One of the major principles I have learned this year is the importance of reflection. I am a died-in-the-wool type-A driver. And, at my age, that is probably always going to remain my first default reaction. However, I have learned that my hard-driving is much more effective if I am taking time to review, learn, and change. In a great book, The Creator’s Code, by Amy Wilkinson, she refers to a process that fighter pilot’s use, called the OODA loop. The acronym stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. Whether used by a pilot pulling six g’s or you managing a thousand tasks, consider using that four step process to look at what you have learned here over the past year.
To help you reflect on your time in this blog in 2016, the following are the Top Fourteen Posts of 2016
1. To know why you are doing what you are doing:
You are part of the most dynamic industry in society, that of healthcare. And you are part of the most changing industry in society. With change comes the opportunity to transform yourself and your scope of influence the best of class – an elite operation. Ask yourself the following three questions
1. What do I need to do to start a complete or major change in this area?
2. How will I become the best of class in this area?
3. Why am I doing this? A marvelous book on the power of knowing why is “Start with Why“, by Simon Sinek.
2. Success in action – In January I shared my experience working with a team of charge nurses at a large local hospital. These are the key paragraphs from that post:
One hurdle most all of these teams have initially is developing the trust and getting an understanding of how vitally important it is to be bulletproof in their support of the other team members. Gossip and badmouthing is habitual with people in general. Most participate without thinking. It starts early in life, habits are formed, and we participate without thinking…and the results to a team are deadly. These are hard habits to break, yet essential to do so. The new habit, which has to be held to strictly, is that team members do not tolerate any negative discussion of someone on the team who is not present.
That same nurse described above, who had discussed her struggles with difficult persons, told of a key experience. As she told it, you could literally feel the intensity in the room change. She had been in a meeting and the conversation had turned against one of the nurse managers. Information was being shared that was incorrect and personally slanderous. She had the courage,(and let me assure you that it takes courage) to say, in front of the whole group, who were joining the chorus of negativity, “what you are saying is not correct. This person is doing what she needs to do”. Now that might sound like a small item, but it turned opened the door for others, who were a bit more timid, to join her in the defense of their team member. The appreciation from the person who had been defended was palpable.
As we debriefed the meeting, it was obvious that the team had turned the corner. We still have a few more months of work in front of us. However, the new crucial habits have started to form.
This is transformational work. This is what makes leadership so rewarding.
3. Emotional intelligence. The classic work by Daniel Goleman which describes the vital importance of deep self-awareness and social skills. There are specifics noted in each area. However skilled you may be in the technical realms of your profession, those skills will be limited by the level of your emotional intelligence and leadership skills. One prolific leadership author, John Maxwell, calls it the Law of the Lid, in his bestselling book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
4. Regarding the vital aspect of ongoing change in healthcare, a quote by Gary Caplan, CEO of Seattle based Virginia Mason:
“People go into medicine because they want to be in a helping profession, but also like the prestige and working in perhaps the most respected of professions. It fits the ego need that most of us have. The antidote to complacency and arrogance is to understand the work – the as-is state, the current state….When you see that – when you see the reality – you cannot be complacent. You cannot be arrogant…. To me, that is the eye-opener. You go into it thinking “We’re good, we’re high quality, we’ve got great people”. Then you map out the work. You go out to the front line with the clipboard…and you see the reality and at that point, how can anybody be complacent about this? How can you be arrogant about this?”
5. A review of the Best Places to Work in America – (Fortune Magazine – March 15, 2016 )
“Today, human capital is the most valuable capital in every company, no matter what industry it is in. That’s why our annual Best Companies to Work For list, now 19 years running, has become our most popular franchise. Companies fight to get on this list each year because they know it will help them attract the very best talent. Potential employees refer to the list year-round to line up their dream jobs. It drives change: The best workplaces get a little better each year in a race to the top.”
6. The Steps toward High and Intentional Achievement
These took several weeks and were adapted from the great book by Troy Bassham titled Attainment. High achievement is a process. I have never read a better book on this process.
7. The 95 and 5
This principal was developed due to pushback from many of the physicians with whom I work. Their point was that all this talk about good leadership is always hostage to the emergent nature of their work which many times does not allow for the warm and fuzzy talk that good leadership is sometimes included with. My point is that for 95% of the time, you are usually not in that crunch mode. This is where the relationships and reputations are built so that when crunch times hit, there is the buffer that allows for direct communication. It all rises and falls on relationships.
8. In Praise of Front-line staff – I was taught by a superb neurosurgeon with whom I was working. We were talking about the importance of all the staff on a team. He simply said “without them, our practice is hosed”. He went on to say “Without personal relationships with patients, there is an empty office”…and I would add, using the same line of thinking, “without strong relationships with staff, there is an empty office”.
9. Making it Happen – In one of my favorite posts of the year, I related an amazing interview with a NCCU charge nurse who gave me the following criteria for an elite critical care team:
1. The nurses are a vital part of the team
2. Everything is a conversation
3. There is strong leadership
4. There is more positive than negative
5. The nurses are incredible.
10. Summer reading. You reviewed three books over the summer
1. Mental Discipline – The Mind of a Champion – How developing mental discipline and intentional living habits make the difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary Read Post Part 1 Read Post Part 2
2. The No Complaining Rule – Eliminating the attitudes of negativity and gossip at the worksite Read Post
3. Your Brain at Work – Consider the following four questions Read Post
a. Your brain does not do well with distractions. Keep it focused and keep it simple.
b. Prepare to handle difficult situations before they occur.
c. Establish a network that provides an environment where your brain can thrive.
d. Practice the art of influence.
e. Practice being in the moment. Much harder than it seems.
11. Finishing strong
1. The importance of helping your employees be fully engaged, using the criteria of the Gallup Q12, which can be found on of Q12.Gallup.Com. Powerful points.
12. The Rule of Five -Five actions, that you determine you must do, every day, in order to be successful. When applied under the law of cumulative effect, there is almost nothing that is insurmountable.
13. Are You Thinking Differently? Have you considered the four part equation of Thinking leads to Emotion which leads to Behavior which causes results. Have you considered that unless you strongly effect the thinking part of the equation, almost nothing is sustainable. We also discussed the importance of ‘The beginners mind’ as described in Buddhist philosophy, which is as follows:
When the pressure is high, change has to be intentional, or the brain won’t allow it. What does mindfulness teach regarding thinking when the pressure is high? One approach, that resonated very strongly with me, was the concept of ‘the beginners mind’.
This is comprised of three parts:
3. Readiness to learning
It is backed up by two other phrases:
1. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.
2. If you have found the answer, ask a bigger question.
14. And to end the year, an article titled ‘Picking up Lint’ which was a perfect example of the level of drive and attention to detail necessary to drive transformative, elite change, which was how we began the year.
My great appreciation to all of you. I have worked with you all, personally. I know the type of people that you are, and it is one of the primary reasons that I enjoy my work as much as I do.
Take time to reflect on these points. Go back into the website (coachinggroupinc.com/blog) and review the specific posts as necessary. Observe, orient, decide and plan to act.
Talk to you in 2017.