June 20, 2018

Three key competencies forecast success for OR leaders

By: Elizabeth Wood
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Employee engagement is a buzzword that often crops up in articles, webinars, and conferences. OR leaders may be tired of seeing it, but engagement is crucial for success in an environment of fast-paced change, leadership turnover, and increasing demands for better performance. In healthcare, research has linked engagement with greater patient safety, staff retention, and satisfaction.

Craig Daeo, MHA

To see how engagement will drive the future success of your organization, plan to attend the 2018 OR Manager Conference and listen to Craig Daeo, MHA, managing director of Huron and senior leader and national speaker for the Studer Group. Deao will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday, September 18: “Perioperative Leadership 2023: Own Your Future or Be Disrupted By It.”

Deao not only is a dynamic and inspirational speaker, he is also the author of The E-Factor: How Engaged Patients, Clinicians, Leaders, and Employees Will Transform Healthcare—a book that reflects his expertise in helping to prepare healthcare leaders for the changes they can expect over the next few years.

“We believe the future of healthcare requires patient engagement; patients must be active participants in their health and wellness,” Deao told OR Manager. “We can’t engage our patients directly, but we can facilitate that by engaging our staff and our physicians,” he says.

As Deao sees it, engagement is one of three key competencies required for excellent OR leadership. The other two are performance improvement and innovation.

What’s the difference between the two?

Much of performance improvement involves identifying and implementing best practices, notably reducing unwarranted variation, Deao says. “Our current approach to setting goals from a performance improvement lens is very black and white; the focus is on the absolutes, such as zero harm and 100% adherence to practice.”

Innovation, which means discovering different things, is hard because it requires intelligent risk taking, he explains.

“Innovation requires you to fail nine times before you get it right on the tenth. How do you set goals that both expect no deviation from best practices but also foster innovation so people are comfortable taking some safe risks?” he asks.

That’s the tricky part about innovation. But if you can encourage that in your staff, he says, they will learn to approach problem-solving with creativity and intention—in other words, they will be engaged and motivated to make improvements.

Rapid, massive change characterizes today’s healthcare environment. “What’s happening in healthcare has happened in other industries,” Deao says. “We try to improve our existing products and services in such a way that they’re optimized mostly for us. We miss what the customer really wants.”

Today’s OR leaders, he says, must foster a more customer-focused approach to increase patient satisfaction. One example of an organization that has done this very successfully is the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, Deao says. “It’s focused on the patient, it has integrated technology well, and it has good alignment with physicians and patients alike,” he says.

Tomorrow’s OR leaders must prepare their teams by building capacity, he adds. “Many leaders have misinterpreted their role as doing the job for their team,” Deao says. “You want to build capacity so they can take over your job in the future. If you supervise a team of 10, your job isn’t to be the eleventh employee; it’s to allow those 10 to drive the output of 12. That capacity building engages them because they’re able to implement their own ideas.”

For more information, visit www.ormanagerconference.com. ✥

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