How Effective Is Your Senior Leader Rounding?

By Quint Studer

Posted March 07, 2012


Total run time: 28 minutes

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Senior leader rounding is one of the most powerful tactics we see in our work with organizations across the country. It re-engages and reassures staff members. It helps people "connect the dots" on why we make the decisions we make. It lets us reward and recognize departments and individuals who are getting it right. It helps us with physician integration.

First, though, we have to make sure we're doing it right. Visibility is not what senior leader rounding is all about. Effective visibility is what it's all about. It's about making better use of the most finite resource: time.

Senior leaders are some of the busiest people in the world. We're at least as busy as everyone else in healthcare (and that's pretty busy!) That's why we need to be highly strategic about our rounding. We need to really make the best possible use of our own time and everyone else's.

We at Studer Group think this tactic is so important that we have zeroed in on it to kick off our new Outcome Driven Communication Series. Here are a few things we've discovered about senior leader rounding:

It's critical to role model rounding—and it starts at the top. CEOs need to round on senior leaders the same way they want their leaders to round on their direct reports. They need to follow the same set of actions and ask the same strategic questions. (Yes, this means starting with care and concern—Vice Presidents need love, too!) How the CEO rounds is how the VPs will round is how the supervisors will round. It cascades.

Senior leader rounding is a collaborative effort. If you're a senior leader, go prepared. Before you round on a department, get a scouting report from the department manager. For one thing, this keeps senior leaders from getting blindsided by upset employees or unexpected situations. (I've seen this happen and it's a painful experience. Senior leader rounding should be a lot more fun than, say, having a colonoscopy!) It also helps them know in advance what issues need discussing, which staff members need recognizing, and so forth.

Don't just recognize. Look for good ideas to harvest. If Dr. Moore is doing a good job with electronic medical records, senior leader rounding is a good time to recognize his success. But don't stop there: also ask him "What are you doing that works so well? What can we as an organization do to get other physicians to see the advantage of this?"

Create stoplight reports based on what you learn. This lets people see that you hear the things they're saying and that action is being taken.

We live in a busy time. We all have a lot to do. But I find that when it's done effectively, senior rounding helps us save time and improves the organization.

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