Are you Experiencing a Positive, Open Environment in Your Healthcare System?


“Wanting a more positive environment isn’t enough. You need to do something, and it doesn’t require a great deal of effort or some huge change in the way you approach things.”—Tom Rath

We recently traveled to a summit at the Cleveland Clinic where 2,000 people from hospitals around the world gathered to discuss empathy and openness in the health sphere. How inspiring it was to witness a group of healthcare leaders and workers concerned about creating environments of openness, understanding, and respect in their workplaces!

Imagine a concentric circle of increasing positive impact.


When the staff and medical teams at hospitals and clinics feel enthused by an engaging environment, their own feelings are projected outward and affect patients, patient families, visitors, and people who have never even been to the hospital but hear of the positive experience others have had there.

This impact is very tangible. I recently spoke with a client who told me she went to visit a patient in a hospital and she was so very impressed and touched by the security person and receptionist who welcomed her with friendly smiles and words. The respectful welcome was experienced at the nurse station also.  This seems small, right? And yet, she compared this experience to a previous one in which the hospital staff were not as welcoming. “If I ever get sick,” she said, “I’ll go to the hospital where I felt welcomed.”

The most effective advertisements are word-of mouth ones. When someone has a negative experience, they inform ten people, and those ten people inform ten more people, and pretty soon hundreds of people are aware of this negative experience. By contrast, the news of positive experiences may travel less, but such experiences are now so unique that even they travel.

How do we create a positive environment of respect in healthcare?

We have had successful experiences of creating positive cultures at health care systems and organizations across the globe.

We support people in widening their views of respect. Each person has a different definition of respect. We need to have conversations to understand what is most important to others.  Most of us don’t engage in such dialogue and believe our assumptions are accurate.  We have introduced OASIS Conversations which is a simple process of the five key moves that support connection.

The OASIS process is built on the value of giving empathy and cultivating an open mindset, which ultimately leads to refreshing conversations and meaningful connections with others. Hospitals are carefully evaluated and ranked, and the whole patient experience including interactions with hospital staff, nurses, and doctors factors into this ranking. Now more than ever it’s important to cultivate an engaging, oasis environment in these spaces.

Contact us to learn more about how to bring an oasis environment to your healthcare sphere.

Check Your Perspective

Even when our intentions are positive, we only see our perspective. A new principal saw how hard the high school students were working and wanted them to have a break and a “real” holiday. She wrote a note to all teachers telling them not to schedule tests or papers due the week after a holiday. She wanted the students to be able to take a real break.  However, her goodwill gesture was not received with joy by all. Many teachers were upset since they had a curriculum they were following and then decided to test the kids prior to the vacation. The students and parents complained that they ended up having many tests and papers due prior to the break. Other administrators complained because they ended up proctoring tests late into the evening prior to the holiday.

When we see something so clearly it is hard to remember that others may be seeing a very different perspective.

Check your perspectives out with others who may be impacted by your choices.

Being Authentic is Key to Connecting with Others

respectExcerpted from: OASIS Conversations: Leading with and Open Mindset to Maximize Potential

This is the third in a series of tips for more effective communication.

Focus on the goal of being authentic and true to yourself in your interactions while looking for win-win solutions. Years ago, I worried about spelling out these details of how to communicate because I thought some people might use them to manipulate others, but I don’t worry anymore. When you are not interested in another person’s needs and just your own, people seem to sense this pretty quickly. If people think you are using techniques to pull something over on them, or gain an advantage, they generally won’t be supportive in return. Although using the process to create a situation where you win and the other person loses may work a few times, in long-term relationships, it won’t. So explore your motives; make it your intention to be authentic. Reveal some of yourself, showing you are human, and have the goal of understanding others and coming to an agreement that will benefit those involved.

Tell the truth—as much of it as you know or can. Otherwise, you will lose credibility with people and they may not believe you next time. I remember a colleague who often exaggerated or simply said things that were not accurate. As people became aware of this pattern, they did not want to work with her, which caused a lot of problems for her and her coworkers.

Actually, if you have good intentions and state what is accurate, most people will be willing to work with you and grow to trust you. When you do make mistakes, acknowledge them, make amends, and move on. After a CEO apologized to staff for a difficult reorganization, staff members were able to stop fighting him and resume work. Most of the time, people will forgive you, recognizing that everyone does make mistakes occasionally. After all, we are all human.

When we are authentic and have integrity, congruence occurs with what we say (words), our posture or how we hold ourselves (body language), and our emotions or mood (tone). Seminal research by Albert Mehrabian based on experiments dealing with communicating feelings and attitudes shows that when there is incongruity, people tend to believe body language or nonverbal behavior over spoken words. In fact, his research suggests that 7 percent of a message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in the words spoken, while 38 percent of the same message is conveyed by the tone or emotion used in speaking those words. Finally, 55 percent of the message is conveyed by facial or body expression. The more you become aware of the connection between your emotions, your body language, and your words and thoughts, the better able you will be to check in with yourself and ensure more congruity. In addition, you will be able to understand others by paying attention to their words, emotions, and body language.

