September 14, 2018
Written by: Scott Williamson
We spend a lot of time talking about all the things we should do to improve the people, processes and tools available to our businesses. Many of you have attended one of our Leadership or Fundamentals of Excellence meetings and have had the profound opportunity to experience John Spence. While difficult to limit his wisdom and advice, one gem that I particularly like is this: “The [patient’s] experience will never exceed the employee’s experience.”
There is a lot to unpack there, but his statement is supported by a recent report released by the Drucker Foundation that found that the best managed companies excel in employee engagement and development. Conversely, that study found that the biggest “losers” in corporate effectiveness scored the lowest average scores in employee engagement and development.
Since the “People” part of a company’s success is so crucial, maybe we should take a look at what we commonly do to unintentionally alienate the very people we depend on. I ran across an article by Robert Cross, a professor of leadership at Babson College who has been conducting workplace research for 20 years. He says there is a right way and a wrong way to manage people.
Here are four things that he says bosses get wrong:
- Expecting people to know all the answers in the moment. Good managers should hire people who can find the right answer quickly, not browbeat them into over-prepping for meetings by trying to anticipate every question they could ever be asked. “When that attitude cascades down, it creates huge amounts of churn internally as people try to be ready, with everything at their fingertips, instead of creating a measured, sustainable pace.”
- Not being OK with some ambiguity. Good managers are willing to move ahead without having everything planned out in advance. “The more people can focus on how-do-we-move-ahead-and-respond-rapidly versus developing a perfected plan up front, the better.”
- Mistakenly believing that everybody has to be in every meeting. Good managers recognize that over collaboration is real and they do not seek excessive consensus. “Leaders can get overwhelmed with collaboration and then they’re not sufficiently accessible to others. People who report to an overloaded boss are as much as 200% more likely to leave.”
- Creating a context of fear. Good managers recognize that intimidated employees don’t share emerging—often imperfect—ideas that could turn out to be really great ones. “People who create a context of fear consume enormous amounts of time because their people feel like they have to be bulletproof. They don’t speak up,” and they burn out on the command that they be perfect all the time.
He goes on to say that “people with deeply rooted identities as high-performing workers are especially susceptible to collaborative overload.” The fundamental lesson here is to engage and empower your staff to do the jobs you hired them to do.
Scott Williamson, MBA, CAE(ret), is the Executive Director of the OPIE Choice Network. He founded and is President of Quality Outcomes, LLC., a company dedicated to establishing a consensus building approach to identify broad-based Orthotic and Prosthetic (O&P) outcomes data to identify and teach professional best practices. Scott was recently certified in Lean Six Sigma.
Scott is a member of the National Quality Forum and is active on the Quality Measures Research Council. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Learning, he is a member of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and is past-chair of the Healthcare Knowledge Taskforce for ASAE. He is the President of OPAF and is Treasurer of the Pedorthic Research Foundation Board of Directors. He has worked in professional certification since 1992, and most recently worked for the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc. (ABC) from 2002 – 2010 as the Director of Facility Accreditation. In that position he played a key role in establishing and maintaining the national standards for quality O&P care. Scott has been a key liaison between the O&P profession and CMS during the development of the CMS Quality Standards and their mandatory accreditation program. In 1995, Scott earned his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Richmond and his undergraduate degree is in Management Economics from Hampden~Sydney College. While earning his MBA, Scott worked for MWH MediCorp (a hospital holding company) where he developed and maintained billing and performance data and was responsible for corporate safety and security. In 2005 Scott earned his Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Scott is a frequent speaker on value-based healthcare and its impact on the provision of O&P services, as well as business process improvement and change management in a small practice setting. He has taught DMEPOS accreditation processes and standards and explained the CMS Quality Standards. Scott, his wife, Colleen and daughter Nicole live in Fredericksburg, Virginia.