Archives: Ignites

Heart Not In It?

There are times when it may feel like our Whole Heart is no longer in our work, and it may happen more often than expected. A 2017 Gallup poll found that only one third of workers feel consistent passion for their job. But just because the passion isn’t there doesn’t mean you can’t rediscover it. One way to regain footing is to come to terms with what you’re trying to get out of your work. Is it a career? A job? A passionate calling? Next, consider tweaking your work. Could something be redesigned to gain a greater sense of meaning or satisfaction? Finally, is there something else besides work that could help ignite your passion and change your overall mindset? Sometimes it isn’t really the work; it’s our greater sense of self that might need revisiting. As leaders, we can help our team members see and tap into their feelings. We may even be able to reinvigorate them by design their roles anew or sparking a new passion.

How are our organizations set up to LOVE our team members when they’re Experiencing a lack of passion for the work? Do we push them away or do we give them more reasons to show up Wholeheartedly for their team members and patients?

What Stops Compassion?

In this TED Talk, psychologist and author Daniel Goleman dissects how we choose whether or not to LEAD with compassion each day. While we may be prewired for compassion, we continue to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before performing an act of kindness for another. What would it take to help? What might be gained? In those Moments of weighing all the minutiae, we miss out on the opportunity to simply choose to be Wholehearted in the way we move through the world.

What does compassionate action look like in our unique positions in the health care industry? How, like Goleman, can we break from our daily grind and discover a new way to extend our Wholehearted selves? What can we Notice today?

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

Do you know who made your favorite t-shirt? Not just the brand, but the human who physically created it? Thanks to clothing startup Known Supply, now you can. Aimed to highlight the real lives behind factory doors and the products they create, Known Supply sews the name of the individual that created the t-shirt into the label. Pop onto their website and search the t-shirt maker’s name to learn his or her story and even thank them. This move wasn’t just aimed to bring awareness to customers, creating a Connection between them and the maker of their clothing; it is also aimed to bring the seamstresses Wholehearted ownership over their work. What a prideful symbol of transparency!

There are so many hands and hearts that contribute to the care that a patient receives in our clinics and hospitals. What are some ways our organizations can honor the humanity that goes into our Wholehearted work? How might we “sew the names” of our team members into the caring we provide?

In the Spotlight with Julie Kennedy Oehlert, Chief Experience Officer, Vidant Health

What does the principle of Wholehearted mean to you?

Julie Kennedy Oehlert (JKO): When we think about the work we are doing at Vidant Health, Wholehearted means showing up as your best, most loving self in all situations. We are in the midst of a positive cultural transformation, and we’ve found that bringing your Whole Heart–and bringing LOVE to the table–creates a dynamic that can be rare in our frenzied environment–while we’re creating such significant change in our organization and our industry.

For us, Wholeheartedness is a tool for change because when we LEAD with our Whole Hearts and LEAD with LOVE, then the change we seek is more possible. I think about what we learned from Dr. Victoria Sweet at STIR and what she calls “slow medicine,” which is about being intentionally slow. We’re trying that here at Vidant, starting with slow, Wholehearted leadership, where we are lovingly present so people can move into change with a feeling of care and kindness. If our team members don’t feel LOVE and Wholeheartedness in their space and if they don’t feel like they are enough or what they do is enough, then fear and negative power dynamics shows up and inhibits the change we are seeking.

How do you, as a leader, and in your organization, use LOVE and Wholeheartedness as part of your Experience journey?

JKO: With our learning from The Experience Lab, our Office of Experience chose to set an Intention for the entire first year of this journey, and it was simply to be LOVING. It sounds easy and perhaps cavalier, but it’s really not. If you ask an organization, leaders, and team members to design with LOVE, it’s not that easy. We get asked, “What’s LOVE got to do with it?” And the answer is, “everything.” LOVE is everything. It’s how we can heal health care. When people unleash themselves with LOVE, it shifts things. If people say, “I LOVE my team” or “I LOVE my work”—how powerful is that? When people ask me, “How do you get so much done?” I always answer, “With LOVE.” Love has become such a powerful influencer in our culture that we continue to apply LOVE as an Intention in all we do. It has become iconic for what we stand for, and that shows me that it was something both our team members and patients longed for.

