Building a Culture of Accountability in Healthcare

Posted by Paradigm Learning on September 26, 2014

Building a Culture of Accountability in Healthcare

In my last two blogs, I discussed the importance of developing the business acumen of healthcare staff and ensuring clear and consistent strategic alignment of the workforce related to business goals, marketplace realities and key initiatives.

While it’s critical for senior leaders to focus on these initiatives, the over-arching goal for these leaders is to build a “culture of accountability.”

One CEO in a recent healthcare study conducted by Becker’s Hospital Review said, “I am ultimately responsible for holding our team accountable to deliver on our plan….”

He’s right that senior leaders need to hold other leaders and their teams accountable. However, high-performing workforces are rarely the product of a single leader’s vision. 

Instead, healthy cultures evolve when leaders at all levels bring their diverse and divergent strengths together in a holistic solution.

In our recent white paper for healthcare organizations, I suggested 10 ways for senior leaders to build a Culture of Accountability into their hospital’s DNA. These five bubble to the top of the list for me:

  1. Ensure senior leader clarity and consistency. Build clear, unequivocal executive alignment around specific change initiatives as well as the hospital’s overall vision of success.
  2. Clearly communicate new strategies and success metrics. Concisely and convincingly convey what the hospital needs to do to be successful.
  3. Engage managers and employees in big- picture, healthcare-specific learning sessions to close the business-acumen gap: Use highly interactive learning approaches to drive peer discussions and exploration of new healthcare realities and the hospital’s vision and strategies related to those realities.
  4. Hold people accountable with performance management systems. Embed necessary new behaviors and action plans into the hospital’s performance management system and ensure that it is being used competently by managers.
  5. Communicate often and with transparency. Make a commitment, spend the necessary time and communicate with authenticity. The right top-down, cascading leadership approach can channel concerns into excitement and energy around new possibilities.

Organizations with a strong culture of accountability adapt faster and inspire people’s best efforts. This is no easy task for any organization, especially for technically-focused cultures like hospitals. With a systematic, best-practices approach, hospital leaders can realize remarkable changes in cultural norms, attitudes and workforce productivity.

So ask yourself: At your hospital…

  • Do executives speak in one voice and motivate people to take a bigger stake in the organization’s success?
  • Do employees take a “Let’s solve this” approach—or hide behind “Not my job” excuses?
  • Is your senior team committed to taking a systematic, holistic approach to building a culture of accountability and using a performance management system to embed it?

Tell me about your organization. Share your comments and questions!

Topics: Business Simulations, Healthcare