The three curses of organisational culture #WILTW

This is the 138th #WILTW

At the start of every new year comes my annual appraisal. Despite it requiring a bit too much form filling and box-ticking I have always welcomed the chance to discuss problems and review strategies with a peer who is outside of my direct area of practice.

The day before this year’s appraisal I chanced upon a re-share of an old post by Bernadette Keefe on tribes and silos in healthcare. This is a recurring theme in many healthcare blogs and something that I’ve repeatedly returned to.

The sad irony is that perhaps I silo’d myself even making these comments.

Bernadette links to a very powerful story by the exceptional educator Victoria Brazil on how tribalism in medicine impacts on patient care and clinician moral (please click here if video doesn’t play)

Understanding the context of why people speak and act in the way they do is vital. Bernadette links to  another blog in which we are reminded of Plato’s insight:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle”.

I left my appraisal cognisant of three things, curses almost, which afflict the mindset of healthcare professional.

  1. Our point of view is shaped by the environment we work in

There is a need to recognise that all the most complex and difficult issues don’t just happen to you.

But even when you externalise yourself to see a wider picture:

2. We often only communicate in a narrative or style that we are comfortable with.

..so sometimes we tell stories that others can’t relate to. Either because we are telling the wrong stories or the format (e-mail/corridor conversation/meeting) isn’t an effective method for the listener.  I often note always bringing it back to the patient perspective isn’t as an effective strategy as we think.

And when communication efforts have been exhausted, or are waning:

3. We implicitly acknowledge the status quo as an acceptable place to be.

This is a difficult admission but when challenges become really difficult it is easy to let things drift. Sometimes it is necessary to have  time to let ideas settles and embed. But often  what needs to be done is perceived to be too great an effort, despite the fact that the efforts needed to maintain what you are currently doing are just as great. Sadly this further embeds curse one….

I resolve to treat these three afflictions in 2017!

What have you learnt this week? #WILTW

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