The word courage comes from the Latin word cor, which means heart. Can you talk about courage and Wholeheartedness in your work?

JKO: Wholeheartedness takes courage. It takes courage every day to show up with LOVE. It takes courage to set LOVE as an Intention in a health system and talk about LOVE at the executive level–in executive meetings and in the boardroom. Think about it though; who pushes back against LOVE? No one. It’s a unanimously positive and desirable state to LOVE. People LEADING change in other organizations often say to me, “I get pushback on my Experience efforts.” My reply is that at Vidant no one pushes back on LOVE—nobody.

We know that this courageous, Wholehearted work may sometimes hit speed bumps. How do you navigate those barriers?

JKO: That’s the courage part! Navigating those speed bumps takes courage. It takes being authentic and Wholehearted in your work. We have to take time to explain where we are coming from. Those who are leading our culture transformation don’t get defensive, and we don’t take the power-over approach. We take the time to explain to people why this is a better state of being for them and share all the positive consequences of having LOVE as an Intention. It takes patience. Leaders must role model! I know it may seem safer to go along with the current flavor of the month for how to get results, yet there are so many benefits of standing up and saying we should use LOVE as the way. I can’t think of any downside for this.

What advice do you have for Lab Partners?

JKO: I think defining LOVE for your organization is super important. I choose to use MLK’s definition of LOVE and find that it resonates with our team members.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. defines love as “understanding, redeeming goodwill for all men, an overflowing love that seeks nothing in return.” The concept of LOVE may seem foreign in an industry focused on survival in a changing landscape. But LOVE—an understanding and redeeming goodwill—may be the exact thing that health care needs to transform itself to better engage team members and serve patients. It’s about LOVING the humanity of people and LOVING humankind. By defining LOVE, it helped create and define our culture.

We also did a lot of socializing of our LOVING Intention. I put quotes on my door, in reflections, in emails; I use LOVING words and terms myself in front of the board, and meetings, and in our action plans. I pointed it out to people. Culture isn’t created by an overlay or edict; it’s created like electricity–it flows.

Leading through LOVE

What kind of leader do you want to be? In this fascinating Forbes interview, Kristen Aldridge and Seth Mattison, co-founders of Luminate, share the thought that in today’s world, to be an effective leader, we need to LOVE the people we LEAD. When we LEAD through LOVE, we cultivate a culture of compassion and care that paves the way for people to grow. There is something good and lovable in everyone, and when we find it, we let go of our judgments and instead create Connections. LEADING through LOVE also brings us to LEADING through service rather than power—focusing on the growth and well-being of our people and communities.

Take a minute to find something to LOVE in each and every one of your team members. What kinds of qualities are you seeing? How might you celebrate them and bring them out more?

Creating Space for Wholeheartedness

This beautiful animated video dives into the importance of vulnerability and what gets in the way of us being Wholehearted. It takes courage to show up and reveal our true selves when our day does not go as planned. But this vulnerability is what Connects us and allows us to release the burden of being uncomfortable together. Holding space for these struggles and accepting our imperfections creates Connections between us as humans.

What are some of the obstacles to being Wholehearted in our organizations? In ourselves? How could we remove those and instead create the space for vulnerability?

SPOTIFY Playlist: Wholehearted

Allow the songs on this playlist to unlock your Wholehearted self. Emulate LOVING practices for yourself and others when listening.

Principle: Being


Amidst ever-changing schedules, tasks, responsibilities, and the busyness of LIVING, it can be easy to overlook one of our most salient purposes: Being. When we encourage ourselves to slow down, take a deep breath, and just Be, we allow ourselves to Be present in the Moment, unlock and reveal our greatest strengths, Connect deeply with others, and revel in the beauty all around us. Remember that we are human Beings, not human doings. 

