Is yours a culture of feedback?

Posted by Kristin Baird on August 23rd, 2013 • No Comments »

If your healthcare organization is one that strives for continuous improvement, how is that goal translated to the individual? Is continuous improvement solely focused on processes that can be mapped out on a whiteboard, or does it apply to people and their behaviors as well?

Our firm does a lot of training and development of various groups—ranging from frontline reception and registration to physicians. In addition, we frequently work with managers and physician coaches on how to give feedback. But how well does each individual respond to feedback? That can be a matter of individual personality and past experience.

How much thought goes into training and supporting people to receive feedback? From what I’ve observed, more focus is given to the talker and little, if any, to the listener. Working on one without the other can set you up for failure because if the recipient hears feedback as criticism, the result will be defensiveness, anger, or hurt feelings; but if the receiver hears feedback as helpful information, the result can be helpful, motivational, and clarifying.

I think that one of the things missing in the quest for continuous improvement is the people element. When individuals within an organization reach a level of emotional intelligence to receive feedback graciously and see it as an opportunity to improve, you’ll be light years ahead of where you are today. This will take conscious effort at working with people to receive feedback. If we all spend as much effort helping people receive feedback as we do in giving feedback, we may be able to advance efforts much more quickly.

Creating a culture of continuous improvement means becoming one where everyone takes ownership of the patient experience for the good of the organization. And with that, each individual holds himself and others accountable to the point of being comfortable both giving and receiving feedback.

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Baird Consulting

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