Six Ways to Sharpen Communications for Healthcare Leaders

Six Ways to Sharpen Communications for Healthcare LeadersWith the changes that have been taking hold in healthcare and that will continue, leaders in healthcare organizations face a major challenge. Success going forward will mean that companies, institutions, clinics, practice offices, and others will need to clearly communicate with patients, staff, other providers, business partners, insurance companies, and regulators.

Without communication, there is no leadership, and without strong leadership, there will be no success in this brave new world of healthcare. As the site Hospitals & Health Networks Daily noted, there is a necessary progression for leadership:

  1. Leaders decide where their organizations need to go.
  2. The leaders express the destination as a vision, “a picture painted with words that describe an organization’s aspirations realized.”
  3. Fulfilling the vision will require overcoming uncertainty and resistance.
  4. Strategy is the plan to get past the uncertainty and resistance.
  5. Without strong communication, leaders can fail, either in communicating the vision or the strategy, meaning they may not be able to overcome the obstacles.

Calling for strong communications is understandable, but that alone is too vague – itself an example of poor communications. Fear not though, there are practical steps healthcare leaders can take to improve the quality of their communications. Here are six ways to improve your communications.

Strong language

The more clearly and succinctly you say something, the more powerfully you communicate. Avoid clichés, slogans and buzzwords because they come to mean nothing and put people to sleep.

Be clear and specific

When explaining your vision, be clear on exactly what it is and what that means for the organization and the individuals who work there. Use only as many words as necessary to get across precisely what you mean.

Never trade clarity for inspiration

You don’t need for people to display waves of emotion at your words. You needn’t be charismatic. Focus on the mission so that people will understand and take part in it.

Don’t over-specify

It is possible, although unusual, to be so specific that people fall into a funk. Nothing will go exactly as you think it might or wish it would, so leave enough room when communicating your ideas so that people can react as necessary to changing conditions.

Note what is non-negotiable

Find the core principles and be sure people understand their importance. They will help you create systems to support those principles.

Stretch specifications and goals can improve innovation

When trying to move beyond what the organization has done before, use “stretch specifications,” which are goals or definitions that seem impossible. They can help people realize that business as usual is no longer going to work and that they need new approaches.


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