Come back with me to November 22, 1995. I'm standing next to the bedside of one of the most beloved people in my life... my brother Michael, and he's dying.
It's painful to watch him wasting away. The sense of helplessness is profound. And yet he is surrounded by this wonderful group of people in this hospice facility who are making the experience of death one of dignity and grace instead of fear and despair.
On that day in 1995, I had been a Hospice Administrator for over 10 years. I could tell you the rules and regulations, the staffing patterns, and the budget. Hospice was in my head. It was my job.
But on that day... that day in 1995, standing next to my brothers bed, hospice came into my heart. And I have never been the same.
In my three decades of working in hospice, all across the U.S., I've discovered there are certain things that separate good hospices from great hospices. And it usually doesn't have...
Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you go to work each day? It is simply for the paychex? Or the insurance? Or is it because you too want to make a difference in the world? And I would ask you... are you making a difference? What is it that you are doing each day to ease suffering and empower others.
Let's talk about empowering others. It comes in all sorts of ways. As part of my consulting work, i facilitate workshops and retreats, and I love this kind of work because it allows me to see people with appreciative eyes. When we talk about our superpowers, we are not talking about x-ray vision, or leaping tall buildings, but rather the special strengths we bring to our teams. The qualities of character or personality we bring to our teams are often characterized are often shrug off as "it's just who we are".
At a recent workshop with a senior team, I asked them what they liked best about their job. One of...
Mission, Purpose and Passion.
The last of these is PASSION. So if you Mission is your overarching architecture of the building, and the purpose is what you are doing inside that building, then PASSION is the electricity that runs it.
Mission and Purpose without PASSION is like having the logs in the fireplace and not having a match to get it started.
PASSION is the energy that's needed to move your Mission forward, because when all three are present, and they are all in alignment ... it really is magic.
Work becomes easy, obstacles melt away, challenges become opportunities, and work is something you do because it is your life, not because it is your job.
When I was working at the Health Services, I thought being a clinical nurse practitioner would be terrific. My personal Mission of serving those in need was present, my Purpose of improving the health of those in served was being met, but I didn't have any PASSION. There was no spark to ignite...
Clip from Patti Moore's interview with Gretchenn Brown
Patti: You've been at the top of your game for nearly 30 years.
Well again, I think it's the culture. You have to build a culture where it matters, and where you are embarrassed or humiliated by having a bad review.
You know what I always say... "there are no do-overs in hospice". If you get it wrong, people talk about service recovery, but we have a service that can't be recovered. And so trying to impress that urgency upon folks.
And it doesn't mean that, you can't be in this big with that many staff, that you don't have disappointments. But to me they are heartbreaking... and I want them to be heartbreaking for the team and the site leader and not just for me, and I think that they are what connects with...
The recent 50th anniversary of the founding of the modern hospice movement by Dame Cicely Saunders made me think about my own journey in hospice, and how it began.
Back in 1977 I attended a lecture by Dr Elizabeth Kubler Ross., who had come to Orlando to talk about her groundbreaking work. I was tremendously inspired by what I heard, and determined to become a part of the hospice movement. In 1983 I got my chance, becoming Executive Director of a tiny hospital-based hospice in Gainesville, Florida.
Our office was a remodeled elevator shaft, a windowless space with walls that were 2 feet thick. When I started, we had three staff members (two of whom were part time), fifteen volunteers, and five patients. We didn’t charge fees; it was a free service offered by our community hospital, Alachua General. It came about through a coalition of the communities, ministers, physicians, volunteers, hospital auxiliary ladies, and the CEO of the hospital who agreed to sponsor it. Our...
I had the privilege of starting working in hospice in the early days, the early '80's. It wasn't so much about death, it was about living. It was about giving people permission to make their own choices about care. It was helping families take care of their loved ones. It was about empowering people to live a full life until the end of their life, and it was such a privilege to be part of the beginnings of that. My whole life has been a real privilege because of that work.
I got to a point where I thought our brand of leadership, or engagement, of service, could be taken to other places. So I took the leap of starting The Watershed Group. We help companies in a number of ways.
We also do Talent Management using the ...