May 07, 2024


128. Empathy and Connection: The Essence of Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare

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Brendan Rogers
128. Empathy and Connection: The Essence of Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare
Culture of Leadership
128. Empathy and Connection: The Essence of Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare

May 07 2024 | 00:57:17


Show Notes

Listen in as we explore the essential facets of human-centered leadership in healthcare, inspired by the groundbreaking work of Dr. Bill Maples and his colleagues, Dr. Bridget Duffy and Dr. Ron Paulus. My journey in healthcare has been revolutionized by their insights into creating a culture that cherishes human connections, both within our teams and with patients. We unpack the profound impact of leading with empathy, presence, and vulnerability, and discuss the ripple effects of this leadership style on small and medium businesses, underlining the power of building trust and respect in every interaction.

This episode also zeroes in on the significance of being fully present in business settings. Apologizing for tardiness and giving someone your undivided attention can change the entire dynamic of a meeting. I share actionable strategies to help leaders foster an attentive and focused team environment, and the transformational effects of cultivating gratitude in the workplace. You’ll learn how these practices not only increase personal efficiency but also deepen the trust and connection you have with colleagues, shifting workplace dynamics from the brink of burnout to a state of thriving.

Wrapping up, our conversation with Jennifer delves into the blend of technical acumen and human-centered leadership. She sheds light on the development of a people operating system that champions character, competence, and connection. We also discuss the shift from traditional feedback methods to a forward-looking approach that capitalizes on individual strengths, and how these methods can be applied to enhance both leader and patient experiences. Join us as we reflect on the joy of leadership that comes from seeing others succeed and the anticipation of Jennifer’s contributions to the field.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: What if we think about it as feedforward? Marcus Buckingham has written a couple wonderful articles in the Harvard Business Review on feedforward and really using a mechanism in real time to think about where are your strengths, where do you excel, how are you excelling and in the moment thinking about really playing on those strengths? And if there is something that needs to be worked on, how do you use those strengths to help them move forward based on where they're at versus where somebody else's performance is? And so it's a whole different shift on from feedback to feedforward. And we work a lot with leaders on those concepts. And so it's pretty remarkable on how that can change from a leader perspective. [00:00:54] Speaker B: Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a truly impactful leader in today's fast paced world? Well, you're about to find out. Today. We're diving into the heart of leadership with Jennifer Kripner. Through her role at the Institute of Healthcare Excellence and a career spanning over three decades, Jennifer is at the forefront of integrating human centred leadership into the fabric of healthcare. The Institute of Healthcare Excellence isn't just leading, they're inspiring a movement that redefines what it means to connect, lead and thrive in the challenging world of healthcare. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Jennifer. Tell us a little bit about the institute, actually, as we start. [00:02:00] Speaker A: Sure. The Institute for Healthcare Excellence was founded about in 2014 after our founder, Doctor Bill Maples, worked at a large health system in Florida. And they were really trying to answer the call to this issue around patient experience, patient satisfaction, and trying to really marry that with the brand of their health system. And so he was tasked at the time, as chief quality officer to think about how do we talk with our patients differently, how do we connect with them differently, and really found through that that it's also about how our employees show up and how do we lead with our teams differently. And so he was able to, at that time, create a training curriculum and solutions to really meet the needs not only of the patients, but also of the team and the leaders. And so from that he created the Institute for Healthcare Excellence. [00:02:59] Speaker B: Fantastic. Sounds quite meaningful. What got you into. We're going to talk about this human centred leadership approach that you guys take in your role as chief experience officer. What got you into this space or got you interested in this term, human centered leadership? [00:03:14] Speaker A: Yeah. So my interest in this has. I've always been in healthcare. So I've spent almost 30 years inside of healthcare. And when I met Doctor Maples and Doctor Bridget Duffy and Doctor Ron Paul as we were part of this national collaborative, really trying to figure out how do we as leaders and executives lead teams in a human centered way versus just checking the boxes and doing those kind of technical things that we all went to school for, that we all knew that we had to do from a regulatory standpoint, how do we create a different sense of humanistic and human side, of caring as we were thinking about in 2012, 2013, about tackling healthcare in a different and unique way that would help us stand out and help us create a differentiated experience for our teams, for our communities that we were serving and living in. And so we really wanted to come together to think about how might we think about creating a culture of excellence rooted in the human experience from a leadership perspective. And so we came together as kind of a national collaborative to think about that. And then the institute became part of that thought leadership. And that's really when I leaned into for my career, how do I show up as a leader? Where am I at in my experience at leading a team, not only my direct team, but I really think about my team as the patients that we serve in the hospital as well. I mean, that's ultimately why we're there. And so broadening your team as thinking about your customers as well. [00:04:58] Speaker B: Jennifer, can you just define human centred leadership for us? [00:05:03] Speaker A: Yeah, I think there's not one way to define that. I really think multiple. [00:05:08] Speaker B: It never is, is there? With