the positive effects. So what does gratitude have to do with improving the patient experience? More than you might think.
While gratitude is a feeling and thought process, it can be manifested by recognizing others. I’ve written and spoken a lot over the past decade about the importance of recognition in creating a positive culture. Saying thank you and sending someone a thank you note are positive leadership behaviors and start by making a conscious effort to identify what is going well. But starting with true gratitude can help make the recognition experience even richer for the sender and the receiver. When leaders take the time to see what is going well and feel grateful for the people and the successes they are generating, it takes the practice of recognition to a whole new level. I encourage all leaders to take the time to think about what and who they are grateful for. It’s a great holistic practice and spills over into the workplace culture. When you feel truly grateful for the people and the work they perform, recognition becomes more meaningful with a stronger connection to purpose.
Try this exercise to anchor recognition practices in gratitude: Write down what you are grateful for and be sure to include people and things related to work. When you identify the people and the work, make sure these become part of your recognition practice. Use the term grateful in your thank you notes. It’ll help you stay connected to purpose.