The in-person interactions CEOs prioritize in the workplace

The Pandemic Conversations That Leaders Need to Have Now - HBS Working  Knowledge

A lot of communication in the workplace is conducted electronically. However, it is essential for hospital and health system leaders to have face-to-face conversations with employees in some situations.

Becker’s asked healthcare executives to share the interactions they prioritize when they’re in person at their organizations. Many expressed their preference for the deeper connections in-person interactions allow, citing inspiration and team building as reasons to facilitate face-to-face communication. Below are their responses:

Russell F. Cox. President and CEO of Norton Healthcare (Louisville, Ky.): Healthcare, by its very nature, requires in-person interactions.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we made a quick and successful shift to virtual visits for the safety of our patients and providers. This enabled patients with a variety of time and transportation constraints to receive convenient care from a trusted provider. However, telemedicine will never completely replace in-person visits, and the opportunity for our patients and community to interact in-person with our patient care providers is very important to me, and to our team.

And, although the pandemic created the need for virtual meetings, I have always prioritized in-person interactions and meetings with all team members. Whether that be rounding in our  hospitals and facilities, holding in-person meetings, celebrating employee accomplishments or milestones, or dropping by one of our community vaccine or testing centers — web meetings will never replace what can be accomplished face to face. It became even more important to interact in person with our caregivers and employees during the pandemic. It was important to show my support for their hard work and extraordinary sacrifices during this time. I’m thankful that with the vaccine, more in-person events, with proper safety precautions, are resuming.

Our motto has been and continues to be: Stay safe. Keep the faith.

Jim Dunn, PhD. Executive Vice President and Chief People and Culture Officer of Atrium Health (Charlotte, N.C.): Recognition is part of our organizational DNA, and in-person delivery is an essential component of that — especially as we continue working through the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing our teammates love is the “Surprise Patrol,” which we employ for some of our most special and meaningful awards, such as our annual Pinnacle Award — the highest award given by our organization to those who best exemplify our Culture Commitments: Belong, Work as One, Trust, Innovate and Excellence. Executives, leaders, teammates and loved ones come together to celebrate honorees with balloons, cupcakes, cheers and even a few happy tears. Our honorees are shocked, uplifted and proud to be recognized in-person for their outstanding accomplishments, and our “Surprise Patrol” participants are honored to be a part of such a special moment. Whether we’re celebrating small wins, personal successes, birthdays or prestigious awards, in-person recognition — where and when possible — is a vital part of the teammate experience and culture at Atrium Health.

Robert Gardner. CEO of Banner Ironwood Medical Center (Queen Creek, Ariz.) and Banner Goldfield Medical Center (Apache Junction, Ariz.): Over the past few years in particular, I’ve spent some time reflecting on the differences between motivation and inspiration. More often than not, it seems like leaders don’t know the differences and often confuse the two as being synonymous or interchangeable. Put in overly simplified terms, I see motivation as being the metaphorical carrot or the stick. We can motivate with reward (aka the carrot) and with discipline (aka the stick), and both are used frequently in life. Motivation tends to be more surface level. However, inspiration is something much deeper, more intimate, and therefore much more complex. Inspiration is getting to a point of genuinely desiring to change, do more, be better, etc.

For me, knowing the differences is critical when it comes to prioritizing being in person in the workplace. Virtual meetings, emails, newsletters and other forms of electronic communication can work incredibly well when it comes to items of motivation; and believe me, there are plenty of these items. However, when it comes time to inspire the team, I heavily prioritize these meetings to take place in person. Items that fall into this category will be mission-critical initiatives and overall reminders on living our mission, purpose values, etc. It’s so ironic to me that despite the increasing complexity, regulation, bureaucracy and proverbial red tape that healthcare has become famous for, that an inspirational dose of simplicity has more effect on change than any other bestseller leadership book on how to motivate performance through some sort of complicated multistep process.

