At risk of sounding like a broken record, I will reiterate how vital your culture is in creating an exceptional patient experience. There are no quick fixes for a dysfunctional work environment, but there are some immediate and bold actions required when bullies rear their ugly heads.
Not long ago, I began working with a client whose senior leaders were fully committed to making the culture one worthy of being the employer and provider of choice. As we delved into the current culture we realized that some of their key leaders were not aligned with the values or the vision for the culture of the future. Front line staff, managers, and supervisors described these individuals as bullies who were unapproachable and at times downright terrifying. Knowing that this might be difficult to accept, I presented these findings to the CEO & COO with very clear facts including specific examples. Having been through this in the past, I knew the discussion would go one of two ways. It could result in complete denial and defensiveness or action.
To my relief, the CEO and COO took the report to heart and took swift action. In essence, the two of them listened to the examples we provided and said, “We won’t allow bullies.” And the offending individuals were terminated. Although this type of termination can be painful, it’s necessary for organizational well-being. The consequences for NOT taking action are that the senior leaders lose credibility if they don’t match their actions with their words. If you say that you are committed to a culture of excellence then you must align your behaviors and decisions with those words. In the example I cited above, the leaders did just that.
I have a plaque in my house that reads, “The secret to having what you want is getting rid of what you don’t want.” So many times we go through life in a comfort zone. We don’t take the time to purge out the things we no longer want or that are no longer serving us well. Once we do, we make ample space for what we really want. Are you ready to assess what you have and purge what is no longer working? It may be the key to the culture you desire.