HOW TO CREATE HEALTH-SECTOR SUCCESS?
THE SECRET — CREATE INSPIRED COMMUNITIES
How do leaders harness the energies of diverse mindsets? Today, talented people are “paid volunteers.” A paycheck doesn’t hold them to the job as it did their grandparents’ generation. Leaders must recognize that the best talent can go anywhere and work from anywhere, particularly in a COVID-19 environment. What is needed to connect these energetic individuals to each other is a mission so powerful that they see it as bigger than any one person — bigger than the business.
It is purpose, rather than a paycheck, that motivates amazing people to excel. In our field, communications is the bridge that connects healers with those seeking to be healed.
Right now, we’re facing massive population health challenges. The epidemic of non-communicable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health issues continues on its destructive trajectory. In the post-pandemic world, 10 million Americans may be without employer-based health insurance. Health innovators and their communication agencies will play a vital role in finding solutions to these public health and access-to-care priorities. Now is the time for leaders of these communities to assess how they will mobilize and build cohesive culture.
Motivated people understand the power of communication to bring a sense of purpose and unity to the work. Fragmentation limits the potential of our ideas and their societal impact. Within the health ecosystem, providers, payers, patients, and product innovators must recognize that the collaborative search for solutions is in their individual and collective best interests. Good communications, created by teams of motivated individuals, have the power to drive synchronicity around a higher purpose.
Here are four important considerations for fostering a mission-centered culture that connects communities of purpose to be extraordinary in effort:
1. Cultivate Collaboration. Organizations often set out to create distinct identities for themselves and can become known as innovative, smart, or reliable. But shared values are what makes a company great. When a problem becomes acute, the test of a culture is how willing people are to put everything aside to ask each other, “How can I help and what do you need?” That culture of collaboration creates the mindset that together, we can do anything.
2. Abolish CYA (Cover Your …) Service enterprises thrive when they develop an inspired community dedicated to transparency, free from blaming and mudslinging. Who among us hasn’t had an experience with a coach, manager or leader who used blame, shame and threats to motivate? It might work for a very short time, but it’s abusive and wrong. The result is a CYA culture in which no one takes risks and no one wants to stand out. Instead, people become experts in not having the finger pointed at them. No one does outstanding work; even the organization’s stars don’t stick around long. Sometimes, despite people’s best intentions, things don’t happen as expected. Effective leaders don’t waste time looking to blame. They seek to understand, share learnings and demonstrate empathy when things go awry.
3. Become a Learning Organization. So, you made a mistake. Don’t feel intimidated or upset; contribute what you have learned to others. The greatest thing we can do to foster learning is not to focus on titles; rather, to acquire and share knowledge. Knowledge is all about deploying data quickly for collective use and benefit — shifting from hard drive to Google Docs. We are all each other’s teachers. In sharing successes and failures promptly, we elevate our communal capacity to a higher level of achievement. Experiences become shared and the community grows stronger together. In learning organizations, people feel that they’re valued because they’re being elevated professionally and emotionally, taking risks and interacting with others, resulting in heightened levels of performance.
4. Form a more perfect union. We are imperfect. We can’t do everything. Each of us has strengths and offers unique perspective. The framers of the Constitution used the phrase “…form a more perfect union” advisedly. In following their example, we can create a sense of unity and become better by identifying colleagues’ strengths — and our own — and playing to them. In a community of purpose, we want to have many on the bus, and we want to make sure that everyone finds the right seat, doing what they do better than anyone else. To rise toward the level of perfection we want to attain, leaders must help people feel great in their seat and help them drive forward, together.
On a final note, communities united in purpose — facing challenges shoulder-to-shoulder — are also eager to inspire one another and celebrate successes together. On October first of this year, PM360 will present me with its “Lifetime Achievement Award.” While extremely gratifying, it also illustrates that mission-centered communities thrive and growth together. No work is done alone, and no award is achieved alone. It’s the culmination of the work of a very supportive community — comprising hundreds of dedicated individuals. In accepting this award, though it will arrive clean in its box, I’ll see hundreds of people’s fingerprints indelibly marked on the crystal. I’m grateful to all of them. They contributed to the shared journey. They chose to join me in the mission to champion health innovation and improve the human condition. The honor goes to the community.