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Lessons from complexity: How to lead your healthcare team from hot water to success
Lessons from complexity: How to lead your healthcare team from hot water to success

Can you relate to the boiled frog?

The story goes, If you put a frog in a pot of water and increase the temperature gradually, the frog will keep getting used to hotter and hotter temperatures without attempting to hop out of the pot. Eventually, the water gets so hot that the frog boils.

To some extent, humans are all like this boiled frog. We continually adjust to external conditions to survive, sometimes becoming numb to the internal warning signs that something isn't right. Lately, it's this exact condition in which we're finding many healthcare teams.

You may feel the heat in your pot from conditions like understaffing, burnout, and disengagement. The water may be becoming unbearable, but you're so focused on simply getting through the day that you aren't even thinking about how to jump out of the pot before you boil.

Sure, it's getting hot in here, but what else can you do?

Being stuck in this state poses a serious risk to you and your team because those who have noticed the heat in the pot are hopping out and searching for the cooler waters of healthier environments. This only increases the pressure on those who remain.

If you are reading this as a leader in healthcare right now, you may have a sinking feeling that you're one of the frogs stuck in the pot. But let us assure you that this is not a personal failure on your part. It's a systemic problem, a function of the complexity of our world, compounded by healthcare-specific challenges.

The good news is you have the power to start to make things better. Not just by hopping out of the pot but also by cooling the water in your local environment. However, making this change is not a quick fix. It requires an investment in your people that focuses on building the capabilities needed to thrive in complexity. Capabilities like managing their internal threat states, connecting to purpose, and training focus and attention.

The Healthcare leaders we've worked with and who've invested in building these capabilities within their teams are experiencing fantastic results. Some of these results include decreased wait times, increased service, more staff engagement and improved team morale. These teams still face the same challenges as yours, but they've lowered the temperature in their pot by building the capability to lead themselves and others more effectively.

The message that the frog in the pot has for you is don't wait. Don't wait to burn out. Don't wait until you lose some of your best people. Don't wait for someone to turn off the heat.

The greatest act of healthcare transformation starts with transforming yourself, and we have the method and expertise to help you build the capabilities you need to get you and your team out of the pot.

Join our fall session of Evolution of Thinking to turn down the heat and start your team transformation.

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