Leadership Presence and Suggestions for Developing an Effective Leadership Presence

Presence is more than just being there. — Malcolm S. Forbes

Presence as the ability to be attentive and able to respond in the moment. Being present is a key characteristic of effective leaders. Often, we are distracted by a full plate, worry and other pressures. While we may be physically with others, be it colleagues, family or staff, they sense we are not fully with them and we can easily miss what they are saying. They leave without feeling heard or supported.

However, when a leader is present with us, we feel alive in their presence and sense they are with us in the moment. By being present, leaders inspire people to take action. The art of strengthening one’s presence, like improvisational jazz, is to be “in” the immediate moment while being able to respond to the rhythm of what is happening in the moment. We know it when we experience presence and others do too. When we are not present it can feel like “we are not all there”, or act in a manner that suggests derailment from our own resources. The challenge is to recognize when we are derailed in relation to our own presence and once recognized, our challenge is to learn how to return to the aliveness of our presence– where choice for action resides. When we are present, we easily connect with others and they feel understood, valued and seen.

One of the most important things leaders can do is to become self-aware and have the intention of being present with others.

Make it your intention to be present as you interact with others. Notice what supports you in being present, how you feel and the outcomes.

Some Suggestions for Developing an Effective Leadership Presence

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The Pragmatics of Magic – The Work of Gestalt Coaching

By Dorothy E. Siminovitch and Ann M. Van Eron

Executive Coaching is a significant practice because it has the power and “magic” of transforming individuals, teams, and organizations. For example: An executive needs to mobilize his team’s commitment and creativity to demanding organization goals. However, the executive uses his habitual model of micromanaging, focusing on controlling rather than supporting team initiative. This controlling approach has served him well in the past, and under current pressure it persists, despite its failure to achieve the desired innovation and commitment.

This article will provide some insight into how a Gestalt trained coach would assist this client in identifying specific wants and needs related to developing a more open leadership style, while working with the resistance patterns that interfere with his ability to realize those needs and wants. Through a non-judgmental examination of the client’s present internal and external processing, what we describe as the “what is picture,” and through exploration of and experimentation with new behaviors, the Gestalt coach enhances client awareness and co-creates digestible learning experiences. New choices are opened to the client, who becomes better equipped to access experiential resources and desired goals.

In this article, we illuminate “the heart of the magic” of the Gestalt approach to coaching. For us, this centers on three distinct features:

1) An integrated presence and intentional use of self as coach; 2) Skillful tracking of and movement with the interaction between the Cycle of Experience (COE) and the Unit of Work (UOW); and 3) Mastery of working with awareness and the force of resistance to support new learning and new possibilities.


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How to Work With a Diversity Consultant

IN RECENT YEARS, many companies have implemented diversity training programs or other diversity initiatives. There is growing evidence that Organizations that support diversity attract and retain the most talented employees and keep pace With and succeed in a changing marketplace.

However, to realize the potential of a diverse workforce, diversity needs to be valued and supported in the organizations systems and processes. There is no magic bullet; the key to high performing organizations is a diversity strategy that supports the organizations goals. Each organization must design a strategy that is tailored to its unique culture and circumstances.

A diversity consultant can help an organization solve some of the complex challenges surrounding diversity. However, finding and productively working With a qualified diversity consultant can be a challenge.

As of now, there are no required Credentials or Certifications for 21 diversity consultant. Consultants who provide their services Without appropriate preparation and experience can hurt organizations more than help them.

Following are some guidelines to consider before you decide to hire a diversity consultant. Continue reading

Ways To Assess Diversity Success

Informed Organizational leaders View diversity as a business imperative. But, diversity in itself does not result in a competitive edge. Diversity is likely to breed tension, conflict, misunderstanding and frustration unless an organization develops a culture that supports, honors and Values differences.

By defining diversity broadly as being everything that makes us different from others-including race, gender, values, work styles, communication styles and characteristics employees can “buy in” to the value of building a culture that supports diversity.

Some of the advantages of addressing diversity include:

  • Developing greater understanding of diverse customer needs to better serve diverse markets.
  • Gaining advantage by being a leader among competitors who are not capitalizing on the benefits of diversity. Attracting and retaining the best talent in the labor pool.
  • Effectively using the talent of diverse associates for increased innovation and productivity by enhancing teamwork and reducing interpersonal conflicts.
  • Increasing employee satisfaction, morale and Commitment to organizational goals.
  • Enhancing communication and coordination.
  • Eliminating or reducing lawsuits and penalties related to discrimination.

Measuring Diversity Efforts

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