On the surface, most hospitals more or less look the same, don’t they? And yet, somehow they just feel different, whether from hospital to hospital or even just ward to ward. Think about that a little bit: even two hospitals with the same sterile walls and chaotic hustle-bustle can feel entirely distinct from each other, just based on the vibes you get from the staff attending to your care. Are the nurses and doctors walking around tensely, taking down every measurement just right but leaving you feeling cold, in the dark, or not quite cared for? Or are they doing that same accurate medical work, but with a sense of human connection and genuine joyfulness that not only makes you feel like you’re in safe hands, but brightens your spirits and pushes you to keep moving forward towards recovery? That’s the difference that organizational culture can bring to even the most otherwise-competent healthcare facility.
If words can shape our attitude, ask yourself this: “Is my attitude helping my team or my customers? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?” Be the spark, the living invitation. With your words. Because they matter. Scientific American spoke with Lera Boroditsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego, about why words matter and how language changes our perceptions of the world. “Words have power. If I tell you this hamburger is 80% lean as opposed to 20% fat, then in some sense I am communicating the same thing. But what people get from those two communications is very different: People perceive the 80% lean hamburger as much healthier than the 20% fat option. By choosing how you frame and talk about something, you are cuing others to think about it in a specific way. We can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something.”
“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”
American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter) wrote that in the mid-1800’s, but he certainly recognized the power of words. The weight of words. How they make us feel, about ourselves, and the world around us. Words can fuel hopes and dreams. Or extinguish them. Words can excite, inspire, elate, sadden, frighten, or anger us. What you say matters. It shapes your environment. Your work. Your life. Words at work Whether we physically go into an office or workplace setting, or work remotely, the fact is most of us spend more hours at work than we do with friends or family. And it’s only natural to want that time to be the happiest – and most productive – it can possibly be.
“Try to make someone’s day today,” Doug called after his daughter, as she kissed him goodbye before heading toward the school building. “I will!” she called back, glancing over her shoulder. As Doug drove his car away and headed to work, he reminded himself to also “make someone’s day.” For him, finding simple ways to create excitement for his team helped them become more effective in their individual roles and responsibilities. This idea of “making someone’s day,” is all about choosing the right attitude before you get out of bed each morning. Whether you’re a parent, a department manager, or both, the type of attitude you choose to portray and nurture will have a significant impact on those around you.
All corporations, for-profit or not for profit, must have a margin. The cost of healthcare has been scrutinized for many years and yet it continues to rise. Hospitals are becoming more financially challenged and leadership has to determine the strategy to sustain the financial health of their institutions. There are two opposing strategies to accomplish both improved culture and margin. Does the leadership focus on the margin so the team can pay higher wages and pay for the “nice things to do for the staff” to then improve the corporate culture? Or do they focus on the organization's culture to improve the margin?
If you are leading an organization in times of difficulty, you need an extra spark to keep your head up. The requirement for you to be the chief encourager and visionary doesn't dissolve because the economy is down. The expectation for you to show up with vision, passion, and commitment still rests upon you. In times of difficulty, there is a separation among leaders – those who just have a “title” that indicates their leadership and those who truly have the mantle of leadership. The title will give that person access, provision, and affluence. The mantle of leadership, however, may also provide sleepless nights, heartache, and discouragement – as well as joy – at various times.
There’s no denying it. We live in a different world than the one we lived in just weeks ago. Businesses worldwide have been affected in ways that are still largely unknown. Storefronts across the nation have either shut down completely or they are adapting to the new normal. The ways in which we interact with one another have shifted from mostly in-person to strictly virtual platforms—and our prior social norms are expected to transform in the near future to fit the post-pandemic reality. As we physically distance and adapt to this new world, we’re called to bravely show up for ourselves and each other. Now more than ever, looking to the practices of The FISH! Philosophy can help shape how we take on each day...
As a former CEO of hospitals across the midwest for 35 years, our CEO Jonathan Goble brings a great perspective to FISH! in healthcare during this difficult time. I believe today, with the onslaught of COVID 19 ravaging our resources, our people and our attitudes, we (hospitals) are particularly at risk without a specific strategy to address the impact this pandemic has on our people and culture. As healthcare workers we are brave and will walk into the face of danger. We do it each and every day, even without COVID 19 present in our midst. We are hard workers who are willing to work extremely long hours when needed. We are called in and called off and still come back to serve our patients the next day. We have strange senses of humor because of the work that we face. It helps to be a bit irreverent when the seriousness of our work could easily drain our spirit. We are strong but the challenges of the healthcare world today threatens our infrastructure and our people. So, how could FISH! help?
Human survival used to depend on being aware of everything around us, from predators to deadly weather. These days the “threat” is a constant flood of information. More texts and emails. More calls. More news. More entertainment. More everything. The result? We are trying to pay attention to so many things that we are losing the ability to focus for long on anything. According to one study, the average person loses concentration after eight seconds. A goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds. The ability to maintain attention is key to decision-making and performance. Research has found a correlation between focus and career advancement. Here are five tips to improve your focus skills:
In our last FISH! blog we explored how to mindfully Choose Your Attitude. In Part 2, we shed some new light on a particular attitude: When people say “Choose Your Attitude”, they usually mean, “Choose a Positive Attitude!” It can feel like an accusation or an order. What if you’re not naturally outgoing or you don’t have a sparkling smile? If you take care of your customers and get your work done, does it matter how you do it?