lots of things. [00:05:12] Speaker A: I think it's really showing up with that sense of empathy towards one another and really leaning into understanding where that other person's coming from. Whether, like I said before, whether it's the people that directly report to you, are you connected to them, are you listening to them? Are you present in a way that you're able to approach that conversation or leading the meeting, or leading your patient care in a way that you're present and you're able to be curious with them being vulnerable with them developing that sense of trust and respect in a way that they're able to reciprocate with you that level of trust so that one you can build on that relationship, they're going to be able to give back to you in the way that you can give to them. And I think at that point you're able to get more to that optimal performance, that one as a leader you're hoping to get to. But if you're also a caregiver, you're also going to get the buy in from your patient as well, if they're able to trust you. So I think it's being human yourself, being able to be present and be able to listen and connect with the other person in a way, versus just saying. I have this checklist of five things I need to do today with this team or in this meeting or with this patient, and be mechanical or transactional about it. It's really leaning into being a person and putting yourself in the other person's shoes. [00:06:49] Speaker B: You touched on some fantastic points that I'm sure we will unpack a bit more through the course of this conversation. Our audience is generally small business leaders, small business owners, small to medium business owners, and leaders. So if we use that framework, how can these business leaders use human centered principles in their own leadership style in their small businesses? [00:07:12] Speaker A: Right. Well, I think this is applicable to anybody, any size of business. As long as you're interacting with human beings and connecting with other people in an environment where one, you want to create that trust and respect with one another, I think it's important to think about how do you show up as a leader? What's important to you as you're connecting to someone else is, are you multitasking when you're talking to somebody else? Are you really focused on that other person at that given moment? I know that I thought I was a pretty good leader when I started this work. And it wasn't really until somebody, one of my direct reports kind of stopped me in the middle of our one on one and said, you know what, do you mind just shutting down the notifications on your computer, because you seem to be a little bit distracted. And, you know, I really prided myself on being a very busy leader. Right? We all think, oh, I'm so busy. I'm running from meeting to meeting and kind of always apologizing for being late or being too busy. And I kind of stopped at that moment and thought, you know what? It's really not a badge of honor to be so busy and always being late. It's really important to stop and being present and being there for that person that's in front of you, that's your most important task of that moment and of that time. And when you can do that, it's not only fulfilling for the person or the team in front of you, but it's really fulfilling for yourself as a leader to create that connection, to create that trust, and to create that respect with your team or that person in front of you. So I think that's the very first and most foundational thing that you can do as a leader is to think about, how can I be present in this moment for this task, for this person, for this team. And that's something that we do at the Institute for Healthcare Excellence is thinking about what are the skills that you need as a leader to be human centered and help you facilitate and practice being present with one another. [00:09:22] Speaker B: In the hybrid working world, I've seen too many business owners and their businesses suffer because of poor performing employees, leading to below average results. If you want to improve your employees performance to deliver consistent results for your business, you have to master one on one meetings. The doors to our master one on one meetings training program are opening soon. I'll teach you how to improve employee performance and deliver consistent results using one on one meetings. To be one of the first people notified when the doors open, go to leader by design. Don't wait. Sign up. Now. Let's unpack that a little bit more. In particular, let's see if we can encourage people to take off this badge of honour, because that's exactly the term you used and exactly what was going through my head, actually, it is a badge of honour that a lot of leaders, particularly small business owners, have. And you linked it to your professional, you know, you received some feedback from a person who obviously you had a trusting relationship with to give that sort of feedback. What was it sort of about that feedback? And then particularly, what could leaders in small businesses utilize from your own growth experience there to take off this badge of honor, not wear it so proudly and be more human centered, be more empathetic, some of these words you use, but more focused on the person that's in front of them. [00:10:52] Speaker A: Well, I think it's one just really being humble and recognizing yourself that there are, if you're doing a one on one conversation or a team meeting, that people are looking up to you as a leader to lead them. Right. And in order to do that, you can't be checking your phone, you can't be rushing from one thing to the next. You might just need to take a moment and pause either before you walk into that room in space to say, okay, I'm going to take a deep breath in and I'm going to take a deep breath out. I'm going to leave where I was at the door and I'm going to come in and be present for them because they're really looking to me as the leader to be present for them in this moment and to be able to connect with them and lead them in the way that they want to be led for this discussion or topic or agenda, it's really important to them, they're investing the time to be here as well. So one, acknowledge that this is the sacred time that they're giving up and that you're giving up. And so how can we be the best that we can be in that moment? So one pause, take a breath. Notice it doesn't take very long to limit your distractions during that time. Turn your phone over, put it in your pocket. Minimize those distractions. Turn your computer screen off. Let your assistant or somebody know outside the door not to be interrupted. You