Improving the patient experience and the underlying culture, takes a commitment to strategic communication. You cannot expect to say something once and have the message permeate the hearts and minds of every person in the organization. It takes strategy, tactics and skilled execution to make the messages stick. I’ve seen some very passionate leaders struggle in achieving their goals because they underestimate the importance of drumbeat messaging.
Drumbeat messaging is the core message that is delivered over and over in various contexts and channels. The strategy is to tie seemingly disparate activities back to a core, unified purpose.
Over the last several months, my consulting team and I have launched a concentrated coaching program for patient experience professionals. During a PXP Advisor engagement, we spend six months with them helping them to gain traction in achieving their patient experience goals. Part of what we teach them is how to craft and deliver drumbeat messaging that will strengthen the efforts, and weave the patient experience into the fabric of the culture.
I recently shared a story with our PXP Advisor participants about the value of drumbeat messaging. I had explained that in my previous organization we had a vision; “to be a place where patients choose to come for care, where physicians want to practice, and where employees want to work.” We tied virtually all communications back to this vision during meetings, in publications, and even in performance reviews. I started to get tired of hearing myself repeat it, until one day when a team member proved that the message had helped him connect to purpose.
While walking down the hall, I spotted one of the maintenance men prepping a wall for paint. I asked what he was doing, and he responded, “Well Kris, I’m making this a place where patients choose to come for care, where physicians want to practice, and where employees want to work. Because when this building shines, so do we.” Bam! That’s what we were going for. Even though I had gotten sick of hearing myself deliver that message, I realized the value of the drumbeat.
Do you have a strategic communication plan that will advance your patient experience goals? If not, you will need one in order to gain traction.