“A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time” is the way corporate culture is most often defined. One thing is true, whether you formally define your culture or not, a corporate culture exists in your practice.
In a recent conversation about conflict resolution in a healthcare practice, it was noted that confronting the person creating the problem “is not our culture”. This statement indicated (whether you agree with it or not) a real understanding of the practice culture. Culture is how a practice acts/reacts in any given situation.
There are written and unwritten laws that make up a practice culture. Do you know without a doubt the culture of your healthcare practice? Do you know how your staff will respond to patient issues? That is determined by culture. Do you know how your billing office responds to patient calls and questions? It’s about your culture.
Whether formally written in a mission statement or informally “taught” by example of practice leaders, most people will follow the culture your practice has defined. Are you now saying to yourself, “not sure that’s true?” Simply listen to the people in the office. What is the conversation? How is the message delivered? What you are hearing both in content and delivery is culture. To the extent you have cultivated culture or simply allowed unintentional culture to develop; culture does exists.
Practice culture should be thought through and developed to ensure continuity of values of leadership throughout the practice. What is your ideal culture? Do you have it? How can you get there?
Start with basics.
Write a mission statement that will incorporate what your practice core values and goals are. Doesn’t have to be long, doesn’t have to be profound…….it does have to be realistic and attainable. A mission statement is more than a slogan, less than a strategic plan; but should incorporate both ideals and commitment.
Live the mission statement. How you put that mission statement to work in your practice, how you incorporate both the ideals and values into every interaction, every transaction, every encounter defines your culture.
Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be complicated, but like any change-management project requires leadership, consistency and tenacity.