"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Listening to Facilitate Change

I just read an excerpt from Margaret Wheatly's book, "Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope for the Future."  In it, she describes the need for our willingness to be disturbed.  She writes that we need to have our beliefs and ideas challenged by what others think.  We also have to be able to admit what we don't know although we have never been trained to do so.  Most of us have been trained to state our opinion as if it were true.  To this point, we felt that we haven't had the time or the interest to listen to those who think differently.  Unfortunately, our worlds have become exceedingly complex and it is sometimes very challenging to understand its complexity.  In this day and age, we have to listen to others and listen to what they have to say.   As you enter into a conversation, try to listen for what's new.   Usually, we listen for differences because we don't want to change.  We like our comfort zone; if we have to change, that requires energy.

In order to be successful today, we have to move beyond our comfort zone into what Ms. Wheatly calls that "very uncomfortable place of uncertainty." She continues, "of course it's scary to give up what we know, (but) great ideas and inventions miraculously appear in the space of not knowing."

As health care changes and reform continues to evolve, the last thing that we want to do is to keep struggling through it; we need to listen to what is changing and adapt to how such change can benefit our patients, our physicians and each other.

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