Today’s post starts with a quote from the former football superstar Jerry Rice: Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.
I just finished reviewing a book called the Champion’s Mind, by Jim Afremow. Similar to the book Elite, regarding high-level mental performance, it again emphasizes what high achievers do in order to excel. Basically, while it seems basic regarding what they do, it seems to be based on how they think, then how they act. Please know that this is just rhetoric unless it causes change in behavior. Excelling comes from a choice. Top tennis player Novak Djokovic said:”Among the top 100 players , physically there is not much difference. . . . It’s a mental ability to handle the pressure, to play well at the right moments”.
So, take it from the world of sports and apply it to your floor, OR, clinic, or unit. This will apply to you. The changes that are coming in healthcare will favor those that “do what others won’t, so tomorrow that can accomplish what others can’t.” Reimbursement schedules, best-practice, new research, will all challenge the “we have always done it this way” approach. In fact, those very words should be a red-flag to any work group. So a very good question to ask yourself: Is there anyone on my team that has this level of thinking? Do I have this level of thinking? Why am I skeptical of or reluctant to change?
Remember that we are not speaking here of complicated items. The basics of mastery of most any subject are simple concepts. It is the application of those aspects in difficult situations that are challenging.
What, then, does a champion’s mind focus on?
First is working well with people. Rate yourself on the following and ask where are your strengths and pitfalls?
Be present while listening – Not hard to do? When is the last time you unplugged yourself completely during a conversation? No email pings? No text notifications? No instant messaging? Being honest here?
Avoiding mind reading – Ever walk away wanting to ask a question about a person’s view, but didn’t for whatever reason? What is the reason you didn’t? In a recent project I was involved in, eight of the fifteen persons, highly educated and accomplished, stated that conflict was the situation they would most want to avoid. Easiest way to do that? Mind read!
Discuss problems when they occur – Steve Covey once said, to paraphrase, that people always seem to have time to revisit a problem when it becomes necessary, but never seem to have time to deal with it properly when it initially occurs. How many of you have problems with staff that are “pass-along” problems? That in annual review after annual review no supervisor had the courage to address situations but allowed the person to move positions, relieved that they never had to deal with it at the time. Ever done that yourself? Easy to do. Most of us have.
Criticize the behavior, not the person – From Dragnet – “Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts”. Wording here is quite important. “You” messages will most always breed defensiveness, which, for conflict avoidant people, takes a huge toll.
That will do it for today. Do take the time to answer the questions posed above, preferably in writing, so that they sink in better.
More on the Mind of a Champion in the next segment.