It was clear to hospital leadership that this operations department hadn’t functioned for a long time and wasn’t serving the hospital well. However, they didn’t know exactly what was wrong, so they couldn’t begin to fix it. Wildfire designed an in-depth interview tool, focus groups and a survey to learn more. We met with staff from all levels of the department, not just leadership, to get a deeper understanding of the challenges, as well as strengths that they could leverage to make improvements. We also listened to the perspectives of key stakeholder groups across the hospital who were impacted by the performance issues in this department. And, we looked at key data from employee engagement surveys for additional insight.
Our findings report provided detailed feedback from managers, staff and stakeholders on exactly what wasn’t working, and specific recommendations for how to improve. We then helped hospital leadership target the right resources to make this department more successful. Because staff felt heard through the diagnostic process, they began to communicate better, even before the recommendations were implemented.
The CEO had been promoted fairly recently, and she wanted to set the medical center on a new course to keep it competitive. She needed her senior team to be excited about her vision and roll up their sleeves together to make it a reality. They were used to a CEO with a directive style and less input into strategy. She worried that her team didn’t have the tools to powerfully collaborative toward a strategy that would deliver on the new vision. How could she shift the culture of her team?
Wildfire designed a set of semi-annual team-building and strategic planning retreats for the CEO and her team, plus strategic planning working groups to move recommendations forward. We based the team-building work on the Five Behaviors of a Team model and DiSC, and designed the parallel strategic working groups. The results have been clarity on strategic direction for the medical center and a more cohesive senior team that could drive the execution of that strategy.
When one hospital department became so toxic that communication only occurred via post-it note, leadership knew it was time to get help. Wildfire was called in, and found doctors and nurses who were barely speaking with one another, and staff who were over-stretched, under-resourced, and felt disrespected. The hospitals’ mission of putting patients first was lost. Hospital leadership made the commitment to get that focus back on track.
The kickoff of our work coincided with the hiring of a new department chief. The new chief was very open to our partnership. Following an in-depth assessment that included live interviews and a survey, we delivered the findings back to a large group of the staff and hospital leadership. Both groups felt our findings were on target, and most importantly staff felt heard.
We coached the new leader and held multiple team sessions to repair relationships, rebuild norms, and increase trust. Results of our work with this department include improved communication between doctors and nurses, significant reduction in verbal attacks on leaders and colleagues and increases in respect and trust across the department. Nurses felt more confident, taking responsibility for their roles, and the physician and nursing leaders were able to collaborate on problem solving. Patient safety and employee engagement scores improved.
The team is working to solve long held structural problems so they can get back to the business at hand – putting patients – not staff squabbling – first.
For many years, Wildfire has provided a broad range of executive coaching and OD services to individual leaders and teams at a major human services non-profit. We have become a trusted advisor to the organization, and can step in quickly to provide help where needed.
Last year, they decided to take a transformative approach to engaging all staff, nationwide. They wanted to strengthen morale and communication in support of their strategic plan. Rather than holding separate regional annual meetings, they wanted an organization-wide retreat, and called us in.
We designed the retreat with the senior planning team, and input from an all-staff survey. During the retreat staff participated and engaged fully, meeting that goal. Additionally, we unearthed a great deal about the organization’s underlying structural issues, which we shared with leadership.
Several valuable outcomes emerged from this work: in the short term, staff identified new communication tools and ways of partnering to meet their goals. Leadership recognized the need to treat staff as though they were customers. In the long term, the organization realized the need for a new approach to strategic planning.
Coaching for Leadership
A C-level executive at a major social services organization needed help to rebuild trust with both her senior team and Board of Directors. Wildfire was brought in to provide leadership coaching. We conducted an in-depth 360º assessment, and identified both “Diamonds and Derailers”, to help her effectively repair these critical relationships and capitalize on new opportunities.
This assessment led to individual and team coaching with her executive team. Not surprisingly, the team also needed to build trust and increase communication.
After delivering individual coaching, as well as leading two half-day team coaching sessions, the team is more cohesive, trusting and has a common language for problem solving. Overall, this group has experienced tremendous growth in individual and collective leadership capacity.