Healthcare is an ever-changing and emotionally-intense industry. What we know for sure is that only the strongest organizations will survive. What separates the strong organizations from the struggling is two-fold:
- the organization’s ability to align and co-create with physicians
- healthy conversations that foster trust, alignment, and co-creation
Having worked with physicians and healthcare leaders for the last 13 years, I experienced the following issues that plague physician alignment attempts and healthy conversations:
a) Physicians and executives think and behave differently.
Executives have been trained to be more team, business, and multiple solutions oriented. Physicians were trained to be individualists. Their focus is better patient care. They were taught to use a single solution approach for problem-solving. Add to that the intelligence, ego, and power roles of both parties one can understand why disagreements and friction are high and meetings for mutually agreeable solutions seem endless with very little progress.
b) Communication that was based on false expectations and empty promises
There have been many situations where expectations were embellished or straight talk was avoided. I’ve heard examples where physicians sold their practice to a hospital and choose employment, but they withheld critical information. I also heard from administrators who admitted that they made false claims and empty promises to get physicians into employment. They thought that it would all work out but didn’t realize that this would destroy trust and harm the relationship sometimes forever.
c) The “they-us” attitude
Having facilitated and observed many meetings in hospitals, I sometimes wondered whether the administrators and physicians were on the same team. Before meetings I have seen how the majority of physicians stood in one corner and administrators huddled in their own. When I listened to their conversations during the meetings, rather than addressing the issue and co-creating a solution, I witnessed each side defending their territory and pointing blame. In the end, very little got accomplished, and opinions were hardened.
There’s no doubt that physicians and hospital executives have to overcome these setbacks and have to collaborate more if they want to stay competitive and provide excellent patient care. We also know that hospital administrators’ and physicians’ jobs are difficult and demanding, and it’s only getting tougher. As competition and expenses increase, healthcare organizations must prepare their executives and physicians to uplevel their collaboration during these times of transformational change.
No matter what challenge or goal healthcare organizations are facing, one thing they all have in common is building trust and leading healthy conversations with major stakeholders to co-create viable solutions for growth and change. And this is where Conversational Intelligence comes in. Over the last few years, I studied many communication and leadership modalities and the one that had the greatest impact on my clients to lead healthy conversations and restore trust and alignment is Conversational Intelligence. Here is why:
Conversational Intelligence is based on neuroscience research and specifically on the neuroscience of conversations. As they say, sometimes it is not only enough to know the what but we need to know the why behind an action. It presents a framework for knowing which kind of conversations trigger the lower, more primitive brain and which conversations activate higher-level intelligences such as trust, integrity, empathy, and good judgment. Conversational Intelligence makes complex scientific material simple to understand and applies a variety of easy-to-use tools, examples, conversational rituals, and practices for all levels of an organization.
That by itself gets physicians engaged and eager to apply. Through this training, my clients learn what patterns drive connectivity and trust, and what drive fear and cortisol so that they have the awareness and the tools to connect, navigate and growth with others in healthier ways.
Conversational Intelligence offers very effective tools to establish trust, collaboration, and engagement between physicians and healthcare leaders. They include powerful conversational rituals that prime the brain for trust, partnership, and mutual success.They give access to conversations that were avoided or too emotional in the past. They shift relationships and build consensus in ways that haven’t been possible before.
Due to the challenges in healthcare, trust and advanced conversation skills are an absolute must for any organization that wants to survive and thrive in this day and age. Physicians and healthcare leaders want and need to work together, and C-IQ is the skill that will get them there.
As long as healthcare executives and physicians don’t learn to work together towards a common goal with a common language and mutual understanding, healthcare organizations will always struggle, and its workforce will never be truly satisfied. With the constant changes and the crisis mentality in health care, one of its most important tool has to be effective communication. As Judith Glaser, the creator of C-IQ says, “getting to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of the culture which depends on the quality of the relationships which depends on the quality of the conversations.”
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If you are intrigued to explore whether a Conversational Intelligence program could align your physicians with the executive suite, contact me today by calling (770) 428-2334.