Aligning Forces for Quality

Five Things to Help You Think Differently: Issue 12

Posted: Jun 26, 2014

In an effort to help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in communication, technology, and our dynamic world, we wanted to share some resources to help you think differently about the way your organization is communicating, sharing, and inspiring its constituents.

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the Aligning Forces for Quality National Meeting, which brought together 16 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantees and consumer representatives to explore the ever-changing field of healthcare and prepare for future trends.

During the three days, I attended multiple workshops and breakout sessions that were valuable not just for the world of healthcare, but for collaboratives, nonprofits, and communications organizations as well. Here were my top five takeaways:

1. “If your next project is not aligned with the problems, needs, and desires of the future, the future will kill it.” —Thomas Frey, DaVinci Institute

Thomas Frey opened the conference with a look at what the future holds—from driveless cars that could eliminate more than 31,000 deaths a year to physicals via smartphones to kidneys generated from a printer. As Frey reminded us, the future will happen with or without you agreeing to participate.

2. “An effective story is personal, compelling, and memorable.” 
—Michael Manganiello, HCM Strategists

Healthcare exists because of the patient, the consumer. Like any field, listening to consumer voices is crucial for catalyzing change and helping products grow to meet public needs. As I reflected on my journey through the healthcare system, I began to feel empowered to take action in improving the quality of healthcare. This was only amplified when I heard the stories of other patients. Nothing is more powerful than listening to someone share a life-changing experience.

3. “Social media is not separate. It should be amplifying the strategic goals of your organization.” —John Kenyon, John Kenyon Consulting

Social media isn’t just for posting pictures of babies (or in my case, dogs). It is an important tool to extend the digital reach of your organization. My favorite realization? Social media cannot live on its own—it must be part of your overarching strategy, emphasizing what you do and why it matters.

4. “Wherever the conversation’s happening, that’s where you’ve gotta go.” —Travis Bailey, Dell

During the conference, I heard many stories about patients feeling misunderstood, unheard, or unappreciated. And, even when talking about health related matters, unsatisfied consumers will often speak out—and now they do so on a variety of platforms. Organizations need to grow thick skin and listen with an open-mind to what people are saying. As Bailey said, “If your company sees a complaint as something annoying or to be ignored, you may as well go out of business.”

5. “No single organization can solve a complex problem working alone.” —Cheryl Moder, San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative

Nonprofits often assume a competitive mindset when applying for funding for issues in which many other organizations are working. Cheryl discussed the concept of “collabetition” and challenged people to imagine – what happens if we stop seeing each other as competitors and start seeing each other as collaborators. How do you achieve success on an issue? According to Monique Miller of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions, “Start with a coalition of the willing.”