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A Doctor’s Touch

A forever favorite of the Lab, Abraham Verghese’s TED Talk directly addresses the power a moment has in the physician-patient relationship. He poetically argues that in the midst of the greatest advancements in medicine – in times of robotic guided surgery and electronic medical systems – we have forgotten the critical ritual that is the physical examination: the actual examination of the human form using human hands. Verghese says, “we seem to have forgotten – as though, with the explosion of knowledge, the whole human genome mapped out at our feet, we are lulled into inattention, forgetting that the ritual is cathartic to the physician, necessary for the patient – forgetting that the ritual has meaning and a singular message to convey to the patient.” Watch the rest of Dr. Verghese’s TED talk to learn more about the importance of the human touch.

Dr. Verghese dives into just how important it is to honor the human form through physical examination – honor the human Moment with human attention. While arguably a simple act, it’s a transformative one. How can we be sure to include the Moment of human touch for all of our patients and guests?

No More Turning Away

Thirty years ago, Pink Floyd released a song completely devoted to the choices we have in each Moment: to take action or to turn away. “On the Turning Away,” from their 1987 album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, commemorates the autonomy and freedom we have to take hold of everything each moment has to offer. Written in response to societal problems that weren’t being addressed or faced by politicians in office at the time, the song encourages listeners to own each moment with Intention and to act out of compassion, not selfishness:

“No more turning away

From the weak and the weary

No more turning away

From the coldness inside

 

Just a world that we all must share

It’s not enough just to stand and stare

Is it only a dream that there’ll be

No more turning away?”

What are ways we can own each Moment? What are situations (or solutions) that we are turning our backs on because of an inconvenience, a fear, or a perceived barrier? How might we overcome them?

Moments for Gratitude

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we Wholeheartedly share our gratitude for the everyday Moments – the many gifts – that 2020 has given us. We are grateful for YOU – our Lab Partners – and the many Experiences that we have shared in The Experience Lab. This piece from Time highlights seven mental and physical benefits of practicing gratitude. It is a wonderful reminder that when we take time to express gratitude in Moments, large and small, we’ll Experience true fulfillment.

How do you cultivate gratitude in your everyday life?

V46: Moments of Celebration and Ceremony

In health care, we are gifted to be part of and witness transformational and memorable Moments in the lives of our patients: healing, thriving, birthing, passing. And, as leaders, we are also fortunate to be the guide for some of the most memorable life Moments for our team members and providers: a first job, a promotion, a graduation, a milestone accomplishment, or retirement.

By honoring accomplishments and triumphs, we are honoring the humanity that makes us who we are. Ceremonies and celebrations help to create meaning, story, and memory out of what may otherwise be experienced as routine.

This week, we’ll dig into the scientifically proven benefit of acknowledging Moments and explore two very different exemplars of Moment-making. From basketball to bears, we’ll learn how Moments are an integral part of our life journey no matter our age; no matter our Experience.


Why Celebrate?

At Build-A-Bear, there is a heartwarming ceremony celebrating just that: the heart. The make-your-own teddy bear boutique gives children the power to customize and bring their furry friends to life through their “heart ceremony.” It is sure to bring a smile to the face of all visitors no matter their age. After their bear is selected and stuffed, customers are given a small, silky red heart — the final addition to the bear. Customers are asked to rub it on their head to give their bear wisdom, on their knees so they know they are needed, on their ears to make them good listeners, and to give it a kiss to fill the bear with love. This signature Moment defines the entire Experience for the new bear owner and creates a loving, lasting memory forever associated with the bear.

As a leader, we often finish one project successfully and simply move on to the next without taking the time to celebrate. How could you build a celebratory Moment into the project plan? Who could be a part of that?

The Heart of the Bear

At Build-A-Bear, there is a heartwarming ceremony celebrating just that: the heart. The make-your-own teddy bear boutique gives children the power to customize and bring their furry friends to life through their “heart ceremony.” It is sure to bring a smile to the face of all visitors no matter their age. After their bear is selected and stuffed, customers are given a small, silky red heart — the final addition to the bear. Customers are asked to rub it on their head to give their bear wisdom, on their knees so they know they are needed, on their ears to make them good listeners, and to give it a kiss to fill the bear with love. This signature Moment defines the entire Experience for the new bear owner and creates a loving, lasting memory forever associated with the bear.

What rituals or ceremonies can we create to give team members, providers, patients, and guests a chance to physically and emotionally invest themselves in our Experience? What tangible mementos might we provide to ensure that their Moment with our organization is always remembered?

One Shining Moment

Perhaps the most recognizable and remembered song in sports is basketball’s “One Shining Moment.” After the NCAA basketball champion is crowned, the emotion-filled song is played to celebrate the many accomplishments of the young athletes. As it plays, highlights from the course of the tournament are played in montage.

 

The lyrics say it all:

“The ball is tipped

and there you are

you’re running for your life

you’re a shooting star

And all the years

no one knows

just how hard you worked

but now it shows…

ONE SHINING Moment, IT’S ALL ON THE LINE

ONE SHINING Moment, THERE FROZEN IN TIME”

As with many Moments of commemoration and celebration, “One Shining Moment” is memorable due to the high intensity Experience that comes with a win or a loss combined with the sensory Experience of a song. In what ways can we combine a sensory Experience with one of the many Moments of high emotion that we see in our organization?

V45: Elements of Moments

What comprises a Moment? The first definition that may come to mind is “a short period of time: an instant.” Yet, there’s more to it. A Moment is also defined as, “a definite period or stage; a juncture.” This second meaning takes an instant and gives it more gravitas – it is this particular meaning of Moments that we are seeking to create. As Experience leaders, we have the opportunity to turn a Moment into a lasting memory.

Many elements affect the way in which we make Moments matter: the environment they’re designed within, the senses that are engaged throughout, and the feelings in the heart that last beyond. All three work in harmony to shape a Moment. This week we will learn from three very different exemplars working in very different environments who have mastered the importance of intentionally creating Moments.


Today

Artist Scott Thrift was tired of the way we were marking time, so he changed it. Today, featured in this month’s action kit, is a 24-hour clock aimed to enhance the understanding and Experience of the present moment and remind us of the bigger picture of time. Thrift realized that our society has been using the same clock with the two 12-hour cycles since its invention. “The way we measure time dictates our behavior and so we deserve access to scales that are more appropriate for the way we live our lives now and far into the future,” Thrift said in this TechCrunch article. The goal of Today is to encourage us not to feel limited by time, rather instead feel freed by living in the present.

In what ways can we physically remind our team members, providers, patients, and guests to slow down and mark the Moments? While certain Moments at our organizations depend on the traditional marking of time (the time a child is born, the time someone is scheduled for surgery), what Experiences could be enhanced when disconnected from traditional measures of time?

What is a Moment?

Enjoy this awe-inducing video by the team at RadioLab.

As so wonderfully exhibited by this short piece, defining Moments come in a countless number of forms. From blowing a dandelion to the first cut of a surgeon’s knife, we see that Moments can be deeply personal and often characterized and evoked by sensory Experiences: the sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings brought on by the joys and sorrows of LIVING and LOVING. Every moment is filled with the possibility and potential to be a defining moment in someone’s life.

What senses are engaged in our organizations, clinics, hospitals, and offices? Are these the Moments we want to be remembered for? Why or why not?