Many physicians feel alone in their frustrations and never imagine a more collaborative medical culture. Such was the case in a large employed medicine group in the Twin cities. The evolution of the event began with a relationship centered leadership trio who recognized, that because of their positions, they are often the last to know the concerns of the staff.The enlightened leadership group asked Influencing Healthcare, LLC to help them discover the hopes and dreams of the group and move them forward.
Starting with a practice designed to hear all voices, the group prepared themselves for the work of the day. This was followed by teaching about listening. Despite considering themselves active listeners in their work as physicians, 86% reported learning something new about listening.
A storytelling exercise allowed triads to discover each other’s peak performances and generated a collective set of strengths and values which bonded the group together. A striking 100% felt they were more of a team after the retreat.
A model of a “community of practice” was taught and participants learned the interdependent importance of working together, learning together and relating with one another. This was felt to be relevant to their work (100%) and 91% reported learning something new about how to collaborate with each other.
The morning prepared the participants to engage in conversations that mattered to them in the afternoon. They chose the topics guided by an umbrella question of:
“What can we do, both individually and as a group, to create conditions so that we can each do more of the things we feel passionate about?”
These conversations resulted not only in social connections, and ideas of how they could collaborate with each other, but also a clear list of action steps to guide the group moving forward together.
As a physician myself, I am burdened by the stereotype we cast on our internal medicine colleagues. I was thrilled to see them speak with and through their heart despite their perceived preference to live in their brain. We anticipated they would appreciate seeing the questions ahead of time and this accommodation proved useful. They had time to reflect on these before they stepped into the fire.
As I approached this day, I was anxious. I am passionate about the participative process and believe in my core that by learning together, working together and relating to each other in the spirit of collaboration we can partner with patients, families, communities and other healthcare team members for optimal health and wellness. I feared my passion would get in the way of my delivery of the goods. The day was a rich, juicy experience.