Thinking Thursdays TIPs : What, How, Why . . . Start With Why

Share this Article

If you were to ask one of your employees — anyone, just pick someone at random — “what is it that we do here at [fill in your organization’s name]?” Then, after they answer, ask them, “how do we do what we do?” And then finally, ask them, “why do we do what we do?”

Their answers will reveal a lot about their perspective and more importantly, insights into their beliefs and motivations. When they ask you, “why are you asking me these questions,” just hang in there and don’t answer, at least not just yet.

Now, ask the same employee, “as part of your work here, what do you do?” Chances are they’ll be able to describe for you in some level of detail exactly what it is that they do, including their job duties, tasks, daily routines — pretty much everything that makes up their role within the organization.

Go one step further and ask them how they do what they do, and again, they will without a doubt be able to take you through the ins and outs of how they go about accomplishing their job duties.

Now, ask them why they do what they do, and listen carefully to their response. Some will answer the why question with, “because it’s my job,” while others will say, “because my boss instructed me to,” and some may even say, “because it’s my responsibility.” Some will say, “it’s what I’m paid to do.”

The real why in every physician practice organization is the patient! Straight forward and simple — it’s all about the patient.

If you read Simon Sinek’s book, “START WITH WHY: How Great Leaders Inspire everyone to Take Action”, you know where I’m going with this. It’s the real why that motivates us to excel at what we do and how we do it. The real why is found in the mission of the organization. As worn out as mission statements may seem to some people, they are still the foundation of the organization’s core values and points to the real why — why we do what we do, and how we do it. However, the power in the real why only happens when we, as individuals, genuinely believe in, and personally own the real why.

If you have not read “START WITH WHY”, no worries, take a few minutes to watch as Simon Sinek explains the power of WHY.

WARNING: The video is 17:49 minutes in length, but it’s worth it! I challenge you to at least watch it through 4:40.

Start with Why

Ok, I’m trusting that you clicked the image above and watched as Simon brought to life the Golden Circle of What, How, Why.

As the leader of your organization, imagine if every member of your team owned the real why of the organization, and applied that passion to their role and responsibilities. Imagine if all of us started with the real why at the center of everything we do, on and off the job.

If you are still reading this issue of Thursdays Thinking TIPs, this far down into the article, here are some mission statement excerpts that will sound familiar:

  • We are committed to delivering healthcare as it should be: patient-centered and for the good of all people …
  • Rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus as healer, we commit ourselves to serving all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable.
  • To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.
  • Patients and patient care are our priority. We strive to deliver the highest possible quality of care to our patients. Wholeness – in body, mind and spirit – is basic to fulfillment of human potential. [our organization’s] people work with others to enhance wholeness for all those we serve.
  • [Organization name] was founded on values supporting compassionate, personalized care that is focused on the unique needs of children and their families.

I always like to leave you with a practical TIP that you may find useful for your practice.

Today’s take away?

Login to M3-Patient Experience, click on “Reporting” > “Detailed Results” and export the results into an excel spreadsheet. After you have the data downloaded into excel, move over to column “K” , the patient comments column, then scroll down and find at least three employees that have favorably impressed a patient so much so that the patient mentioned the employee by name in their comments. Then, you know the next step, print off a hard copy of the M3 “Flash” report and write a short note expressing your gratitude to your team member. Thank the team members for putting the patient first, demonstrating compassion, and encountering patients in a way that there is no doubt that the team member is focused on the real why.

Please note: M3-Patient Experience, including the “Flash” report and “Detailed Results” will contain patient names and patient email addresses. Be sure to treat M3 downloads and displays so that all HIPAA rules and regulations are followed.


Please let us know if you have comments or questions, and subscribe to our Email Updates, so that you can be assured to receive Thinking Thursdays TIPs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *