I recently did a full-day workshop with a team of nurse leaders on “Creating an Engaged Workforce.” It’s always inspiring for me to be able to work with leaders at the front line because this is where real change happens. They are truly the conduit between the vision and the delivery. Their leadership of frontline staff shapes the patient experience.
This organization had a pretty formidable framework for leadership practices in place, but, as we went through the day, the leaders became painfully aware of some of the chinks in the armor. While drilling down into the patient experience, I’d ask a question about leadership practices and fairly consistently I got the response, “It depends.” How are you dealing with disengaged employees? “It depends.” How are you monitoring staff adherence to standards? “It depends.” What are your coaching practices? “It depends.” It became comical after awhile.
The big takeaway for the group was that consistency is key to a predictably positive patient experience. Middle managers have some of the toughest jobs in healthcare, and keeping a relentless eye on operations in order to maintain unwavering quality is among their most crucial tasks.
At the Baird Group, we teach E3, which stands for Every Encounter, with Every Customer, Every Day. This moniker, when embraced by frontline employees, is a reminder to adhere to the standards at all times. When shared with leaders, it’s a reminder that it takes persistence, consistence, and insistence to achieve the vision of excellence—whether the metric is safety, clinical outcomes, or patient experience. Leaders must be persistent by setting the bar and keeping goals and progress at the forefront at all times. They must be consistent in their actions, which means having a visible presence while holding staff accountable through coaching. And lastly, they must insist on the highest level of quality at all times….Simple, just not easy.
I think Florence Nightingale was saying the same thing when she said, “I attribute my success to this—I never gave or took any excuse.”