November 4, 2005

Elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Question: It looks as though elevate creates a lot more work (thank you notes, rounding and key words). In a workday that is already too full, how can I meet this obligation?

Answer: Learning new skills is sometimes difficult and time consuming. There is no question that elevate requires you to take more time to learn those behaviors and approaches.

If elevate only added to your work but did not make it more efficient and effective in the long run we would not have started on this journey. But we do expect these things to become a part of the way you do your work — not extra work, but a different way of doing the same work you do now.

But even more than that, we expect that working this way will make you more effective and, as importantly, happier and more fulfilled by your work.

We ask our leaders to take a few moments to send thank you cards to people who are doing great work.

It takes no more than two or three minutes to do that. But in exchange for that few minutes of work we expect that staff will be happier with their manager and therefore more comfortable in their job and less likely to change jobs.

The two or three minutes spent in writing thank you notes more than outweighs the six months spent in finding and training someone to replace a high performer who is not well recognized.

Rounding is a structured way that leaders can learn about impediments that may block the way of getting work done.

It becomes a focused and efficient way of gathering information that makes the work team more effective and better able to meet the needs of their patients and internal customers.

— Harry R. Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs