By William Seidman Many hospital leaders are highly adept at effective administration. Still, the challenges of leading cultural change in order to meet patient satisfaction are usually outside their skill set. Few are experienced at leading a significant cultural shift, and fewer still are aware of the emerging science of cultural change. Several breakthroughs in the understanding of organizational and individual learning have revolutionized leaders’ ability to change organizational culture. The result has been a simple change methodology based on what we call the Four Positives (Positive Deviance, Positive Images, Positive Practice, and Positive Reflection), and it’s been used successfully in hospital emergency departments as well as many other industries. Positive deviance begins by defining a clear image of the desired attitudes and behaviors that are critical to cultural change. The positive deviants within a hospital are those few people who best exemplify a patient-centric culture. They have the expertise needed to define the purpose of patient satisfaction and the operational excellence required to achieve the desired outcome. Motivating people to adopt the positive deviant attitudes and behaviors is the next step in changing a culture. The neuroscience of positive images shows that people working in groups who read and discuss the positive deviants’ compelling purpose and path to mastery release neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters promote increased openness to new ideas and speed learning of new attitudes and behaviors. Positive practice involves performing a function with conscious effort to do so as defined by the positive deviants. A person practices every function of the job frequently and in the correct way, each time it is performed. Cultures change one person at a time, and the most important driver of this type of change is personal reflection. The neuroscience of learning shows that positive reflection about performing a function is as important as trying the new attitudes and behaviors. The positive practice produces rich experiences that can be a great source of reflection about the new culture. Rate-the-doctor social media and the Medicare pay-for-performance policy will significantly impact hospitals for the foreseeable future. The Four Positives can transform hospital cultures quickly and effectively, and improve patient satisfaction.    ]]>

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