I’m a big fan of ABC’s TV series, What Would You Do? The hidden camera, ethical dilemma series captures people’s reactions to various situations ranging from obnoxious disrespect to egregious behavior. I’m fascinated by what motivates people to intervene on behalf of complete strangers. Random acts of kindness and compassion reveal so much about a person’s character. The beauty of this series is that, because the camera is hidden, the champions step forward to protect, defend, and counsel the underdogs and frequently rebuke an offender without any knowledge that their actions are being recorded. After the encounters, the interveners are interviewed to learn why they stepped in. Their reasons are always the same: They just did what’s right.
Many of us, when asked “What would you do?,” can think of great, almost heroic responses to a variety of ethical dilemmas. But when faced with real-life situations, how many of us would really step in? Of course, it depends on the situation and how much risk might be involved.
While watching this week’s program, I was reminded of all of the compassionate people who work in healthcare. There are countless examples every day of doctors, nurses, CNAs, social workers, and other frontline workers who step into situations for the good of the patient or family members. I’ve witnessed many of the encounters first hand, and they’ve left indelible marks on my heart.
Striving to create a culture of excellence means always operating with impeccable ethics and commitment to doing what’s right. How well does your organization do in promoting advocacy and compassion? Look around your organization to spot your champions. Thank them for taking risks and reaching out to do what is best for others. Help them to understand that doing the right thing isn’t just a nice thing to do…it’s the only thing that matters for the individual, the organization, and for society.