know, if you have to close the door or draw the shades or something. There are ways for us to notify others that you have my attention 100% of the time. Don't apologize again for being late. Oh, I'm really sorry. I'm five minutes late for the meeting. I got stopped by so and so in the hallway. I think, what does that do? Right? It makes that other person feel like, oh, I guess I'm not that valuable. How about if you just say, I'm sorry, I'm late. I'm here. Now you have 100% of my attention. It puts the focus on the other person versus about me and all the things that I was so important about. Again, it's taking that badge of honor off and really putting the validation on the other person. You're important now. I'm here for you. You have my soul attention. So I think that's really important. Really simple for us to do that. And if you don't have the time, reschedule. Say, it's okay, you know, I really value your time. I want to spend 45 minutes with you. It looks like we were cut short. How about if we do this again? Try this again tomorrow. [00:13:40] Speaker B: Once again, very, very. You use the word simple. Very simple in theory can often be more challenging application, obviously, so, and you talked about, you mentioned pause, take a breath. But are there any personal strategies that you use that you can suggest for business leaders, business owners to help you get to that point where you're actually actively, deliberately pausing and taking a breath and being deliberately focused? [00:14:06] Speaker A: Well, I think there's several. For one, it takes practice. Like you said, it's not something that comes naturally to us. So definitely you have to think about it. Practicing, and I would say set out the first week to say, okay, I'm going to try it once. I'm going to choose this meeting and I am going to try it with this person. And so let's choose for the week on Wednesday. I have this one on one. I'm going to put my phone in the drawer. I'm going to turn my computer off and I am going to just set aside this time I'm going to be on time and I'm going to just evaluate how did that connection go? How did that meeting go? How did I feel afterwards? How did that other person feel afterwards? And then maybe next week try it again with another person in this time. Now, before you go into that meeting, take a breath, take a moment to say, okay, I'm going to take three deep breaths, in and out. I'm going to do all the things that I did last week and then again reevaluate. How did this meeting feel? Do you feel more productive? Did you end the meeting early because you were present? A lot of times when we go into those meetings distracted and late, we have to repeat some of the things that we can you tell me again or you have to send another email or do a follow up phone call because you were distracted during those meetings. And so I think we can be more efficient if we're present and the other person, again, like I said, feels more valued, feels more connected to you. And I think you just build trust in a more efficient manner. So take small steps, try something this week, add to it next week, do a couple more things the following week, and I think you'll get to see the benefit of it not only for yourself, but with the people that you're meeting with and that you're leading. And then take it to a team meeting. Let's say you're having a meeting and you're running an agenda, and I love this one, and I practice this now quite often, and we're going to start the meeting. Before we do, I just want to make sure before we dive into our work, is there anything distracting us before we get started? And it allows everybody else to say, hmm, I'm going to pause for a moment and see, am I ready to dive in right now, or is there something on the team that's really going to prevent us from tackling our agenda today? And if there is, let's get it out in the space, because if we don't get it out in the space, everybody's going to be distracted anyway. They're not going to be paying attention to what's on the agenda, and you're going to have to rework that agenda at a whole nother meeting. So it's as simple as the leader stating, is there anything before we dive into our agenda today that's going to be distracting us? So anything on your mind now you can open it up and just popcorn it and have people just shout out what they're distracted about. You could have a few plants in the room, you know, let people know ahead of time what you're going to do so that you feel like you've got some support that's a little bit more down the road if you want to try that option as well. [00:17:34] Speaker B: You could even have one of those lovely images in the background that you've got in your room there about, hey, Jennifer, what's helped? What's making you be grateful, thankful and blessed today? Tell us, what is, what are you so grateful, thankful and blessed about? Jennifer? [00:17:51] Speaker A: Yes, you could absolutely start meetings. You can end meetings like that, too, because that's a, gratitude is such a positive emotion that can really change and shift our focus out of one of a deficit and one that negative biases that we are really hardwired for into a space of thriving. And don't we all want to go to work in a thriving environment? And so a lot of our work at the institute is really focused on moving from burnout to thriving. And how do you do that and how do you shift to that and being present and that foundational skill of being present with one another is really important and able to get to that state of thriving. [00:18:40] Speaker B: Absolutely. I love the personal advice you're giving. I'll make a comment on that and then go into the team side that you touched on as well. But the thing I would add to the personal advice you're giving is that, and if you stuff up once, like, if you don't actually achieve that level of presence that you're trying to achieve, don't worry about it. Like it's happened, as you say, in that process, reflecting on it, don't beat yourself out and say, oh, I can't do this, I can't be present, whatever, and just think, one failure and you're gone. The advice around the team side and that connection with the team, really important stuff. Again, I love that advice you're giving. Is there anything else that or strategies, techniques, tools you've utilized that's really helped you double down on that connection with the teams that you lead, both in your previous roles and in your current role? [00:19:27] Speaker A: Sure. Well, I think coupling the skill of being present with reflective listening, I think marrying those two is really important. If you can be present and then really