How to Show Up as a Caring Company

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In lieu of a regular Daily Dose video, I want to share with you an excerpt from a keynote I presented recently that focuses on the lessons of my most recent book, Would You Do That To Your Mother.

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.




Would you roll your mother into a hospital hallway and then leave her there? You know that you wouldn’t. But this kind of thing happens in every single one of our industries, because we’re focused on processes that are built for efficiency, and in doing so, we wire the human out of it.

In this example, a wonderful tech probably took your mom out of the hospital, doing what he or she was supposed to do, rolled her to in front of the lab and put your mom in the hallway. The lab technician came out, did the tests for your mom, rolled her back in the hallway. That’s because we haven’t thought about weaving dignity into the experience. We haven’t operationalized hope and caring in a deliberate way.

Start with the Life at the Center, Not Technology

As technology is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives, what’s important is to acknowledge the purpose of technology, which is to enable care and enable people to do the right thing. But it takes starting with the life of your customer to know when to wire the technology in.

I have to tell you, an app alone will not get us there. If you are operationally efficient only because of your technology, it will only give you parity in the marketplace. Yes, if you’re lucky, your refrigerator repairman will keep you posted on when he or she will get to your home, but it’s the man or the woman and how they welcome you, if they put booties on their feet, and how they care for your furniture that tells you the kind of mom they’ve got.

Yes, you can walk completely through an airport without talking to a human, but it’s that gate agent who notices that you’re frantic because you’re about to lose and miss your flight who honors you with grace because he or she have been honored themselves.

3 Key Actions to Show Up as a Caring Company

In 2010, Toby Cosgrove, the CEO of Cleveland Clinic, brought everybody together. There were thousands of them, and he said to his entire team, “People respect how we deliver, how good we are technically at what we do in healthcare, but they don’t like us very much.”

So what they did back then was focus on three key actions, simple things that we can do. Those three things moved them to a very high “love” rating from patients and families, and also allowed them to become ranked number two by US News and World Report.

Click to open the file full-size and hit “File > Save” to download it.

Number one: they created a very simple “no passing” rule. What that means is that no matter who walks by a hospital room with that red call light on, you must go in and care for the human. You must go in and care for the human. It doesn’t matter if you’re a florist or a tech or whatever your job is, you are given permission to stop and take care of the life.



Number two: everyone was given the added job description of “caregiver.” Prior to this only doctors were caregivers; now on everybody’s card, they have caregiver in their title. This raises people’s level and gives them permission. If you’re delivering flowers and you see that somebody’s pillows are rumpled, you can take the time to care for them. You will be celebrated for it.

Number three: they got rid of that crazy silo experience. If you’ve ever been in a hospital for yourself or a family member, you know you have to keep telling your story over and over and over and over again, depending on the doctor or the person taking your blood or the tech or the nurse. Instead, they have implemented 360-degree rounds. They go as a unit and care for the whole life.

When you care, you receive care back. So ask yourself: do you show up as a caring company?

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