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Transformational Leadership: CNO Perspectives

Tuesday, January 24, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Transformational Leadership: CNO Perspectives


I have the luxury of working every day with incredible CNOs across the US. Our job as a data analytics provider is to give substance to gaps that are identified and provide tools to help move the CNO’s agenda forward.  This article includes some of the observations we have made over the past 8 years to provide leadership insights.


As leaders we are called upon to build a level of energy and passion that others are not willing to, or able to, create in themselves.  However, sometimes it requires more than encouraging or building passion.  Sometimes as leaders we must provide transformational change to improve culture or create opportunities.   A transformational leader is one who can go into a group or organization and create foundational change.  Our job as transformational leaders is to awaken the passion of the organization to achieve vision and goals that are too lofty for an individual to achieve on their own. The larger the organization – the harder it is to move that energy from you throughout the organization.


Transformational Leaders know the why and it drives them relentlessly.

One of the greatest pieces of life advice I ever received was from my husband’s Cardiologist.  He told us “know your why”. Why are we doing all this work to get healthy, why is it worth it, why do I want to be here? Know your why and revisit it because it will not always be easy and when things are hard you need to be encouraged.


Great Leaders recognize that every project and every task is not glamorous…Caregivers, you know what I am talking about…..but sometimes the most unglamorous tasks are the most influential in delivering exceptional care. Day in and day out, these tasks become draining and if you don’t know your why, then it’s hard to stay focused on doing each task with excellence.


Things to ask yourself:

  • Do you know the organization’s why? Can you describe it easily with an example of a story about a patient?
  • Have you written it down?


Transformational Leaders communicate constantly and consistently.


Clinicians have the most noble of jobs, to work with people who are experiencing great pain and joy sometimes simultaneously in the walls of our hospitals. You support them as they welcome new life and hold their hand as they usher life to an end. You serve the least of our brothers and sisters in their moments of greatest vulnerability and weakness. At one of our client sites, a Malcom Baldridge Winner, the BioMed Director would say at every meeting “It’s about the kids”.  Every vendor and every staff member in that room understood.  In every project, engagement or interaction with this hospital it was communicated clearly that what we were doing mattered.  He held us accountable for the mindset and our technology deployment.  The real job –  was to support the care team that helps children heal and supports their families.


Why was it verbalized so often? Because it’s what his boss said, it’s what his bosses boss said – it was infused in every aspect of communications around that health system.


Things to ask yourself - to grade yourself on as a leader:

  • Can my staff clearly communicate the vision and mission of the organization?
  • Do I give them tools to constantly enable them?
  • Do I remind them often of why we do what we do?


Transformation Leaders measure and manage that their organization is executing effectively.


One of the great leadership minds is Peter Drucker and he said "Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things."


One of our CNO’s, whose hospital who has reduced call lights by >25%, told me that she set the expectation for her managers to use the data consistently. Her desire was to validate that that they were efficiently and effectively connecting with patients on a regular basis.  This remarkable hospital was able to use data in real time to identify “high use times” with their call light then engaged with targeted rounding.  Utilizing the data, they identified the highest times of days for call light usage and the highest request types (what was being asked for) then focused their rounds accordingly.  Thus creating a more patient focused environment AND improvement in patient satisfaction.


Things to ask yourself:

1)    Do you inspect what you expect?

2)    Do you have the flexibility to utilize data in real time to manage to the moment?

3)    Do you provide tools for your care leadership team to use data daily?


Transformation is led by CNO’s who know their why, communicate relentlessly and use the data to measure effectiveness.  We would appreciate the opportunity to share more with you about how Sphere3 can partner in your journey.


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