Most of us understand the value of having a trusted brand. If we meet — or better yet exceed — customer expectations on a consistent basis, we are rewarded with loyalty, respect and trust. And with customers willing to pay for our premium brand value, we also enjoy a healthier bottom line. Most of us also understand it’s not quite that simple.
We frequently are told that when a child, parent or grandparent enters our children’s hospital, the feeling of hope and calm competence is immediately palpable. Our physical environment is beautiful, bright and colorful, but it’s our people who deliver the experience.
They are driven by their passion for saving children’s lives, demonstrated every day by the valet helping them from their cars to the neurosurgeon compassionately explaining the results of a complex procedure to a volunteer bringing a fluffy miniature Sheltie for a bedside visit.
The unique environment of a children’s hospital, where we are helping families overcome the most frightening and stressful times in their lives, calls for intentional behaviors in order to build trust.
The experience we provide starts with leadership behaviors, driven by values that any business can embrace to build loyalty, respect and trust.
Relationships, not transactions
We have plenty of metrics at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, including quality and outcomes data, and financial performance.
However, in our organization — as in yours — values trump metrics in creating trust and loyalty, and values cannot be demonstrated in one-time transactions. Strive for lasting relationships, and you will persuade your stakeholders that you value what they value and want to earn an important place in their lives.
Conviction, not compliance
In the highly regulated health care industry, we comply with a dizzying array of federal and state standards. Yet, we don’t stop with what’s required. We do what’s right for the life of a child.
Others may view these services as non-critical, but we know these are absolutely essential and an important investment.
You and your team should operate with a mindset that seeks to help the customer and solve whatever problems he or she may be experiencing. Focus on the customer’s unique needs, rather than a checklist that does not allow for customized service.
Purpose, not profit
You’ve heard the phrase, “no margin, no mission,” which is true; even a non-profit children’s hospital must remain financially stable. Our mission and vision, however, are what sustain us, especially through challenging periods.
The greater purpose of saving children’s lives and allowing them to reach their greatest potential drives us to improve and grow for future generations.
The concepts I’ve described are not episodic, quick fixes. They are values which need to be demonstrated every day through intentional behaviors. Not everyone is in the business of saving children’s lives, but every leader, in every business, can be held accountable.
I challenge you to ask yourself: Am I operating in these ways as a leader? If you are, you will drive culture, engage your employees and thrill your customers. ●