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Restarting your flywheel on the path for organizational excellence

This is an exciting time for health care, though many problems may seem daunting or disheartening. On a daily basis health care providers face high turnover, decreasing patient satisfaction, an increase in questions or outright challenges to care plans, burnout, low engagement, and hits to the bottom line. So what’s the solution?

A reconnection to purpose is necessary. A recommitment to excellence is critical. And it starts with each and every one of us making the commitment to deliver high-quality, empathetic care and outstanding service to our organizations.

A framework for excellence

We want to improve our organizations, which means we must make changes as leaders and teams to move in the right direction. But we need a plan to get there, or our actions will not be aligned toward the same goals. It is vital that we all commit to the same core values and agree upon the most meaningful actions to make a positive impact on our patients and our coworkers.

Huron’s Nine Principles Framework provides that vital roadmap to a transformed culture – and a transformed career –  for every person in every organizational role and level. 

What are the Nine Principles?

The Nine Principles, a registered trademark of Huron Consulting Group, Inc., provide the necessary framework for how we align our actions and move in a unified direction toward excellence. These timely and timeless concepts are founded upon years of research and practice and offer powerful tools and tactics that guide and support leaders to produce positive results.

Additionally, the Nine Principles can be applied in any kind of organization of any size and are not limited to a certain outcome or goal. The framework is flexible and allows you to infuse the work with your personal values and organizational goals.

Nine Principles FrameworkThe Nine Principles are:

  • Commit to excellence
  • Measure the important things
  • Build a culture around service
  • Develop leaders to develop people
  • Focus on employee engagement
  • Be accountable
  • Align behaviors with goals and values
  • Communicate at all levels
  • Recognize and reward success

The flywheel at the core of the work

Many of us have heard of the concept of the flywheel: think of a spoked bicycle wheel. When the flywheel turns, that energy radiates out and affects the entire mechanism.

Within the Nine Principles framework, that flywheel provides both the starting power and the momentum for organizational change. It may take some time to get that flywheel in motion, but it becomes harder to stop as it gains momentum.

Purpose, worthwhile work, and making a difference

FlywheelAt the “hub” of the flywheel are three main components:

  • Purpose
  • Worthwhile work
  • Making a difference

These are your personal motivators. They are why you get out of bed every morning. They provide meaning and value to your work and your life.

Take a moment to reflect on your purpose (or, if you’d like, your calling). What drives you to get out of bed every morning? Whatever that is, bottle it up and tap into it every chance you get. Let your purpose drive you forward each day.

Now, think about the work you do. Try not to get bogged down in the minutiae, the checklists, and the complaints. Think about what you do every day. Get to the core of how your hours are filled in the workplace. Your work has tremendous meaning and makes an incredible impact. Your work is worthwhile because it’s how you bring your purpose to life.

And what is the natural outflow of worthwhile work fueled by your inner purpose? You make a difference for your patients, your teammates, and your organization. Your flywheel is powering a dynamo of care and healing that causes ripple effects in your community and the world at large.

The hub of the flywheel, the source of its energy, lies with you. By tapping into that reservoir of energy, you can get the flywheel moving.

Passion, action, and results

There are three other core components to the flywheel, which power each of the Nine Principles:

  • Passion
  • Action
  • Results

Passion motivates you to do what you do. If you have a purpose, you are no doubt passionate about living it out. It involves a personal commitment to your beliefs, your values, and your community to drive your actions.

But how is that passion harnessed and directed? By guiding your actions, your behaviors, your skills, and the organizational principles you collectively commit to as a team. By connecting these actions back to a meaningful “why,” you can understand the value of those actions and see how they lead to transformative results.

Results must be the outcome of all this action. Without meaningful results, the momentum slows, and teams become disheartened again. But once you set a goal and see positive results, the momentum will pick up and grow and motivate you to continue those right actions. You can focus more of your effort and energy into what’s working instead of allowing yourself to dwell on what isn’t.

The journey toward transformation

Any effective leader will tell you that change cannot happen overnight. We may flip the switch on a new system, and budget targets will always be present, but building a results-driven environment where everyone is aligned will take time.

The best place to begin is to identify core values everyone in your organization can get behind. Once you have those values in front of you, decide what measures are most important to assessing progress. Once you’ve identified those powerful actions, relentlessly pursue excellence in your work and your service and watch the flywheel take off.

The Nine Principles framework is also designed to be cyclical. You may spend time focusing on one or two of the principles, or you may choose to tackle several at once. Most likely, finding success in one area will prompt you to revisit another.

With each success and each improvement, you become better and better. The flywheel keeps spinning, and it allows your passion to burn brighter. Your work becomes more meaningful, your teams become more committed, and your patients will experience greater levels of compassionate care.

Want to learn more?

Huron is proud to partner with NRHA and will be hosting an upcoming webinar to dive deeper into the Nine Principles framework.

If you want to learn more about the Nine Principles, check out Quint Studer’s best-selling book Hardwiring Excellence and Rich Bluni’s newest book Inspired Excellence.

NRHA adapted the above piece from Huron Consulting Group, a trusted NRHA partner, for publication within the Association’s Rural Health Voices blog.

Meet the Author:

Tad Hunt M.S.

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