Moving from “What’s the Matter?” to “What Really Matters?”

I attended a conference for healthcare professionals recently, and one of the speakers, the CEO of a prominent health system, left a real impression on me. The session focused on customer engagement and how best to enhance the patient experience. The speaker shared several real-life stories about what he and his staff had done over the past year to do exactly this. What it really came down to though was shifting everyone’s attention from simply asking the question “What’s the matter?” to defining and then solving for “what really matters”.

Moving from "What's the Matter?" to "What Really Matters?"

It’s very common in organizations for people to identify risks and performance issues. At its core, that isn’t even a bad thing! Without awareness for these issues, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will ever invest any energy into addressing the problems. Identifying these issues as issues though isn’t enough. It’s just the beginning!

Sometimes, people identify these potential problems and choose to do nothing because it isn’t really their job to do so, at least so they think. Other times, they report these problems to their bosses as if that’s all they are supposed to do. In some situations and with some more strategic concerns, it may be. More often than not though, their bosses aren’t necessarily the ones to address the situations. Beyond that, the problems that are being identified may not be significant enough to our customers – or the patient experience in the case of this hospital CEO – to warrant further action. That’s why it’s so important to get past focusing on just identifying the problems themselves to focusing on identifying the right solutions. 

This important shift requires increased information sharing and transparency in organizations. It also requires higher levels of employee engagement and critical thinking at all levels. It takes having clear performance expectations and greater levels of personal accountability too such that people hold themselves to a higher standard for improving performance. People generally need to know what’s going on and what they can do about it.

While it may take some effort, there is tremendous value in creating this type of environment in your organization. Just imagine it. Your people recognizing “what really matters” and harnessing everyone’s attention on addressing your customers’ real concerns. People could stop firefighting and wasting their energy while being distracted by more trivial matters. Instead, you could easily achieve greater efficiencies and produce better business results across any number of performance areas.

To learn more about how best to assess your current performance improvement opportunities, take a look at the Organizational Assessment page of Plus Delta’s website. You may quickly uncover some fresh ideas simply by asking your employees how they think and feel about the organization today. While they may not know what really matters yet, it may not take much to get them excited about making a difference for your customers and your company.

Posted in CEO, Critical Thinking, Customer Engagement, employee engagement, Healthcare, Organizational Assessment, Patient Experience, Performance Improvement, Performance Issues

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