Despite how easy it sounds, Being doesn’t just happen — it is a practice; thus, it takes attention, mindfulness, and commitment. As leaders, when we slow down, listen, and engage, we are communicating to team members that they matter and that our  organizations are dedicated to LIVING our Intention — Being who we intend to Be. Encouraging Being also promotes wellness, creativity, individuality, and strength.

How Being Fits into LIVING

As we practice Being, we allow our genuine, authentic selves to shine through and are LIVING our lives to the fullest. When we allow ourselves to just Be, we not only encourage full presence in each Moment, we also honor the deeply emotional and complex Experiences that occur in health care every day: complex and critical processes, challenging diagnoses and treatments, Joyous beginnings and transformations. When we acknowledge each human Being in all of their Being, we instill humanity, LOVE, and life into our work.

Being: Human

A manifesto on LIVING, this brilliant video explores the deeply personal desires of the artist to LIVE a deep, wonder-filled, passionate, and beautiful life.

“Living is difficult.
It is full of sticky situations and exceptions to truisms.
But you don’t need it to be spelled out in a book to live by strong moral principle.
I want to be the best person that I can be.
I want to do well by people, to love deeply and be loved deeply.
I want the best life I can get, to be excited to wake up in the morning.
I want to think about existence, to stretch and bruise my brain through learning, to raise children who love learning, who are confident and open, and love others.
I want to pass to them as many of my pros and as few of my cons as possible.
I want to laugh, to enjoy the pleasures of food and travel and art and literature, to see great sunsets and be thrashed by great storms.
I want to shiver with wonder and awe at the universe, and nature, to sob at the absurd unbearable brightness of human existence, to glow red in the heat of human triumphs, and shake my head in shame and disbelief at our broken record failures.
I want to be stirred by music, to be broken by drama.
I want to live forever, and I see the appeal of slipping away eventually into the eternal quiet.
A human lifetime is a seasonal growth of a tiny twig of the human branch of the mammal limb of the tree of life.
It is a carnival ride and a game of dice.
The low bar is survival, the high bar is progress, and the taste of brie and sound of children’s laughter are the sustaining fuel keeping us aloft through the surprises of each fresh day.”

(*Please note that while we love the message conveyed in this video, we also recognize that it does not appropriately represent the beauty of the full spectrum of humanity and wish it were more inclusive. Let’s take this as a spark to prompt us to consider whether our printed, video, or digital imagery fully represents who we are.)

Write down or think about our organizational manifestos. What are our musts for LIVING? What honors and lifts up the human Beings we LEAD and serve?

All Aboard!

Onboarding new team members into our cultures and organizations is the first opportunity we have to demonstrate how to LIVE within our teams and how to Be –  how to be oriented and how to be integrated into the way of the work. Onboarding exemplars such as Zappos, Twitter, and Facebook have discovered and incorporated creative ways to authentically display what it means to be a member of their teams. From two-month coding bootcamps and culture skits, to individual mentoring and a “pay to quit” program, each organization approaches the onboarding process through a fresh lens to ensure that new team members understand and are ready to LIVE out their organizations’ missions and aspirations.

 When we invest in the onboarding Experience, it allows us the opportunity to welcome team members into both their skill fit and also their culture fit. Immersive onboarding provides new team members a clear understanding of what roles and tasks they are expected to perform, as well as expectations and examples for how they will act and feel as a part of the larger team. And, to ensure a cohesive feeling across the organization, it is critical for everyone who represents our organization or brand to receive this cultural onboarding, so including contracted partners, freelancers, and volunteers in the Experience is key.

Let’s examine the onboarding processes within our organizations. Do they set team members up for success and demonstrate how we hope they will Be? How might we ensure true integration rather than just orientation across the organization, from environmental services to contracted providers?