How Evidence Based Business Practices and Leadership Create High Performance Cultures: Part I – Diagnosis

How Evidence Based Business Practices and Leadership Create High Performance Cultures: Part I – Diagnosis

Broadly speaking, healthcare organizations have always been able to adjust to the various internal and external challenges they faced. Since the beginning of this decade, however, things have changed dramatically. In our work with hundreds of healthcare organizations, we have seen that the challenges they are facing today are becoming more difficult at a rate which is faster than the organizations’ ability to adapt. Put differently, the rate of change is outpacing the rate of adaptation.

One of the key factors contributing to this discrepancy is the capability of front-line managers. In short, tenure and experience can no longer create the talent and skill requirements key front-line leadership positions require. Up until 2000, the experience and tenure required to successfully MANAGE a “High Degree of Difficulty” department kept pace with the demands of the role. From 2000 to 2020, it has become apparent that the talent and skill levels required to successfully LEAD a “High Degree of Difficulty” department will be much greater than anticipated. Here’s the bottom line: As goes the leadership talent of the front line manager, so goes the performance within that department by any measure.

The stakes are high. Front-line manager capability is a very important performance driver as well as a key predictor of employee satisfaction. Front-line managers that are not very effective at leading their departments contribute to a large degree to low employee engagement and high turnover. On the contrary, front-line managers who do a good job at creating ‘mini-cultures of excellence’ in their department contribute to high employee engagement and even patient satisfaction. Improving the performance of front- line managers is the single most impactful lever to increase your organizations’ performance measures across the board. The overall goal is to improve performance one department at a time through effective appointment and business practices. To accomplish that you need to match the most effective leadership talent available with the demands of the department or position, i.e. place the right people at the right roles.

The starting point of any performance improvement effort is an accurate diagnosis of the current situation. To make this initial determination, we use data from an organization’s existing employee survey to create a Performance Management Eye Chart. The Eye Chart is a visual tool that shows you which departments have mini-cultures of excellence, which ones need assistance, and what to do to improve overall organizational performance, one department at a time. The Eye Chart not only compares the front-line managers of a healthcare organization among themselves but also against national benchmarks.

With so much at stake, it is imperative to find out which departments are underperforming and how they compare to national averages. Following this diagnosis, corrective actions can be implemented.

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