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New Podcast Episode: The Three Cs of Leadership: Caring, Communication, and Curiosity with Don Antonucci
What You’ll Learn:
A negative healthcare experience can leave lasting emotional harm. That’s why Dr. Shannon Phillips, President, Intermountain Medical Group – UT, VP and Region Chief Medical Officer, Ambulatory Care at Intermountain Healthcare, wants to make the system work better for both patients and professionals. The healthcare industry is built around care, but to truly thrive, it needs to be rooted in trust and connection. Shannon says that this starts with caring for the people who serve. By honoring forgiveness and cultivating trust, they are better able to safely care for others, massively reducing harm events. As you listen, you’ll learn how being transparent and resourceful can give you the tools you need to leave a lasting impact with patients.
THEMES: Curiosity, Building Trust, Safety, Connecting to Purpose, Creating a Physiologically Safe Workplace, Women in Healthcare
“I had an ‘aha’ moment mid-career where I said, ‘When we do our job well, we are making healthcare safer.’ However, we may be missing the fact that to give our best care delivering health and healing, it starts with caring for the people who do that wonderful work every day and caring for the people we serve. I am deeply rooted in the action that people need to know that we care about them: those who are in our profession, and those who we have the privilege to serve. If we build that kind of relationship, then we give safe care, we give high quality care, and in turn, people find the best help they can find. To me, that is the joy that fills my cup every day.”
“At Intermountain Medical Group, we use the words: Whole, Resourceful, Capable, and Creative. They’re some of my favorite words, and the brilliant people who chose them were careful about selecting them. None of us is perfect, and none of us has everything, right? If we’re looking for the potential in others and we see people as entire human beings bringing everything that they have to the table, there is talent beyond our wildest imagination, and it creates a sense of curiosity [in them]. In leader development, we create that curiosity about people and what specifically they bring to strengthen a team. As I think about building teams and building success to care for patients, how do we make sure we have diverse thought to that?… To serve our diverse community, you must have a diversity of thought. Pushing ourselves to bring diverse thought to the table so that what we end up with is better than we ever imagined. I see that in action, and that gets me excited and gives me hope in what have been some challenging times. We can build an incredible workforce and incredible leadership pipeline that appreciates and is intentional in that kind of diverse team.”
“I think something that should help us is culture. We do feel a deep sense of commitment to first, do no harm, and I think we’ve learned a lot about reliability and the process. If I do my role in the way it’s laid out, then I can keep people safe. Practicing psychological safety for people, system accountability, and personal accountability so that we can get better and faster are areas that we’re constantly working on. I think the more we build strong teams, the more we build a culture of who we’re here for: those who serve in healthcare professions, and our patients and the people in our communities.”
“There is a mistrust of science in a way that’s very unusual today. The economic pressures and things that aren’t about healthcare that are impacting those whom we have the privilege to serve in our communities have made the time very stressful. People are coming into our care with some mistrust and they’re coming into our care with just overwhelming stress. The interactions [our healthcare workers have with the community] are not always great. It’s much more stressful and it takes a lot out of caregivers to confront that every day and still bring joy and empathy to their patients. Getting back to why you got into healthcare in the first place is helpful for centering ourselves, but it’s hard today.”
“As you build a culture in healthcare, people want to know that we take good care of people when something goes wrong…Out of a bad moment, a moment that we wish we could take back, we were able to change care delivery process, our culture, and how we interact with each other to apologize to a patient and say, ‘This isn’t going to happen again.’ Every day, I reflect on the moments I’ve had with families and patients to be able to be forthright, to be transparent, and to share how we’re growing in a rich culture. We have that here at Intermountain.
“You care and then you learn. The first order of business is to love the caregivers and the families and the patients who have had an experience that we can’t take back. Likewise, caring for the families and the patients is the first and most important thing. ‘How can we be here for you? What do you need?’ Once we have given people the security and love of that attention, we can learn. We have complicated systems that we can make better so that the next day when someone comes in, that risk is not there. We can build psychological safety that allows people to participate in learning and allows us to really nurture a culture of excellence.”
“I have great reflection in that in my personal life where I am–working so deeply, being busy and professional, with my daughters and with my husband and my family–I have been very intentional in seeing people, and I feel that back way more than I did if I were to look back throughout the years. This is not because I haven’t felt loved, but because my intention is reaping rewards the other way! When I think about feeling seen, what comes first to mind is that intention in relationships that makes all the difference. Professionally, I would say those moments come as a leader of leaders. I have the privilege to witness one of the most joyful things: to grow and develop the people that I have the privilege to lead. Anytime I have the opportunity to share with someone that I see them, they now tell me, ‘I see how you were there, and I grew because of the conversation we had and the presence you brought to me.’ That amplifier is everything to me because I won’t be in [healthcare] forever. Not to say I don’t have plenty of time left, but my leaders then can amplify this feeling to those whom they lead, and I think that matters. I probably feel most seen when people see the role model I’m trying to be, and I’m not perfect, and I blow it, and there are days that are better than others, but when people see that intention in me, I feel great and I feel seen.”
“It is so humbling and such a privilege to care for patients and their families every day when I have the opportunity to help them through some of their hardest times.”
“As a leader, you have the opportunity to appreciate people and what they bring to the table. Doing that empowers them to be curious, to push themselves, and to do things they might not have thought they were capable of.”
“Our teams need to know we love them, and we support them, so that they can go out and be an amazing team for the people that they have the opportunity to care for, and it’s a virtuous cycle.”
“The organizations that are thriving are the ones that say that caring for the people who care for our communities is number one. Why is it number one? Because we then can provide an extraordinary experience to those we have the privilege to serve those who have chosen us to care for them, and then we can hit quality, safety, everything else out of the park.”
“When something serious goes wrong, it’s a moment of humility to say to those you care for, ‘Healthcare is complicated, and we made a mistake. We’re human, and we made a mistake.’ It is a deeply personal and human experience, and the human experience is something that we can and should give.”
“[Regarding burnout] We need to break the habit of, ‘Yes, I can do it.’ That exhaustion is poisonous!”
“Let’s bring some joy and love into healthcare, shall we?”
“The connection back to why we all got into healthcare is probably the most important thing [to cultivate humanism.]”
“As a leader, do you value and respect the team you lead? I think we model things and it’s contagious.”
“So many [experiences in healthcare] are beautiful and making sure that’s in front of people is really important. That’s a big focus for me, to make sure that people see the voice of those they care for, because that’s healing.”
“Patients will tell you, ‘I know when you walk through the door if you’re present, if you are distracted, or are really with me. When you cross that threshold to be with me, please be with me.’ That trust and respect is everything in terms of people really getting in their own health journey. We want to support people in being healthy, not be the reason they are healthy. We’re just a piece of it. Each of us is accountable for our health and we choose to partner with people to take care of us and coach us in our journey. And that’s only possible if we bring that humanism and trust to it.”
Explore transformative stories from healthcare executives as they share impactful moments of human connection from their professional journeys.