This morning I read one of Dan’s blog posts at https://adventuresofdeltawhiskey.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-time-in-champaign-urbana.html and posted the following response on his blog.
Thanks for sharing so much about yourself, the healthcare system in various places and forms, and about people in general. Like you, my professional work is fueled and informed by my own experience and me desire to respectfully leave the world a better place (some mushy gushy stuff too) — though my more disheartening past was in education, not healthcare. I’m constantly amazed by the level of disenfranchisement and disregard with which our patients (students) are treated. They often leave sicker than when they arrived; is this also because there is often a patient-blind process for administering the cure (standard approach to education/testing), and that this process undermines their sense of safety, autonomy, and potential?
I deeply appreciate you showing what doesn’t work as a background for pointing out some of the great things that do work, and which can be applied across business sectors. To say that you left your site visit seeking ways to employ their huddles (because of the humanity and trust they engender) is the greatest validation you can give. Praise is to say, this is awesome, great job. Yet it is ever more valuable to say that by doing that which you most admire. In some cases, this is akin to paying it forward. In other cases this is called, expanding your circle of influence. In more cases still, this is borrowing the idea/action and customizing it for yourself and your community.
At GCE, we work tirelessly to cultivate an environment similar to the one you describe. Our staff members describe the jobs they do as the most challenging and rewarding of their lives. We informally exchange tens of ideas each day, hundreds per week, and we collectively deconstruct and reconstruct the system and model on a yearly basis. These reflective and team-oriented practices share the understanding and agency required for us to heal our patients and ourselves. In so doing, we constantly rededicate ourselves to our highest aspirations while simultaneously accepting that we are both flawed and a work in process. One thing that we will certainly borrow is to improve the way that we huddle — I love the simplicity of “How’d we do yesterday?” and “What do we need to do today to make it a great day for our patients?” These questions can often lead to boring morning meetings when people check their email, but you’ve pointed out the essence of why this works and what we must bear in mind in order to succeed: the organization is structured, fact-based, but also invites just the right blend of “quirkiness, humor, and discipline.”
Thank you, Dan.