It Is All About Relationships

I was reminded leadership is all about relationships when I compared notes with a colleague regarding an assignment we both had completed for a management class at the Physician Executive MBA Program, University of Tennessee.

We had been conducting laddering interviews as part of  a process to determine a customer’s value hierarchy. The intent of the process is to determine and then satisfy a customer’s core values and goals with your services and marketing. The basic drill is to start out asking the customer what attributes or qualities are important when using the product or service.  The attributes most important to the customer are then explored with a series of questions asking why the attribute is important and then what is the importance of the resulting answer. This process continues until one arrives at the core values.

I was interviewing primary care clinicians as part of an electronic health record implementation.  My colleague was interviewing patients as part of medical practice redesign.  Though we were investigating separate services and our customers represented different roles in the medical care system, the value of the provider-patient relationship was a prominent common feature in the all value hierarchies.

As physicians and leaders, anything we can do to improve the quality of the relationship between doctors and patients will lead to more satisfied providers and more satisfied patients.  More satisfied clinicians and patients should result in better health care outcomes.

Yes, it is all about relationships.

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