Management Experiments

Northwell Health aspires to be among the best places to work, and our efforts to make it so are closely linked with a broad institutional effort to improve the experience of our patients. The theory goes – and I believe – that it takes engaged and committed employees to provide great care. To that end, we survey our employees regularly to gauge our progress and to identify opportunities to improve their work life.

I am proud to say that my team, the roughly 100 people who make up the administrative core of Northwell Health Physician Partners, is a highly engaged bunch, but we recently instituted two programs that I hope will make a good situation even better.

First, we created “Team Topics and Tours” and intend to hold them on a roughly quarterly basis. The idea is to provide an opportunity for our employees to learn about and visit a part of the broader organization that they may not be familiar with, and to also hear from one of our own team leaders about what our own group is working on. Our inaugural event was last month at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Although “the Feinstein” is literally a short walk from our offices, it was terra incognita to most of the attendees. We had some introductory remarks from yours truly, and a presentation from Roseanne O’Gara-Shubinsky, our AVP for Quality. Next we heard from Kevin Tracy, the President and CEO of the Feinstein, and EVP for Research at Northwell Health. Kevin gave a great overview of the Northwell Health research enterprise, and the exciting, ground-breaking work in bioelectronic medicine that he and his colleagues are leading. We ended with an eye-opening tour that left most folks in awe of what is going on there.

The second program that we just started is based on a concept I took from Team of Teams, a book I have written about previously. In it, General Stanley McChrystal described his efforts to create a “shared consciousness” among his forces battling Al Qaeda in Iraq. One technique that he used was a daily video conference to share information and get everyone on the same page about upcoming operations. I want all of the members of my team to feel a similar sense of awareness of what is happening and how we are doing, so we instituted a monthly phone call in, during which I can briefly report out on our progress against the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. We just had the first of these as well, and are off to a good start.

I believe that informing and engaging our employees makes our organization work better.

What do you think?


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