The story is told of a young professional who was promoted into a position of power and authority, invited into the C-suite. The young professional, honored and humbled by this new role, texted a gray haired friend and asked for some advice.
“I am delighted to be given this opportunity", he explained. "The Board is looking for me to lead. It will be awesome to be in a position to help the support staff, advocate for the doctors and help the organization grow. But, as a CXX what do I really do?”, he asked.
His friend contemplated different approaches to the answer, the elder was reminded of the story of three masons chipping stone, all doing the same work, but only one described his work as building a cathedral. Searching for relevance to the healthcare industry….
“Well”, she said, “As a CXX of a medical group, you’ll be doing CPR every day!”.
“What do you mean?”, he replied.
“You’ll be communicating, persuading and paying attention to results every day”. Let me unpack this with you” she said.
Communication is a very broad topic, sometimes focused on why, sometimes what, sometimes how. As professionals we communicate to provide clarity, to set expectations, to build consensus, to delegate a task, to control outcomes and at times our role in communication is to simply listen. And, sometimes we communicate to motivate, or to persuade.
“Persuade?”, he responded, “I thought my role was to provide direction, tell people what to do.”
“In a professional environment, and particularly with physicians and clinical professionals, we rarely “direct” work. As professionals, doctors know what to do. When it comes to the business of medicine sometimes education is needed. In the process, there is nothing more important than “starting with why” to quote author Simon Sinek. Sharing the “why”, and persuading becomes the art of the communication. Persuade your people that change is needed, build on “why”, and spark their creativity with a dose of inspiration.”
“I understand”, he replied. “Knowing why we are doing something gives work a purpose. Tell me more about results?”, he asked.
“Patrick Lencioni wrote a fable on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. He uses a five level pyramid to illustrate these dysfunctions. Absence of Trust on the bottom tier and Inattention to Results at the tip of the pyramid. At the core of our work is the need to produce results. The healthcare industry is focused on clinical “outcomes”, or results if you will. As a CXX, your efforts are focused not only on clinical results, but, operational, cultural and financial results.”
Focusing on results will be the topic of a presentation by MedMan at the annual Medical Group Management Association Conference in New Orleans in October. Myself and Jay Holmes, CPA and one of the owners of MedMan will be speaking on how to monitor results and use that information to improve the organization.