A Surprising Way to Reduce Mistakes and Accidents

The support found in a Connection Culture reduces the likelihood of future mistakes and accidents

In his excellent TED Talk titled “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?,” physician Brian Goldman describes the first medical mistake he made, how he made mistakes “over and over again,” and how the culture he worked in made him feel “alone, ashamed and unsupported.” The culture Dr. Goldman describes contributes to widespread burnout in medicine today and it makes future medical mistakes more likely.

What Mayo Clinic Discovered About Burnout

Business Lunch to Stop Burnout

Could something as simple as regularly having a meal with colleagues to discuss work experience-related issues help reduce burnout? It seems too simple doesn’t it? Although several factors contribute to burnout, there is good reason to believe connection practices such as taking time to talk with others over lunch or dinner provides a measure of protection. It is certainly having that desired effect at Mayo Clinic.

3 Practices to Protect Your People from Toxic Stress and Burnout

Doctor suffering from burnout

Burnout is on the rise in healthcare. Increased stress and complexity, and the demands to achieve higher productivity are taking a toll. Each year nearly 400 physicians commit suicide, more than double the rate of the general population. Healthcare workers are also susceptible to anxiety, depression and addiction. What can be done?

The healthcare industry is battling high rates of burnout. Each year, nearly 400 physicians commit suicide – more than double the rate of the general population. In this article published by Becker’s Hospital Review, I explain how healthcare organizations can combat this crisis by fostering Connection Cultures.

Date: April 29, 2016
Appearance: 3 Practices to Protect Your People From Toxic Stress and Burnout
Outlet: Becker's Hospital Review
Format: Other

Join me on Tuesday, January 5 for a webinar on creating a life-giving culture in your healthcare organization. Hosted by the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the webinar will address how to improve your organization’s culture through greater connection.

Date: January 5, 2016
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT
Event: Greater Chicago Chapter HIMSS Webinar
Topic: How to Create a Life-Giving Culture in Your Healthcare Organization
Sponsor: Greater Chicago Chapter of HIMSS
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Alone No Longer: Ten Years Later

Katie Stallard with daughters Elizabeth and Sarah

Katie Stallard with daughters Elizabeth (left) and Sarah (right)

Ten years ago today, my wife’s surgeon told me she had advanced ovarian cancer.  Today Katie is cancer free and flourishing in every way.  The experience of spending more time with my family and friends during that season of supporting Katie while she underwent treatment opened my eyes to the power of connection.  I wrote about it in “Alone No Longer.”

Since the time Katie was diagnosed and treated for advanced ovarian cancer, research published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology by Susan Lutgendorf, et. al., has shown that connection provides a survival advantage to ovarian cancer patients.

Leaders: Use stories to help achieve sustainable superior performance

Franklin D. Roosevelt TIME Man of the Year 1933 Color PhotoDuring World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt traveled to Seattle, Wash., to meet with 18,000 aircraft workers at Boeing Corporation. FDR brought with him a young airplane pilot named Hewitt Wheless from Texas.

The pilot had escaped death, thanks to the resilience of the bullet-riddled B-17 plane he flew out of harm’s way. His plane had been built at that very Boeing plant.

Do you think seeing and hearing that young pilot thank them for saving his life connected them to a common cause? You bet it did.

Although the work required for America to catch up to the output of the Nazi military-industrial complex was daunting, Americans rose to the challenge by persevering through long, hard hours of menial factory work.

FDR’s visits helped transform welders and riveters into freedom fighters. From 1941 until 1945 American aircraft companies out-produced the Nazis three to one and built nearly 300,000 airplanes.

People remember stories. Effective leaders like FDR identify and communicate stories to inspire people. Here are three key points to consider when using stories to enthuse, engage and energize people.

New Insights on Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

In Untangling the Mind: Why We Behave the Way We Do, D. Theodore George, M.D., a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health, describes a new model for understanding America’s surge in emotional and behavioral disorders.  Earlier this year, a report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies found that comparing a peer group of 17 wealthy countries, Americans under 50 now have the lowest life expectancy and fall at the bottom (i.e. were the worst) of nearly every morbidity category from deaths by substance abuse, sexual-related diseases, infant mortality, violence and sedentary lifestyles that contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular problems. The report points out that in the years following World War II, America was near or at the top of the peer group.  It rightly concludes that something clearly is wrong but, unfortunately, fails to provide a satisfactory explanation.  The problem has become so acute that earlier this month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released figures that show suicide rates haven sharply increased so that more Americans now die from suicide than from motor vehicle accidents.

Fortunately, Dr. George’s book helps us understand what’s going wrong.  In his view, traumas experienced by 75 percent of the population result in faulty brain wiring that makes people vulnerable to the stressors, threats and fears we experience in modern life, including the chronic stress many people experience in today’s workplace.  The faulty wiring misinterprets threats and fears by blowing them way out of proportion.  This results in emotional and behavioral disorders.  When people don’t feel well emotionally – i.e. they are angry, anxious, withdrawn, bored, depressed, etc. – they frequently cope in ways that result in addiction (e.g. substance abuse, promiscuity, porn addiction, eating disorders, cutting).  Although these addictive behaviors provide temporary relief, they hijack the brain’s reward system and eventually kick in the anti-reward system so that people need a fix of the coping behavior to feel better from the unpleasant sensations of withdrawal.   

Feel Lonely and Left Out at Work?

Recently, I’ve sensed more people feel lonely and left out at work.  With years of layoffs, those who remain carry greater workloads.  This crowds out time to connect with colleagues.  Managers are also stretched and have less time to connect with the people they are responsible for leading.  When I ask people at the seminars I teach which element of a Connection Culture — Vision, Value or Voice — they would like to increase in their workplace culture, it’s nearly always Voice.   One result of this is that there has been a decline of connection, community and the spirit of unity in organizations.