Culture begins at the top

Dr Levy, Chair of Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards had this to say, “Two-thirds of our complaints are about staff attitudes and bad communication. We need to be kind and considerate to all of our patients, even if we are very busy, but the reality is that it doesn’t happen all the time,” he says. “The majority of our staff aren’t like that, but there are some that do make problems.”

Okay its a good start. He understands where some of the problems are. He understands the need to consider the customer. But Dr Levy needs to be aware that culture begins at the top of the organisation. If the culture is one where staff treat customers like rubbish, then those staff are following the example of their managers – who in the past probably treated them the same way.

Conversely, if these two hospitals are to improve, not only by meeting national productivity targets but also by improving the customer experience, then the change to a new and better culture needs to be lead by the CEO’s and senior executives. Are they they same executives that were there in the past? Are they able to behave differently, in a consistent manner? If so the culture will change. If not, nothing will change.

Dr Levy talks about staff being spoken to about how they treat people. He says some staff chose to leave. Did he have the same conversation with the senior executives? Have some of them chosen to leave?

Those are my thoughts for the day

Let The Journey Continue
John Coxon


About John Coxon

Principal consultant for John Coxon & Associates, a management consultancy working with boards and management teams in healthcare, aged care and not for profit organisations to develop effective strategic planning processes and social enterprise business plans
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