Brian Koppy. Chief Financial Officer of Cano Health (Miami): As a rapidly growing primary care provider, we have found that face-to-face interactions at our offices are as essential as they are in our medical centers. Our providers provide the best care when they see patients in person because it builds lifelong bonds that improve patient outcomes. In our offices, our team members feel more connected and integrated into the Cano Health family when we are together, both formally and informally. This, of course, does not mean we do not have a flexible work environment, which we do. It simply means our priority is on the employee benefits and outcomes that come from working in the office.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we moved many corporate employees to remote work and moved about 95 percent of our patient interactions to televisits. That did not last long, however. Within a month or two, our employees were asking to come back to the office. Our medical centers never closed their doors, and our visits rapidly returned to mostly in person. 

It’s the seemingly inconsequential daily interactions that often have the greatest impact on a company’s employees and their connection to the mission, values and culture of the organization. The quick stop-ins to someone’s workstation, the chance hallway encounters, the team lunches — these are so important in developing relationships and, in turn, maximizing efficiency. Employees who know and personally interact with each other work better together.  They discuss ideas, they strategize freely, and they execute on the company’s goals together and more effectively. 

At Cano Health, our high-touch approach to primary care is key to our success. And we believe that daily face-to-face interactions among employees are equally important to create a rewarding experience for our employees, but also expanding Cano Health’s services across the country.

Christopher O’Connor. President and incoming CEO of Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health:We are prioritizing one-on-one meetings and small groups. With our vaccination mandate, we feel it is critical to have that in-person contact and fill that void that video can’t replicate. This is a relationship business, and spending the time to build and nurture those relationships is critical.

Thomas J. Senker. President of MedStar Montgomery Medical Center (Olney, Md.): Before and especially during the pandemic our priority has been the well-being and engagement of our front-line staff and essential personnel. And while in-person activities have been limited, our executive team makes regular rounds visiting each unit, expressing gratitude, providing snacks and refreshments, and sharing important hospital updates directly. We believe these face-to-face interactions are critical opportunities to gain feedback and focus on areas of improvement across different areas of MedStar Montgomery Medical Center’s operations.

These are the 5 traits that set extraordinary people apart, says former FBI agent—‘but you need the entire set’

What makes someone extraordinary? As a retired FBI agent with more than 40 years of studying human behavior and performance, no question has captivated me more.

Extraordinary people have a wisdom and way of being that inspires and commands respect. They energize you with their wisdom and empathy. You want them to be your friend, neighbor, co-worker, manager, mentor or community leader.

The 5 traits of extraordinary people

Surprisingly, the qualities that make these people stand out aren’t related to their level of education, income or talents (say, in athletics or art or business).

As it turns out, based on thousands of observations, there are five traits that set exceptional individuals apart from everyone else — but you must have the entire set, and not just one or a few.

I call them “The Five Domains of Exceptional People”:

1. Self-mastery

Self-mastery brings out your best in whatever you do through dedication, curiosity and adaptability.

Usain Bolt, the fastest human to ever live, didn’t achieve that status merely through athletic ability. He achieved it through self-mastery: He learned, sacrificed, worked hard and remained diligently focused. Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, did the same.

But another side to self-mastery is knowing our emotions, strengths and, more importantly, our weaknesses. By understanding ourselves, we know things like when others should take the lead, when today is not our day or when we need to confront our demons.

Start attaining self-mastery by asking:

  • What areas need attention?
  • What knowledge, training or skills will help me pursue my goals?
  • What can I do now to initiate change?
  • How can I better myself through books, mentors, organizations, video tutorials or online classes?

2. Observation

We’re taught to look, but not to observe. We look to see if we can cross the street safely or what supermarket line is moving the fastest. It’s a passive experience that’s useful, but may not provide complete information.

Observing, on the other hand, is active; it requires effort, but the results are more enlightening. It’s about using all our senses to decode the world in real time for a more informed understanding of our environment and of others.