opening up to listening without interrupting so much that they're able to tell their side of the story is super important and then reflecting back so that they feel like they've been heard. So if you were able, if you were to tell me something and I was able to reflect back what I heard you say, there are studies out there that talk about how it almost equals, like, such a strong healing effect for that other person. There's been studies on patients with back pain that if you just practice listening, reflective listening with them, that they get better. So it's really powerful if you're able to help reflect back what you heard that other person say and then also asking powerful questions or questions that we don't know what the answer could be. So being really open and curious to what that other person might be thinking about something instead of just going in with our biases, like what we think they know, just being open and curious and really soliciting their input and feedback around a certain topic. So I might, as a leader, think that I know what the agenda should be for our team meeting this month. Well, what if we switched and flipped the switch around the team agenda and said, what would you like the agenda to be? And open it up with powerful questions, without putting our agenda out first and open powerful questions at the beginning of the meeting? And let's say we only have an hour today for our meeting. How about if you know, of these five topics that you all brought up, what are the top two that you would like to discuss today and being open to tackle those first two things and say, next month we can get to the other three? Does that sound okay to you? Because who's meeting? Is it the leaders meeting or is it the team's meeting? I think it's, you know, everybody's meeting. So let's. Let's not make it about the leader. Let's make it about the team. [00:21:58] Speaker B: Yeah. Again, I would say again, there's, it depends on what the focus or the intent of the meeting is, but I absolutely agree with, with where you're going and what you're saying. I think in a nutshell, what you're saying is if you can allow people to feel like they're being heard and listened to, then that ultimately creates this level of connection. If they're not feeling that, then it's almost like there's a brick wall there. And over time, people aren't going to hit their head against a brick wall, aren't they? They're going to vote with their feet, supposedly. [00:22:27] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. [00:22:30] Speaker B: Can you just explain, just so we're really clear, myself and our listeners and watchers on YouTube, reflective listening. [00:22:38] Speaker A: Yes. So reflective listening is allowing, let's say you ask somebody a question and they respond and what you do before you jump in with your response, you actually reflect back what they heard and then ask, is that what I heard you say? [00:22:55] Speaker B: Excellent. Thank you for clarifying that up. Jennifer, let's talk a bit about resilience, because that's a pretty important attribute, I think, in the business world as a whole. What sort of, what part does resilience play, in your opinion? Also linked to the human centred leader approach. [00:23:16] Speaker A: Oh, my goodness. In healthcare right now, and I would say what we're seeing across the country is resilience is incredibly important. You know, the ability to bounce back after something's happened or a tough situation or a tough conversation, or when things are kind of, you know, not going the way that you would want them to go. Having that ability to bounce back is really important. And so how do we do that? And what are the skills? What are the things that we need as a leader to be able to do that? And I think you can't have a checklist. I'll go back to that each time. A checklist is. [00:23:58] Speaker B: I love checklists, Jennifer, you're telling me I can't have a checklist for everything. [00:24:02] Speaker A: I love checklists, too. And if you pair them with the right skills so that you can make them human centered, it's really great, because I think you. I feel better and I really think that having the checklist is a great guide. And having, you know, it being the technical skills are really good. But when you add the cultural skills to it and that human centered level of ability to connect with somebody and understand what that other person is going through and talking about, you're going to get culture transformation. When you marry those two together. We think about resilience, we think about burnout. Right? Everybody's talking about burnout. They kind of know and feel like stress induced burnout is really what I like to define, is the impaired ability to experience positive emotions. That's how we're kind of defining it right now in our work. So burnout is the impaired ability to experience positive emotions. And so you're going through your day, you're stressed out, you're not able to check up all the things on your technical checklist, you're not making those connections with people. And it's just day after day after day. You can't experience joy, you can't experience hope, you're not feeling any gratitude, you can't come up with things that you're grateful for, that you're blessed or that you're thankful for. It's just, it's every day at the end of the day, you're thinking about all the things that went wrong. What we really. What we really like to focus on is how do we get our team, or how do we get ourselves to that state of thriving? And when we think about thriving, we like to think of cultivating positive emotions, cultivating the things that are good that are happening, and really shifting our focus away from all the deficits into ones that are thriving. Those positive emotions that we see, those moment to moment conversations, they don't have to be those really big things that happen, like a recognition party or an award that you get. