We know that changing behavior is a difficult and elusive problem. When we’re talking about changing workplace culture, individual and organizational behaviors must both be addressed. There may be broken trust that is very hard to repair and informal power dynamics that are invisible or at least hard to see. It is like trying to put a spider web back together after a hurricane!
Leaders must be able to identify and stop disruptive behaviors while repairing trust, breaking down old and often toxic power structures, and setting clear expectations for new ways of being. And then they must provide opportunities and support for practice, ensure no double standards, allow for learning curves, and discipline for those who are unwilling or unable to adapt to healthy expectations.
- Risking new behavior requires communication skills, trust, time, practice, guidance, and receptivity.
- Individuals must be willing to speak up and take on power with ownership and accountability.
- Leaders must be willing to listen respectfully and share power with subordinates.
And because healthcare is a complex adaptive system made up of humans, the interactions and relationships involved are of the utmost importance. This is why the teaching strategies of improv are so profoundly important to us in healthcare and why organizations like the Cleveland Clinic are utilizing them. In fact, you can not participate in an improv activity without developing your own listening and speaking up skills and promoting positive relationships!These three medline posts delve deeper into the experiential teaching method of Medical Improv! Click To Tweet
And the research is coming in too!
I’ve been teaching and writing about communication for over a decade and utilizing improv strategies whenever possible. Because it is so effective! Cleveland Clinic‘s leap into this new territory is a “Call to Action” for us to make some of the fundamental activities more available to nurse, admin, and physician leaders everywhere so they can bring training into staff meetings, strategic planning sessions, clinical inservices, orientation processes, and management meetings.
That is what the crowdsource funding project, “Improvoscopy: Serious Play for Safe Care is all about. Please help fund this important and innovative idea today.
If we do this, bit by bit, the new skills and behaviors will ripple out into our cultures everywhere. Care will be safer, work will be safer, cultures will be safer, more just, healthier!
Beth Boynton, RN, MS, author Successful Nurse Communication: Safe Care, Healthy Workplaces, & Rewarding Careers and Confident Voices: The Nurses’ Guide to Improving Communication & Creating Positive Workplaces.