Redesigning Clinical Workflows to Return Joy to Patient Care
People Centric Leadership

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People Centric Leadership

How much do you know about People Centric Leadership? I’ve learned a lot about it in the three-plus years I’ve been a part of Simpler Consulting.

Three years ago, as a newbie to Simpler, I was sent to the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) annual meeting. Having led the first 5 years of Sutter Gould Medical Foundation’s Lean transformation as its CEO, and having attended many health care conferences on Lean, I had low expectations for what I could learn from the manufacturing crowd that made up the lion’s share of 1800 attendees at the AME conference. What I learned there left me humbled on my Lean journey, and embarrassed for the health care industry.

Bob ChapmanThe best presentation was a panel of six CEO thought leaders on People Centric Leadership. Led by Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry Wehmiller, a now $3 billion company with 12,000 “team members”, we learned of a new vision for AME to drive a renaissance in manufacturing. These enlightened CEOs are dedicated to ensuring that their employees achieve their full human potential while working in a culture of safety, creativity, and inspiration. The goal is not just extraordinary performance for their companies, but doing their part to address society’s problems, which are to a significant degree a result of people going home from their jobs each night unfulfilled, stressed out, and lacking the emotional and physical resilience to contribute positively to their families and communities. They all embraced Lean as the leadership approach that powered their work. You can learn more at Truly Human Leadership’s website and from Bob’s book, Everybody Matters.

Simon Sinek, author of “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t”, concluded the conference with a moving presentation in which he explained the deep roots of People Centric Leadership that are ingrained in our evolutionary makeup. The human species would not have survived for 40,000 years as hunter-gatherers if we were not hardwired by our neuro-hormonal systems to behave in ways that protected the tribe. The most important person in the tribe was the leader. A successful tribal leader was not only the strongest and/or smartest, but was required to live a life of self-sacrifice, caring for tribal members, confronting danger and assuming risk in order to protect the tribe. Today, we still recognize true leaders as those who will sacrifice their own interests to protect our well-being, and we reward them with our respect and admiration, even with our love.

Inverted org chartThat is what the People Centric Leadership movement is all about – supporting and developing leaders to have the courage to do the right thing even when it means great personal risk and self-sacrifice. This is true Lean leadership. Without such leadership our society suffers. We have seen plenty of self-centered leaders, in business and in politics, in recent years. They create the toxic workplaces that plague health care today.

That AME conference gave me renewed hope that a growing number of today’s business leaders have the courage to change our world for the better. Now, more than ever, we need healthcare leaders with the same commitment to People Centric Leadership as we see in manufacturing.  We need leaders who are willing to put the interests of their caregivers and patients ahead of their own.

AME and its commitment to People Centric Leadership can inspire those of us in healthcare to confront our own fears and to truly become the self-sacrificing leaders that are required if we are going to fix the dysfunctional health care “system” that we have created.

As a healthcare leader, what so you think?:

  • Do you understand the importance of People Centric Leadership?
  • Do you see its potential to both improve their operations and prevent physician burnout?
  • Do you have the courage to lead such change?

A commitment to Lean leadership based in the key principle of Respect for People is all that’s needed to get started.

Preventing Physician Burnout – We Must Do More

One year ago tomorrow, yes on Christmas Day 2016, our book “Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine” was published on Amazon. A few weeks later the Kindle edition became available. In the past year about 2000 people have purchased copies. That’s a start, and we’d like to… Continue Reading

Management Malpractice

Have you witnessed cases of management malpractice? Hold on, don’t answer just yet. Before you answer “Yes” or “No”, you need to have a definition of the term. I define management malpractice along the same lines as medical malpractice. As a doctor, if I do something that harms a person under my care, and I… Continue Reading

Tell Me More – Humanism in Action

Concerned that patients in medical systems are often depersonalized, medical students set forth to learn about their patients and share some of that knowledge with other care providers. They developed the Tell Me More campaign, sponsored by the Gold Foundation. Continue Reading

Team Care in Health Care

Why should we pursue Team Care in health care? Is it to prevent physician burnout?  Or is it to support population health? The answer is “Yes, it’s both.” Team care can help you do well in your profession and give you back the work-life balance needed to have a successful home life as well. What… Continue Reading

Do Compensation Plans Cause Burnout?

One of my good friends and leadership mentors, Dr. Tony Marzoni, had a great saying. “Every medical group has a culture committee. They simply call it the compensation committee.” I’ve been in plenty of heated compensation committee meetings and board meetings where tempers flared due to compensation disagreements. When we realize the high stakes, personal nature, and burnout drivers that are impacted by compensation decisions, it’s not surprising. Continue Reading

How Does the EHR Drive Burnout?

How does the EHR drive burnout?  Let’s count the ways. By understanding this we can develop counter measures to lower the impact and reduce the risk of physician burnout. We’ve all seen the studies that show that for every hour we spend with a patient we spend two hours on administrative work, and we take… Continue Reading

Filed Under: EHR
Beating Burnout – Make Patient Safety Fun – “Didyah?”

Can we Make Patient Safety Fun AND Beat Burnout at the same time? Take a look at this post from the Betsy Lehman Center that tells the story of how South Shore Health System in South Weymouth, MA has done it. It includes a YouTube video that will make you smile! Full disclosure here –… Continue Reading

Go to Gemba to Show You Care

As a health care leader, you need to Go to Gemba!  Why? Because 82% of your physicians think that their leaders don’t care about their problems.  (It’s not just healthcare, in pretty much every industry 80-85% of front line workers think that those in the C-suite don’t care enough to offer help to the people… Continue Reading

Physician Leaders Need to Get Angry

I’m on my way home from the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Physician Leadership in New York.  Three hundred physician leaders came together from across the nation to share their challenges and learn from great keynote speakers and from each other. Among the 35 breakout sessions were five on physician burnout, including a… Continue Reading

Maximizing ROI and Work Life Balance

“Doctor, you need to see more patients.”  Too often these days physicians hear this from their CEO or CFO and think, “I can’t do any more without cracking.”  In a recent post directed to CFOs I discussed the financial impact of burnout on hospitals and health care systems. Physicians are cracking under the strain.  Today’s… Continue Reading