April 1: A hike with my son
“A good tired is when you have spent everything you have and you know in your heart you accomplished something. A bad tired is when you have spent all you have, but it meant nothing to no one.” - From the book "Awakening Corporate Soul"
In this picture there is pure joy in my son’s face. He is a nine-year-old boy who didn’t feel like waking up that morning at 6 a.m. to go hiking with his dad. He was “tired.”
But four hours later, he reached the peak and as you see from the picture, there is a feeling of intense joy, of contribution, of accomplishment. A feeling of experience: a "good tired.” In this journey, he slipped a few times, had an encounter with a cactus and ran out of water. But ultimately, my son and I (with our labs) bonded and, as ONE team, enjoyed the journey.
Why do I share this story? Ultimately, as I walk around our amazing medical center and think about the thousands of souls who commit to working here and serving our patients, I wonder about how each connects to their work environment. How can we sustain a culture of intense “connection” to each other — to express each other’s potential and celebrate each other’s contributions? How can all 2,800 of you, and 2,000 medical staff, all feel inspired, engaged and empowered to contribute?
Ultimately, working in a complex medical center such as Good Sam can be stressful and tiring. And in order to reach our destiny we need 100 percent engagement. Last year’s VOICE scores indicated that 1 out of 6 of our BGSMC family were actively disengaged. Clearly these individuals did not feel a connection with their journey here. We are committed to changing that. We need every one of us to experience the feeling of joyful contributions to BGSMC as you can see with the picture of my son during his hike.
In a book I’m reading called “Awakening Corporate Soul," the author challenges us to do exactly that: commit to ensuring that BGSMC has a culture that supports the nurturing of each other’s souls. If we spend this much time at work (outside of our families) and commit to dedicating our lives to caring for the region’s most complex and needy patients, we must take care of each other and commit to creating an environment where every soul is completely engaged and contributing to this journey.
Authors Eric Klein and John Izzo point out "four paths" that we must be able to foster in our work environment to ensure that we are able to express the “soul” of our BGSMC team:
The Path of Self: Soul awakens when people are aware of their own passion, in touch with their core values, and when they actively bring these in their daily work. Although this path is primarily about the individual discovery of vocation, leaders are responsible for developing a climate that fosters the kind of self-discovery required to be sure people bring their values and passion into the workplace.
The Path of Contribution: In walking this path, people discover the deeper reasons for their work. The value and meaning of their contribution comes alive as people recognize their daily efforts serve a worthy goal.
The Path of Community: People find soul when their connection to teach other goes deeper than their job description, touches the heart and transcends traditional team building. Through the Path of COMMUNITY, individuals join together to bring out the best in each other.
The Path of CRAFT: The path of CRAFT is developing an intense enjoyment in the moment-to-moment action of work. CRAFT focuses on the ongoing process of learning and mastery that turns even the most mundane task into an artistic meditation. People reported that they came alive when they were engaged in activities that called forth the highest levels of skill and made them aware of previously unknown capabilities.
So how would you describe the culture in the department where you work today? Does it include words such as community, meaning, service, contribution, joy, passion and soul?
And if not, my challenge to you is simple. Talk to each other and your leaders — commit to creating an environment where each of you feels empowered to take these paths together. Only then can we confidently move forward in continuing our journey to build, develop and differentiate this Place of Possibilities.
As I round throughout Good Sam, I look forward to more conversations and listening to your stories about the journey you are taking to find meaning in your daily every day.
We are so lucky to have you work as part of our community here every day.
Steve Narang, MD, is the chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.