Silos & Turf Wars and Grudges- Oh my!

Posted by Kristin Baird on April 27th, 2017 • No Comments »

Imagine a healthcare organization without silos, turf wars and grudges. The outcome could be pretty amazing. Why? Because without these barriers, you’ll enjoy greater communication, higher level of trust and an overall more positive work environment. And incidentally, you’ll see better outcomes.

About a year ago I was working with an organization that clearly had issues with silos and turf wars. We were trying to help them with a culture change that included improved service behaviors and ownership. To be honest, they really needed the help. Their scores were in the toilet for both patient satisfaction and employee engagement.

A team, headed up by the Patient Experience Director, mapped out a plan. When it came time to begin training, the Organizational Development (OD) department clearly sabotaged the training orchestrated by the patient experience department. This was particularly baffling since both parties had been part of the planning process.

It took some digging but we got to the bottom of the issue. OD had been working on service training for years. They had set up online modules that were to be viewed annually and they introduced the values during new-hire orientation. They felt like they had clearly covered the training needed. They were resentful that this new department (Patient Experience) was stepping into their training space. They felt as if their work was being discounted and others would be getting credit for making the necessary changes.  They expressed that the patient experience was the CEO’s new “pet project” and felt like they, and their work, were being kicked to the curb for a new, shiny object. It may sound petty, but it certainly wasn’t to them.

Prevention is the best medicine. Although I am talking about one silo and turf example here, I could cite at least a dozen more that I’ve seen rear their ugly heads over the years. It’s important to do what you can to prevent hard feelings like the one I described. Here are a few tips that may help reduce the grudges or hurt feelings.

  • Take time to look at the work that has been done in the past and honor the work that has been done. Remember, these efforts were created by people that share your passion for excellence.
  • Bring the key stakeholders (in this case OD) to the table and ask how the next phase can build on the foundation they have laid.
  • Keep the stakeholders close as you emerge with new training. Tap into their expertise and work together to achieve common goals

We all get further faster when we can set aside resentments and focus on the end game.

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Baird Consulting


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