As healthcare organizations grapple with patient satisfaction scores spurred by value-based purchasing, I’m seeing a stampede of frantic attempts at tactics in hopes of a quick fix. Let me be clear that there are many proven tactics out there for improving service, but it’s not as simple as “Do this and all will be well with the world.” If that were the case, my consulting work on culture transformation would be easy. I’d just hand off a list of tactics and say, “Do two and call me in the morning.” Many tactics are merely steps that, without context and soul, will never touch the deep-seated problems at the core of culture.
Creating a culture of excellence requires reclaiming the soul of service. That won’t happen with a list of simple tactics. In fact, layering on tactics is often viewed by nursing staff as more work. Fostering the necessary connection to purpose is both an inside job and an outside job: Each person needs to make a personal, strong connection to purpose; the outside job is helping to link that purpose to our work and build a sense of purpose in others. If leaders can do those two things, we’ll have happier workers who make it their personal mission to deliver excellent service. This will not only create great patient experiences but lead to better scores.
Start by asking yourself what really matters at the end of the day. Then ask yourself how that relates to your work. We all want to make a difference, but sometimes we go speeding through the day without taking the time to reflect on what’s important. My prescription? Answer those two questions and let the journey begin.