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm really talking about that moment when you sit with somebody and you pause and you take a deep breath, and then you really hear what they have to say, and you're able to make that connection. Or you lead a team meeting, and people are engaged and sign up for things, or come away from the meeting with something that they're grateful for. Those are the positive emotions that I'm talking about. They can happen in small doses, frequently throughout your day. And when you go home at the end of the day and think, instead of thinking about, boy, I wish I would have led that meeting better, or I wish I would have handled that sale differently, or I wish I would have, you know, all the things that we think about, those three things that I didn't check off my list, that's how we usually go home at the end of the day. Instead, if you're in a state of thriving and able to connect to those positive emotions frequently throughout the day, you're thinking about, wow, I had that one really good conversation. I was able to check off three things off my list. I was able to send out a proposal instead of the things that you weren't able to do. And that's really where we want to get people into the space. That's where we, as human centered leaders, want our teams to go home at the end of the day and think about the things that went well. So shifting the focus from what doesn't go well to what does go well, and some of the positive emotions can be amusement, they can be pride, they can be love, humor, serenity, hope, gratitude, joy. There's about ten of them out there in the literature that if we can connect to those in different moments, they're amazing. It can be as simple as seeing a picture of somebody on one of our co workers desks and say, instead of walking by it every single day like we have for the last year, stop for a moment, look at the picture and say, tell me about this picture. Where was it taken? Or why did you choose this picture to be on your desk? Think about the positive emotions you're going to evoke, not only in that person, but now you're learning something new about a coworker. [00:29:08] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. I love it. It's funny how things happen in life, isn't it, that I had myself and my wife and little one that we care for is just come back from a nine day break. And I only said to a couple of days ago when came back that I didn't realize I needed the break until we came back from the break. And I just felt refreshed. I felt more focused than obviously what I had been, but didn't really know it before the break. And it'd been a while since we had a decent break. And then I started to think, well, yeah, the work I do with, with business owners, small business owners and leaders is, you know, every 90 days we're coaching through the period, but every 90 days. 90 days. Days we're taking time out, either myself and the leader or myself and their team together, and we're resetting a bit of an off site and, okay, let's recharge the battery, so to speak, and set that. But I'm not doing that for myself. So I've said to my wife, like, I just need to put it in my calendar because if it's not my calendar, it doesn't happen. Put in my calendar, you know, every 90 days or just every, every few months, we've just got to take two or three days and break and ideally go to somewhere where there's limited service because that helped me a lot. We were in a place with very limited service, so you'd, even if you wanted to check your phone, it was absolutely useless to check your phone. So again, you don't, you just don't realize, or I find you don't realize until something forces you to take the break and then you come back and boom. That to me is like, well, how do you. Okay, I'm self aware, conscious enough to say, you know what? I just need to do this. And I've done that. So I feel pretty disciplined in doing that. But in doing that going forward, how do you. Not everyone has that level of discipline. I know that from working with lots of leaders. How do you, how do you get them to start to see that process and the value of it in your experience? [00:30:58] Speaker A: Yeah, that, that is, that's the million dollar question. Right. I think how do I ask lots. [00:31:04] Speaker B: Of million dollar questions? Not all my guests can give me the million dollar answer. [00:31:09] Speaker A: Well, I can show you our million dollar story because I think, I mean, you're a very successful leader in this space and it sounds like you had a wonderful nine days off. Recognize that it was really important to you for your own resilience. And probably your wife would say that she probably saw a change in you as well when you came back, that you needed that boost and that energy. And you know of yourself that you need to schedule that now into your routine and day and not wait this long for your next one. Absolutely. And I think I know that as well about myself and I do this work, and yet we all get to those points. So for it to become a habit, we need to practice it. And I think with the work at the Institute for Healthcare Excellence is we go into an organization, we work with a team and we help them learn these skills and we practice the skills in real time. It's very experiential. So we use in their setting, in their team, with their leaders and their team to practice presence, reflective listening, these powerful questions really getting into the emotion and gratitude of conflict and how do you work with that? And then we actually train them to train their own teams. And so it's like this slow iv infusion that goes on and on every single month and you start to see your coworkers and your other leaders using the same foundational skills. And then as you see others practicing every single day and day out in the same meetings, you're starting to see this common language form. And when you see that happens, that's kind of this magical spirit of culture transformation happen over time. And that becomes that accountability piece that helps the stickiness, should I say, of the skills and this work take shape and take form and help people with that resilience and just become more human centered people in the work that they do. [00:33:31] Speaker B: Can you explain that? Is there a breakthrough moment story that comes to mind where elitist had that badge of honour that we referred to earlier and then over time, through this iv drip that happens in your environment, they've reached this stage. Can you explain something there? [00:33:47] Speaker A: Yeah. I'll never forget one of the physician leaders we were working with. We were in this human centered leadership curriculum course that we were doing and it was a day and a half and she's like, I really don't have time for this. I feel like I'm a pretty good leader. And then we were, we came back and we were doing this five step process with them. And it was like a month later, and we were talking about going from burnout to thriving. And she said she was a crispy physician. She's very burnt out and just kind of at her ends, you know, kind of at her end point. And we started talking about thriving in these positive emotions and experiencing that not only from a leader, but also from a clinician standpoint. And she had this light bulb moment for her. She looked at us, she said it didn't