Chamberlin demonstrated the power of living a life of purpose. Discovering your
life’s purpose stimulates volition, urging you to perform at a higher level.
Performance rather than success should be the goal because success is subjective
while performance is objective. When you find this purpose, you also gain the desire
to live with sincerity and pursue life goals and objectives that make a difference in
your life and the lives of the others. High-performing organizations know their
fundamental purpose, their mission, and pursue it with a great sense of urgency.
The same adage is true for high performing individuals, such as influential leaders. A
clear life purpose enables you to choose the most effective response for any
situation without making compromises that will derail your performance.
John Kenagy, M.D., is a physician, former visiting scholar at Harvard Business School
and author of Designed to Adapt: Leading Healthcare in Challenging Times. Kenagy
identifies the keys to leadership success in getting people to act their way to a new
way of thinking in the framework we have discussed in this newsletter:
1. Set a clear, simple and meaningful direction – the vision and compelling “why.”
2. Develop and empower people; it is your people, not technology and process that
make the real difference to performance.
3. Build trust and optimism through positive results in problem solving the needs of
4. Solve those problems as real-time experience, close to the work, not in meetings.
5. Grow by repeating your success and relentlessly challenging the status quo.
The results are always positive. For example, in one year, staff on a Midwestern
hospital medical-surgical nursing unit changed their behavior to generate the
greatest increase in patient satisfaction in a 17-hospital system, while
simultaneously increasing productivity 14 percent, decreasing length of stay 8
percent, and generating $1.7 million in new revenue and savings.
Changing behaviors is a lot harder than most realize, even if not doing so means lost
business, bankruptcy, the demise of a company, or harming patients. Focusing on
the aspect of belief and behavior over technology and process is working for leaders
and their organizations that are adopting this methodology and proving it in their
performance. Dr. Deming may have said it best this way summing up with an
urgency imperative, “You do not have to change. You do not have to survive either.”