Day: February 17, 2020

Spark Volume 07 – Connection in Action Inside and Outside Health Care
”Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected” – William Plomer

The Conversation Placebo

Can a doctor heal patients just by talking with them? Sounds a little bit dubious, but not so far-fetched when you consider the power of conversation and Connection. In this provocative NY Times article, author Danielle Ofri explores the important role of conversation in the patient-physician relationship and argues that words can create a placebo effect. Connection that takes place when conversation leads the way is more powerful than we know. In fact, face-to-face conversation encourages one of the most important Connections in our industry: the healing Connection. A few years back, Canadian researchers found that the mere act of having understanding and encouraging communication with patients decreased their pain by 55%. The “conversation placebo” relieves suffering and expedites recovery.

This literal application of the conversation placebo can be applied in more environments than just the patient room. When we use Intentional, fully present conversations as a tool to connect with our team members, their anxieties and concerns are alleviated.

Take Time for Tea Time

Tea time did not become a ritual just for an afternoon pick-me-up. In fact, the tea ceremony dates back to the 9th Century and is not focused on the consumption of tea at all. It’s a symbol of hospitality and of creating a positive Experience for your guests. It is a simple and restrained ceremony designed to create harmony. Each movement is carefully considered from both the host’s and guest’s point of view. It is a time set aside to honor the past through tradition and celebrate the present through thoughtful human Connection.

There’s great reciprocity in the tea ceremony – and in the work done in health care. In the hospital or medical office, there is always the server of the tea (the provider) and the individual being served the tea (the patient, guest, or family member). Our organizations should be a symbol of our hospitality as well. We must ensure that the sole purpose of the Connections we make in our organizations is not driven purely by the desire to “fix” whatever is “broken” with our patients and guests. Instead, the goal should be to honor their past, be in the present, and ensure that they have the most positive Experience possible.

What possibilities could be realized when we make the effort, time, and care to sit down with fellow team members for tea? How might we ensure that we are creating the most memorable Experience for them and honoring their needs?

EQ, Not IQ

“According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020.” We found this eye-opening stat in a great piece in Fast Company. When we place value in someone’s ability to forge Connections and label that as a strength, we build great leaders and great teams. What once was deemed a “soft skill,” emotional intelligence is increasingly one of our greatest professional assets.

Celebrating you and your team’s ability to LEAD in a way that’s emotionally intelligent helps create meaning in your work each and every day. Emotionally intelligent individuals are not only better at Connecting with others, they’re better at Connecting a problem to the best solution.

When we tune into the way in which we are Connected to everyone and everything around us, we create more compassionate services and servants. Our Connection to the universal “we” helps us find greater meaning in our purpose within our organizations.

Finding New Ways To Connect

This heartfelt community in Newton, Massachusetts has forged more than a tight neighborhood; they’ve embraced the power of true Connection. Driven by the desire to engage with a two-year-old deaf girl, Samantha, who loves to talk and interact with anyone, the neighborhood banded together to learn sign language to bridge the communication gap. The result is exemplary inclusion, immense gratitude from the family, and a more joyful young girl in a beautifully Connected neighborhood

When we are struggling to find a way to engage with our team members, providers, patients or guests, what new approaches or technologies might we try in an effort to build a meaningful Connection?

Great Connection Questions

You’re at a work function. You meet someone new. Instead of the usual, “So what do you do?” there’s a way to elicit a more thoughtful response and unlock insights about someone. 

HBR published 8 questions that open up conversation, create multiple ties, and lead to richer relationships. Next time try starting with:

  1. What excites you right now?  
  2. What are you looking forward to?
  3. What’s the best thing that happened to you this year? 
  4. What’s the most important thing I should know about you?
  5. What do you love most about what you do? (This question is an Experience Lab favorite not yet on HBR’s list.)

These questions have been proven to help team members get along better, enjoy work more, and build meaningful Connections. Studies also show that team members with at least one friend at work have greater work satisfaction. Give the questions a go and see what it sparks.

Share a Cup

How do you get people to Connect and share success stories with each other? You set up a giant cup of coffee on the street and ask people to hop in and chat, of course! It’s incredible what you learn, over, and sometimes inside, a cup.