make sense until now, but she said, like, I can actually talk about love and joy in the workplace. Like, I can actually be a human and interact with my team and my patients in a way that makes me human. And when she got the permission to do that, she became a regional medical director. She became, I mean, she just flourished as this young human primary care physician and went on to speak. And, I mean, she just flourished as, like, this light bulb that hit her. Like, she can be human in the work that she does. And so to be able to give that gift to people across the country is to allow them to think about, you don't have to have this wall up. You don't have to be this clinical checklist person where you go through the standard things that people require you to do, but you can also connect with one another. [00:35:39] Speaker B: Absolutely. Just makes me think there's so many small business owners out there that I think they feel like they've got to get up in the morning before they do any shower, clean teeth, they put their suit of armor on, ready for battling out the day, and they just don't realize that they can be real and they don't need to have all the answers. Like, yes, they've developed the business, grow on the business, all that sort of stuff, but it still doesn't mean you've got all the answers. You use that word humble and humility much earlier, and it's about having that level of humility to realize that. And then again, that openness, listening to the team, asking questions and getting good results, I imagine, leads to that. [00:36:18] Speaker A: Right. And I think you go home at the end of the day feeling so different. I mean, it's a both and right. You have to have the business strategy and the sense of knowing right. All the technical things of your business and your job, but you also can have that human connection with one another. And I think when you do that, you're going to have optimal team performance. Your team is going to get and rally behind you, especially if you're going to have a rough fourth quarter, if quarters one through three, you had great team trust and respect. They're going to be there for you in the fourth quarter. They're going to be there to support you. They're going to be there to rally when things aren't so great because you've had those connections with them, because you've built that trust, because they know you as a person. And I think there's nothing greater than knowing somebody as a person and having those connections and creating that humility and vulnerability with another person and also being able to be that leader. There is a fine balance with all of that, of course, but it doesn't. It's not, it's not an either or. It's a both and. [00:37:38] Speaker B: Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. Let me ask. Opinion piece. So, in your humble opinion, are we getting more or less resilient? [00:37:47] Speaker A: Are we getting more or less resilient? [00:37:49] Speaker B: More or less resilient. [00:37:53] Speaker A: I think we're getting more resilient. I am loving the conversation around the country about burnout because I think it's elevating the awareness of mental health and where it's allowing us to talk about it more versus not having the conversation at a leader level. And I think once we have the conversation about how stress is affecting us as leaders, how stress is inducing physical symptoms, how stress may be contributing to a lack of decision making, how. I think there's a lot of things about resilience that has opened up our eyes of saying, it's okay. It's okay to be human. And when we are human, then we can connect to those emotions, whether they're negative or positive. But I think then it just even opens up more conversations about, let's now shift to those positive emotions and let's make space for them, because that's truly where the healing happens, and that's truly where we're gonna get our best performance from not only ourselves at the end of the day, but from our team as well. [00:39:11] Speaker B: It certainly speaks to that famous vulnerability piece, doesn't it? You referred to the technical requirements, technical pieces of a small business owner's role previously. How do, in your experience, how do people, small business owners, leaders, find that balance between their technical requirements and how they've probably generally, in my experience, built up the business and this whole thing that we're focused on caring for people, human centered leadership. [00:39:39] Speaker A: So you have to run your business. If you don't have your. If you don't have those technical skills, you're right. You're not going to run your business. [00:39:45] Speaker B: Fair point. [00:39:48] Speaker A: That's obviously really important, I think, in healthcare, too, right? You have to know what your regulatory standpoints are. You have to know what your clinical care guidelines are and how to take care of patients. And I think from a standout point or competitive, like, how am I going to be noticed in the marketplace? That's where you need to think about how am I doing on the cultural piece, right? Am I, am I as a business owner and leader, is our organization the one that's sought after? Are we getting the top in our healthcare space, patient satisfaction and employee engagement scores? Are we the choice of the competition? And I think if you are, it's because people are saying this is a great place to go for care. This is a great place to go for service because of the people. And so they're not going to look, they don't know your bottom line, they don't know your technical processes and policies. Right? The stuff that you're probably mostly focused on during the day, it's about the interactions they have with your staff and the people. They're walking in your front store or if they're walking into healthcare, it's about how they're cared for. So as a leader, you really have to think about your capacity to make sure your operations are running, but also your people capacity is managed as well. So it's a balance and you can't let your operations go by the wayside. But I'd say your investment in your human capital is just as important. [00:41:34] Speaker B: Where do you think expectations fall into that conversation? Like setting expectations so that there's an understanding between business owner, leader and team, and then actually caring for the people in order to meet expectations. What's your view on that? [00:41:54] Speaker A: Well, I think just being, you know, including people in the conversations, informing them of where you're at, soliciting input from them throughout the conversations and throughout the year