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Happy New Year

#1 Resolution For 2014 … Be Part Of The Team!

I was working at a hospital back east a couple months ago where they were having a hard time with the surveys that the patients would fill out upon leaving.  This particular hospital had received many awards, had great success in almost every area except for those “customer surveys.”  For some reason they were spotty to say the least – not consistent at all.

They gathered the leadership team together for a day to talk about their successes as well as their challenge with the customer satisfaction surveys.  (Which, by the way, they needed to increase or risk losing big Medicaid bucks.) They also brought in a few of the top employees, you know, the ones that are the heart and soul of the organization.

I had the morning with the group and I encouraged the CEO to jump in at any time during the program.  An hour or so into the program, he asked, “This is great Craig, but how do we get our employees to be engaged, all in, and focused on customer service?”

A great question.  The week before I had been at my son’s high school basketball practice.  I help out when I’m in town.  In a moment of low-team-free-throw-percentage-frustration, after having the guys shoot ten shots each, the head coach lined them up on the baseline.  “Anyone who made four out of ten free throws or less on the line for suicides,” he said.  About half the team got on the line, as well as Charles.  One of his buddies said, “You made seven dude, you don’t have to run.”

“Yes I do, I’m on this team.”

Every other kid on the team immediately jumped up to the line and the whole team ran.

Here’s the point.  The coach could’ve insisted everybody go to the line.  I could have made every kid get on the line.  But when one of your peers jumps on the “team” bandwagon, that’s when things really start to happen.  Charles (one of the players) is much more influential in his ability to actually lead then we coaches could be.

So I asked the “top performers” who had been invited (nurses, technicians, maintenance, doctors, etc) to stand up and suggested to the leadership team that these are the folks we need to ask.  These are the people we need to empower.

I approached a radiologist who was a top performer.  You could tell he loved his job, he was all in, he was dedicated to helping folks at the hospital.  I asked him in front of the group if he was up for a challenge.  “Of course,” he said.

What if I asked you to be responsible for upping our survey results, and I empowered you to help your colleagues jump on board also?  He said, “I’d love to.”

He was obviously up for a challenge.  He wanted to be part of the solution.  I asked the other “non-leadership” folks if they were up for a challenge and they all raised their hands.

People want a challenge.  People want to help.  People want to be a part of a team.

2 Responses to “Happy New Year”

  1. Stephen Moulton January 9, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    Great story Craig – You know I’m one of your biggest fans.

    I really liked how you changed the paradigm for the group. Engagement is a big issue for many organizations. Some studies show 70% of employees are not engaged with up to 20% being totally disengaged.

    I think the problem is usually leadership at all levels not knowing how to engage their employees and not taking the time to be engaged with their employees.


  2. Jean Alfieri January 9, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    What a powerful (and empowering) message! I’m passing it along to our team! Thanks, Craig.

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