The Joy of ... Work

Sure, there was a book of similar name which was popular in the seventies, but work with me here!

Today I got to attend another Change Day Australia event, and we got to workshop the topic of 'supercharging change in the healthcare setting'.

It was, as usual, another inspiring day.

It was inspiring for me on a whole other level, because it allowed me to reflect on the underlying methodology of the 'Below Ten Thousand' team as we wove the 'Below Ten Thousand' concept into our operating theatre culture.

In the end, it seems our BTT ethos finished up approximating a self-subscribed framework for clinician-led change mechanics.

The process we undertook was very strategic:

Our first guiding principle was 'empowerment always'.

If what we do seeks to offend rather than empower anyone, it's obviously misguided, and we don't do it.

The second principle was 'transparency'.

In order to be successful, we can't be secretive or subversive about what we are doing.

We make it abundantly clear what we are about, so anyone is welcome to collaborate with us.

Students? Nurses? Doctors? Technicians? Porters? Managers? Hey! They're all invited!

Different perspectives add strength to our argument.

With the principles of good design firmly in mind, we know we have our best effort, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away!

Our only other principle is 'to be true to our goal'.

In other words, we play the ball, not the person.

That way we are always working towards the correct expression of the idea, and not getting sidetracked by petty politics.

So: To the triangle!

We went to a lot of trouble over a long period of time to establish a capital of trust in our colleagues.

This capital of trust forms the basis for all future action.

Without it, we could not possibly have achieved a strong and enduring culture of success.

We used strategic collaboration to create a shared narrative, banking on our colleagues' prior exposure to our 'style' of accepting and integrating feedback into all of our previous constructual endeavours.

Once we had our model pretty much nailed down, we went through an engagement process.

Engagement was derived through generating excitement towards the content.

We also focused on creating and reinforcing a strong link between the idea, the vision and the action.

It took a lot of work and a lot of creativity on our part, but in the end we realised that our education strategy was not so much about traditional knowledge transfer as we currently know it, but about the in-house marketing of an idea.

Capturing cognitive bandwidth in a congested information marketplace was the thing of most value to us.

Luckily the concept was so simple that once we had captured attention, the idea sold itself in less than 5 minutes.

Finally, we get to the apex of the triangle.

The Joy of Work?

What's that all about?

For us it was Empowerment through Accountability!

Everyone I work with contributes pretty much 100% to the execution of their duty each and every day.

However, in the grind, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that what we do is AWESOME!

If we CAN'T get excited about taking a person to the very edge of their existence and back again, then what can we get excited about??!!

However, there are always improvements we can make to clear obstacles from our path and deliver better clinical outcomes or process flows, and it is our job as high performance team members to identify those opportunities for improvement, and hold ourselves accountable to acting upon them.

So in the end, in order to effect our change:

we trust in the process we have created,

engineer engagement through excitement in the idea

and finally find joy in the execution of the newly derived outcome.

Smarter. Better. Safer.

So simple you'd be excused for thinking I was joking!


We are ALL, each one of us, awesome!

And there should be some JOY in that!


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