is important. You know, I think empowering them to have a voice as well is really important as you're thinking about decisions that are able to be included with the team. If you create a committee around certain things, I think it's important to not just have it all be up to you. If there's ways or small things or small wins, that you can include them. Nurturing professional development is always a great way. Are there things that you can do to have people grow within the organization and learn and grow in their own profession? I think one thing we haven't really talked about is how are you delivering your feedback to your team members? There's kind of the old way of delivering feedback. Here's how I think you're doing in your job. And here's how I'm evaluating you and here's your performance improvement plan, those types of things versus. [00:43:15] Speaker B: Don't forget the rating system. [00:43:18] Speaker A: Yeah, the rating system. Right. And I can only rate you this much because I rating the other team, right? Yeah. What if we think about it as feedforward? Marcus Buckingham has written a couple wonderful articles in the Harvard Business Review on feedforward and really using a mechanism in real time to think about where are your strengths, where do you excel, how are you excelling and in the moment thinking about really playing on those strengths and if there is something that needs to be worked on, how do you use those strengths to help them move forward based on where they're at versus where somebody else's performance is? And so it's a whole different shift from feedback to feedforward. We work a lot with leaders on those concepts and so it's pretty remarkable on how that can change from a leader perspective. [00:44:19] Speaker B: Yeah. Hear there's lots of great tools, probably Gallup strength finders is a fairly common, well known one, but I use one that was devised by Patrick lentioni in the table group called the working Genius. And it's fantastic for that. It's like focusing on our geniuses, understanding what our frustrations are, but then applying that to your work, your role, how much time you're spending in your genius versus your competencies or your frustrations. And it's just amazing the clouds that lift when people can have some solid language around it, some standard language, have some conversation around it, and then if leaders and teams are working together to just be less specific about responsibilities and title of role and understanding where their strengths sit and how they can utilize those more, it changes the game completely. [00:45:06] Speaker A: It does. It's just, it's so enlightening. And again, it plays into cultivating those positive emotions which gets people to that state of thriving. [00:45:17] Speaker B: Absolutely. In some of the work, I researched your background and what you're doing in your organization currently, these words patience, mindfulness and gratitude come up. You mentioned or touched on these a little bit, but how important are these things in the human centred approach? And how do leaders in these busy world of small business develop these sorts of traits? [00:45:44] Speaker A: Well, they're critical, foundational. I think they need to show up every single day, every moment, if you can. Like we said, we need to practice them, being present, you know, having patience, being mindfulness, having mindfulness and listening in a unique and different way. I think your teams will notice the difference. If you're able to practice it and show up a little bit different, I think it will, they will take notice and they will appreciate it. They will feel valued. I think one thing in the United States right now we're really focusing on is retention of our employees, and those foundational skills of being present and listening can truly make a difference when it comes to that. If we're really thinking about how do we want to keep our team, we want to connect with them, and the way of connecting with our team is being present with them and listening to them when they're speaking with us and reflecting back on what we heard them say. [00:46:55] Speaker B: From a professional development perspective, which you touched on a little bit earlier, how does that play into the helping employees life better at work and ultimately to hopefully that retention piece, which, as far as I know, at least from what I read, it's not just the US that's struggling with this. It's many developed countries around the world struggling with retention. [00:47:16] Speaker A: Okay. Yeah. Well, I think in order to, you know, retain our employees, they want to feel valued like we've talked about. And I think, you know, if there's opportunities to grow within your organization now, it's a little bit different. I suppose if you're a small, a small business and a small, there's not a lot of room to grow. And I'm thinking about, from a nursing perspective, to be a frontline nurse to a charge nurse to a unit leader to a department leader, there's lots of room in healthcare to grow as your profession. But in a smaller organization, I guess it's a little bit harder. But there's certificates you can gain. There's different things out there that you can learn and having your leaders interest in just you as a person, are there things that you want to learn? Is there a podcast you want to listen to? Is there a course that you want to take? Is there something in our industry that you want to learn more about? Having that question posed to you as an employee is very valuable. Just alone asking that powerful question during a one on one is, is there something about our industry that you want to learn more about? And can I help you find something that you'd be interested in learning about? That's professional development in a way. For a small business owner in a healthcare setting, it's a little bit different. Like I mentioned earlier, there's actual pathways and career paths that people can take, but I think that professional development is a great retention strategy. [00:48:59] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. Although you, again, you're saying small business and healthcare, the underlying process is still the same, isn't it? Like asking, getting some input from the person, because you might be thinking, we'll take x path, but they don't want to take x path, they want to take y path. And if they're more committed to doing that, then it's probably almost definitely going to lead to better outcomes long term, isn't it? [00:49:22] Speaker A: It is, absolutely. And you really don't know the answer until you ask the question, and you don't know the answer. And so