By working as an FBI agent and as an ethologist, I’ve developed my sensitivity for reading the needs, wants, desires, concerns and preferences of others — all crucial information for understanding and communicating with people.

The most observational people have a skill set that many lack. They instantly know:

  • What they are seeking and whether there may be multiple explanations.
  • How context and/or culture factors in.
  • How they can validate their observations and conclusions.
  • How to prioritize, separating the inconsequential from the essential.

3. Communication

We communicate constantly. Do it right and people will adore you. Do it wrong and you create doubt, indifference, even anger.

Exceptional communication skills elevate the quality of your relationships. It’s not about communicating perfectly, but rather effectively — and that builds trust. Here’s how:

  • Address emotions first. We cannot think or communicate clearly until emotions are dealt with. This is where reading body language is helpful.
  • Build rapport through caring and kindness. It can be verbal or nonverbal: a wave or an outstretched hand to acknowledge or welcome. Mirroring your companion’s gestures goes far.
  • Be prompt. Answering emails and calls promptly shows that you value others. Bad news shouldn’t be delayed, nor should gratitude and affirmation.
  • Listen to validate. Listen not only for what is said, but also in what order and how often certain words are mentioned. Repetition of a topic, for example, can shed light on unresolved or underlying problems.

4. Action

Our actions are the nonverbals that show who we are, what’s important to us and how we feel about others.

You can’t fully master this trait without the previous three: Self-mastery prepares us for possible actions to take based on what’s happening; observation allows us to understand the situation in context so we can act appropriately; communication allows us to give and receive the information and support to act.

Exceptional individuals weigh four major factors when making decisions:

  • Do my actions build trust?
  • Do my actions add value?
  • Do my actions positively influence or inspire?
  • Do my actions benefit others?

5. Psychological Comfort

Psychological comfort is a state where our biological and emotional needs and preferences are met.

It forms the bedrock of our mental and physical health, driving everything from our relationship choices to the brands we buy. We thrive when we have psychological comfort, and it’s especially essential in difficult times.

Since we’re primed to receive psychological comfort, it doesn’t take a grand gesture — it just takes the right one. It could be a calm voice, a kind word, an acknowledgment, a thank you note, a welcoming smile or suggesting a break.

Psychological comfort is where self-mastery, observation, communication and action join forces, helping you recognize and provide what best reduces unwanted emotions like stress, fear or apprehension.

It’s simple: In the 21st century, whoever provides the most psychological comfort wins.

The power of presence during the pandemic

https://mailchi.mp/66ebbc365116/the-weekly-gist-june-11-2021?e=d1e747d2d8

The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage  Others: Hedges, Kristi: 9780814417737: Amazon.com: Books

A physician leader asked recently whether we saw many health system executive teams work remotely throughout the pandemic. At her system, nearly every non-clinical leader worked mostly from home. “It seemed like two of our executives spent most of last year at their vacation homes,” she shared. “I know that we were being socially distant, but when our CEO held a virtual town hall from his beach house, it felt really tone deaf to our doctors and nurses.” In our experience, we saw most leaders spending many days in the office, even if some meetings were on Zoom. One

CEO mentioned he felt compelled to come to his office, even if it meant working alone: “If the people working on the front lines came in, I felt I needed to come in. And in the rare case someone needed to connect in person, they knew I was there.” There is power in just being visible to caregivers.

One recently retired CEO shared that he knew colleagues who rarely stepped into a hospital during the pandemic, missing a critical leadership opportunity. “No one expects the CEO to be hanging out in the COVID unit,” he shared.

“But being in our facilities, not just in the office, to hear directly from frontline workers and express gratitude, was so important—and caregivers remember that.” Now fully vaccinated, most health system leadership teams are back in the office. To remain competitive, health systems will likely need to create models that allow some non-clinical associates to work virtually—which will require evolution of cultures long centered around in-person collaboration.