Successful Strategies to Survive Crucial Conversations

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Cejka Search
March 16, 2020 07:48 AM (GMT-04:00)
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With the rapid pace of change in the healthcare industry today, executive leaders must be ready to pivot quickly. Strategic plans and operational standards must be adjusted to keep up with new regulations, market shifts and patient demands. Because the industry has to remain flexible, its leaders must possess the ability to unite their teams behind changing ideas. This can be a complicated task, especially when team members have strong personalities and deeply held beliefs.

For a healthcare organization to succeed in our current environment, it must be able to react and realign, while keeping its team committed to shared goals. To accomplish this, healthcare leaders need to manage crucial conversations in high pressure situations.

Preparing for Success

To set yourself up for a successful crucial conversation with your team, it is important to prepare beforehand. Acknowledge that the discussion will be emotional and there will likely be disagreements, then spend the time you need to be ready to handle the situation. To prepare for crucial conversations, it is helpful to:

1. Communicate a clear agenda and goals for the meeting.

Identify a timeline and explain in detail the reason for the meeting, the agenda for the discussion, the goals and the importance of the outcome. This will allow team members to enter the meeting on the same page and will keep the conversation moving forward.

2. Identify any pre-conceived notions or ideas that are already on the table.

It is best to be clear and transparent. Do not shy away from addressing tough topics, instead use those to help guide your team to better outcomes. Ensure that discussions around sensitive topics are factual, not personal. This will keep team members focused on the issue, rather than on each other.

3. Research different solutions and perspectives.

The best way to help your team through a complicated conversation is for you to understand all angles of the problem. You are better resource when you are educated, able to answer questions and prepared to tell the difference between facts and opinions.

4. Establish rules for conduct during the discussion.

Set the tone for the meeting and make it clear that all team members will be heard, that everyone will show respect and that everyone is working toward the same goal.

Leading a Crucial Conversation

Once the conversation is underway, keep the established goals in mind. You will need to remain secure in yourself and in the purpose behind the conversation in order to remain on track and in control. The best practices for leading during these conversations include:

1. Establish a tone of curiosity and education.

Remind the team that they came together is to accomplish a shared goal and that each can learn from one another. Setting a tone of teamwork and learning together will prevent anyone in the room from viewing each other as opponents, even if they are on opposite sides of an issue.

2. Provide acknowledgement.

Acknowledging that you heard what a team member shared is the best way to prevent tempers from flaring. Using phrases such as, “What I hear you saying is…” or “This sounds important to you. Would you like to share more?” demonstrates that you value the insight of your team member, but does not commit you to a course of action. It can also provide the opportunity for others in the room to ask questions and gain more information.

3. Identify the opportunities.

Before making a decision, review your information and your options. Make sure each team member understands the choices and the goals. Present the information in a clear, direct, unbiased manner to allow team members to come to their own conclusions without pressure.

4. Solve the problem.

In order to come to a decision, you must help your team members put personal feelings and attitudes aside. Remind them why they must make a decision and that they are all working to achieve the same outcome. Lead by example and be direct, concise and specific in sharing your conclusions; ask team members to do the same when sharing their decisions. Once the discussion has concluded, thank your team members for their participation and encourage them to leave the meeting as a united team with common goals.

How Crucial Conversations Help Your Workforce

While difficult, handling high-stakes situations effectively helps the organization move forward toward its goals as a cohesive team.

In order to succeed in these conversations, you must have access to top leadership talent in order to put the right executives in place. To learn more, connect with the experts on the Cejka Search executive team.

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