if they say, you know what, I'm really interested in this other aspect of our business, and I'd really like to learn more about that, you wouldn't have known that unless you didn't ask that. And if you weren't present and didn't listen and reflect back in a way that maybe you thought you heard, having that conversation could prove to be really powerful. [00:50:07] Speaker B: Jennifer, let's start to move onto the closing piece, I suppose, but with your extensive experience in, particularly in the healthcare space, what advice would you give to these small business leaders, especially how teams work together and also treating their customers. [00:50:26] Speaker A: So the advice that I would probably give to them would be finding ways that are unique and different than from ways that you led in the past. And what I mean by that is think about how would you want to be led as a team member? So really, truly putting yourself in their shoes. How would you like to show up at work and feel like you're making a true impact in that person's life? Do you know them? Do you know your team member? Have you truly listened to them? What is something new you could learn about each of your team members over the next quarter? And what are the different ways that you could find out that information about them and try things, try new things and see how they might impact you as a human centered leader versus a technical leader. [00:51:24] Speaker B: And what I love about that advice, Jennifer, is that if you think about what you've spoken really in the first half of this conversation around being present, asking questions, listening, in order to do some of those things you just referred to, you need to take the time to be present, to ask questions, to listen, don't you? Otherwise, you're not going to get information around some of those things you just shared. [00:51:46] Speaker A: Correct. And I think what happens in the end is, is not only you're building the trust and the respect with the other person, at the end of the day, your tank is going to be full when you go home because you are making those connections differently than you had in the past. [00:52:02] Speaker B: Couldn't agree more. Connections have a very funny way of making people on both sides of the connection feel pretty good. [00:52:08] Speaker A: They sure do. [00:52:10] Speaker B: Jennifer, what is it in your experience that's made you a confident leader? [00:52:18] Speaker A: I think being a more confident leader through the work that I'm doing over the past eight years has been able to really make an impact on other people's lives and seeing the work that I'm doing. Just for that example that I gave of that physician who was really burnt out, seeing the light bulb go off on other people's faces and hearing their stories know that I'm doing the right work. And the work that I'm doing is important and I think it's just, it's the right work, it's the right time. And every time I go out into the world and meet with a healthcare team, I just feel fulfilled and like it's the right purpose and the right time. And that makes me confident every single day that I'm in the right place and connecting with the right people. [00:53:17] Speaker B: Jennifer, you say all the right stuff. Absolutely. I mean leadership, to me, the ultimate is seeing the success of others, which is what you've just explained. So I love how that fills your cup. What a conversation. In my view. I'm sure our listeners and watchers will get massive value out of this. The thing that I really love ultimately through this conversation is the amount of times you mentioned people. My ears prick up here because at the work that I do with business owners developed the people operating system and I did that because I talk about people so much and I wanted people to be the center of attention. So everything I do in that leadership space around character, competence, connection is all underpinned by the people operating system and how everything drives through that, always keeping people at the forefront, which it sounds like you and I are in a very solid middle of the page together. So thank you very much for being a fantastic guest on our podcast for contributing such a valuable topic to our watchers and listeners. And I look forward to watching your journey. What is in place for the next twelve months for you and the work that you're doing? [00:54:24] Speaker A: Yes, thanks for asking and thank you so much for having me on. I really feel like we're kindred spirits and appreciating absolute pleasure. I think for the next year, for us, we're really going to be elevating some work around positive organizational design, around the leader, the connected leader. We're going to really be elevating some thoughts around the connected leader and how we can support them through their journey as kind of this next level of leadership, loneliness, or how our systems and and organizations languishing and how do we help them move towards more of a connected leader? [00:55:06] Speaker B: Sounds like a fantastic part of patient experience, which is what I understand you are very much responsible for. So good luck in that journey. I'm sure you do fantastically well based on what you've spoken about today. Thanks for being such a fantastic guest on culture these are my three key takeaways from my conversation with Jennifer my first key takeaway confident leaders practice presence. They understand the power of being fully present. It means giving your undivided attention to the person in front of you. Shut down the notifications, put away the distractions and truly listen. You'll build trust and foster deeper connections when you're present. My second key takeaway confident leaders embrace their humaneness. They're not afraid to show humility and admit that they don't have all the answers. They're open to feedback, willing to learn and recognise the strengths of others. Embracing your humanness as a leader builds trust, which strengthens your team. My third key takeaway confident leaders cultivate a thriving environment. They recognise and celebrate small wins, express gratitude and show appreciation. By prioritising positive emotions, they help their teams thrive, enhancing job satisfaction, retention and creating a stronger, united team. So, in summary, my three key takeaways confident leaders practice presence confident leaders embrace their humanness and confident leaders cultivate a thriving environment. Let me know your key takeaway on YouTube thanks for joining me and remember, the best outcome is on the other side of a genuine conversation.

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