19. Complain. Listen. Improve.

We (as in people) love to complain.

Hospitals spend a lot of money in order to give patients a platform to voice their complaints about recent experiences.

But often, if a patient does have a complaint, a hospital only finds out weeks later and the organization has little opportunity to rectify any issues.

our own system will employ a surefire method to overcome the delay in response: listening.  As annoying as constant complaining can become, the behavior is a great opportunity for organizational improvement.

Listening allows an organization to improve an experience now.  Increasingly, the now part of that last sentence is gaining in importance.

Employee complaints are important too.  Sometimes it is cathartic.  But it is also an opportunity for our own system to improve itself.  Listen on the employee shuttle.  Listen in the break room.  Listen in the cafeteria.  Listen in the hallways.  Listen in any area where employees mingle with fellow employees.  These interactions can provide insight on how to make our organization better.

The web provides an opportunity to listen to complaints as well: is a patient twittering?  Can we find any complaints through a blog search?  We can utilize our hospital’s social network to collect complaints.

The opportunities are there.  The complaints are many. We just have to listen.

Principle #19: Listen.  Listen.  Listen.  It really is that easy.  If you’ve worked anywhere under the executive level you know that people complain.  And instead of complaining about complainers, our own system encourages the complaints by providing an easy and safe forum for collecting them.  Wondering how to improve your organization?  Stop thinking.  Start listening.

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