4 ways healthcare leaders can improve communication

Effective communication is no easy feat, but it's more important than ever for healthcare leaders to clearly chart a way forward for their organizations as there is so much uncertainty and resistance in the industry, according to Hospital & Health Networks Daily.

To do this, the article states, leaders must concentrate on their vision and strategy. A useful vision statement must explain how the healthcare organization will be different, and a successful strategy actually involves the articulation of "five to seven high-level driving strategies" that identify the most important steps the organization must take to realize the vision, according to the article.

The key to presenting both a successful vision and strategy, however, is to communicate with specificity. While strong vision statements and strategies can sometimes stand on their own, most can also benefit from added explanations that clearly define the organization's plan, the article states. To that end, here's some of H&HN's tips for leaders who want to communicate with clarity:

Avoid slogans and tired language. The word "transformative," in particular, has turned into a "throwaway cliché," according to the article, and words such as "excellent" mean little because they describe the undefinable. Similarly, slogans--described as single-sentence statements that lack specificity--"belong in your ad campaign, not your strategic plan," the article states.

Set the bar high. One way to force people to rethink the way they handle procedures is to introduce "stretch specifications," or seemingly impossible tasks, such as slashing wait times or cutting prices in half, according to H&HN. This aligns with advice from Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center COO Lynn McVey, who urges her peers to "disrupt" their organizations.

Be original. The near uniformity of healthcare organizations' vision statements, many of which emphasize popular topics such as population health and the transition from volume to value, indicates many leaders don't think for themselves, the article argues. Thus, it's imperative for leaders to go beyond the common talking points and remember the organization pays them to think and talk differently.

Don't settle for mere inspiration. While inspiring words can help cultivate commitment among staff, leaders must primarily provide clarity. Furthermore, some infamous political leaders throughout history have illustrated that "charismatic leadership is usually a poor and often a dangerous substitute for clear leadership," H&HN states.

To learn more:
- read the article