One of the advantages of working in a complex healthcare organization is that most of the time our mission is the glue that keeps us together. It’s not that we all agree on every decision (God forbid!); but it does mean that when we run into problems the culprit is usually not that we aren’t all working toward the same goal.
The culprit is ineffective communication.
The Mission Is Real
When my colleagues ask me about what it’s like to work in such an intense environment the first thing I typically answer is that our mission to serve children is palpable.
Sadly in many organizations the mission statement is simply a collection of words inside a frame on the wall. In most healthcare organizations that is not the case. The mission is real and literally -> drives decisions ranging from allocating resources to programs that lose money because it is the right thing to do; all the way to not implementing profitable programs that would run counter to the core values of the institution.
That my friends is living the mission.
Communication Is Essential
What clearly stands in the way of the results necessary is our old nemesis communication. It seems odd to me that despite living in a time when it has never been easier to communicate we continue to struggle.
How can this be?
I have embraced social tools to help me communicate more broadly than I ever anticipated that I could, including this blog for more than two years. But communicating on a massive scale is not the only type of effective communication you and I are expected to provide. Good leaders connect with their people, and while I feel very strongly about you…you are not a member of my team, and they deserve more than a blog post from me.
Your team members deserve more too.
Lots of Choices – Use Them
Intentional: Be purposeful about what you say, when you say it, and to whom you are saying it.
Multi-faceted: Do not rely on one form of communication and expect it to get your message out to everyone who needs to hear it. Take advantage of several channels to ensure you’ve done your very best to connect with your audience, whether that group is only a few dozen or a few thousand people.
Consistent: Stay focused on your message. So what if you’re tired of saying the same thing repeatedly? Most of your audience will hear your message once, so the moment they are hearing you give that message may be the tenth for you. Get over it, it’s about them not you (except for the part that you want results from them which is why you’re going through this process in the first place!)
How About You
Are you wrestling with the odd challenge of having a committed and engaged team that just doesn’t seem to be working effectively together? It’s probably not your mission…it may be the communication. Take some time to objectively evaluate how you are messaging to and with them. Is it working?
I’d love to hear from you.