Reflections From the Field: To Make an Impact, Describe the Impact

Written By: Janet Schulz, Senior Vice President – Consulting Division

At Baird Group, we provide a variety of leadership development sessions. As a consultant here, I also have a lot of opportunities to attend leadership development presentations.

Recently, I was fortunate to listen to a speaker at an organization describe to their leaders how to coach effectively in the midst of chaos. His formula was to state “what” the individual did (positive or negative), and the impact it had. Two years ago, I went to a “training sampler” offered by a regional firm. In one of their presentations, they described “A, B, C” as a means to give feedback, where the “B” in the equation was the impact of the employee’s action.

Here at Baird Group, we too have a feedback formula. It also features “impact” as a key element. So there are several lessons learned here. To be an impactful leader, you must 1) give feedback, 2) give the feedback effectively and 3) manage the impact of your team.

The fact that this is such a universal need is vital to note. As leaders, we need to have the courage to give feedback consistently – both positive and negative. The approach we teach is X – Y – Z. “When you do X, it causes Y, I want you to do Z. Do I have your commitment?”

Let me give you an example –

I was once at a client, teaching this technique. I explained the approach, and then asked participants to work with their table groups to practice X–Y–Z for an issue they needed to address. When I asked for a volunteer to share an “X-Y-Z” discussion, the hand of a manager from an Obstetrics floor shot up. She gave the back story for her X-Y-Z. She said she needed to have a discussion with an obstetrician who refused to wear surgical “booties” over his street shoes when he came into the patient room to deliver a baby. So here was her X-Y-Z:

“Dr. Jones, when you refuse to cover your street shoes with surgical boots in the delivery room, it causes the mother, families and staff to worry and wonder about infection control. I need you to wear surgical boots consistently to address this concern. Do I have your commitment?”

Wow! Do you know what the funny thing is? When I attended the recent leadership retreat I noted above, I shared this example at the request of the presenter. Why? Because he overheard leaders at one of the tables talking about doctors’ refusals to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). So again I say, WOW! And I ask . . . what X-Y-Z conversations do you need to have to be an impactful leader?

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Nurse, author, and consultant Kristin Baird, “Healthcare’s Customer Service Guru,” is the author of Raising the Bar on Service Excellence: The Health Care Leader’s Guide to Putting Passion into Practice (Golden Lamp Press, 2008), Reclaiming the Passion: Stories that Celebrate the Essence of Nursing (Golden Lamp Press, 2004), and Customer Service In Healthcare: A Grassroots Approach to Creating a Culture of Service Excellence (Jossey Bass, 2000). The Baird Group provides consulting, mystery  shopping, and training services for improving the patient experience. To learn more, please visit or call 920-563-4684.

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