Philadelphia VA Medical Center was challenged with communication issues. Like many organizations in today’s information overloaded environment, miscommunication was causing moral, productivity and customer service issues.
Kathy partnered with the information technology division and within a few months of training and coaching sessions, communication significantly improved. Each staff set their own personal communication goal and co-workers began to help keep each other accountable. The VP reinforced effective communication at staff meeting and daily interactions. Learning when to use the right communication tool at the right time was critical for success.
Staff ratings (10 point scale 1-low, 10 – high) of knowledge & communication skills soared from 4.8 to 7.8. The culture of communicating effectively rose from 5.4 to 6.9. And the desire to communicate more effectively improved from 7.2 to 8.0.
A vicious “Oh No!” JCAHO cycle in hospitals. Every three years right before JCAHO arrived, staff become stressed out and patient care suffers. Why can’t employees get excited that JCAHO was coming?
Kathy met with the CEO of Memorial Healthcare System and suggested a “Back to the Future” theme for the performance improvement presentation. The time machine would show where we had been, where we were and where we were going with performance improvement. Kathy suggested he dress up like the crazy professor and greet the surveyors at the door. The conservative CEO agreed to go along with the crazy idea on one condition: Get employees excited about JCAHO.
We gathered 20 staff from front line employees to the executive office. Instead of a boring board room presentation, the performance improvement presentation was given in a huge community room. We covered all the tables in aluminum foil and rented smoke machines and a strobe light . Everyone dressed up and became involved: RN’s, respiratory therapist, patients, even cardiac surgeons. 4000 employees were excited; they couldn’t wait for the surveyors to come.
After the presentation, the surveyors gave a standing ovation and declared, “Survey over one day early!” Memorial received 100% on our performance improvement presentation, became one of the top 100 hospitals in the country, number one in customer satisfaction across the national system, and exceeded budgetary goal of $5,000,000.
In preparation for a strategic planning board retreat, Kathy asked the president, “What goal could you envision for your organization in two years?” The president perked up and said, “I want to be at the national convention in Orlando and want to be given the highest award from the national president. “Excellent,” Kathy exclaimed, “then let’s celebrate it …ADVANCE!”
We began the retreat with a Strategic Shedding Celebration. We catupulted the board members two years into the future and we celebrated the achievement in ADVANCE. We welcomed everyone out to a veranda at an exclusive golf resort in Georgia. We had music, balloons, and sparkling grape juice in champagne glasses. After a few minutes we had everyone freeze. The next step was to imagine news reporters and TV stations that were outside the doors, wanting to know “how did they do it”. The preparation for the media interviews would become the foundation for their strategic plan.
Two years later in Orlando at the convention of the National Speakers Association, they did it! In front of 2000 people, the national president got up and announced the Georgia Speakers Association as the winner.