Why Relationships Should Be Part of Your Workplace Resolutions
The start of a year, for me and many other healthcare leaders I know, is a time to reflect on all that’s happened over the last 12 months and begin setting plans for the future. It’s a practice that helps build clarity and purpose and, more often than not, provides me with an invigorated sense of direction for the year to come.
This month, as I thought back on a COVID-laden 2021 (and 2020), I was struck with the notion that too many of us in healthcare have been working jobs over the last two years, rather than building careers. And when it comes down to it, the reason revolves around relationships.
The Difference Between a Job and a Career
A job, in simple terms, deals with the fulfillment of tasks. If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced more cold encounters over the last two years via email, video and phone calls than you can count. You’ve checked the boxes, filled the slots in your calendar and moved deliverables forward, all in the spirit of getting the job done.
What’s been missing, though, is the collaboration and meaningful relationships that signify a career. A career is not the number of patients we see in a day, the number of offices opened, clients serviced, partners added, titles gained or earnings. It is the relationships we nurture over time as we strive towards a common goal.
Aren’t the best times when we can share stories with colleagues that begin with, “Remember the time we…?” I can’t remember too many examples of, “Remember when we had a Zoom call and we…?” Maybe you can.
Relationships give purpose and energy to our work like nothing else I’ve discovered. Learning about a client’s family and hobbies, staying late after a meeting to catch up with a colleague you haven’t seen in a while, meeting a new team member in person and making them feel truly welcome, or lending an ear to a partner who just needs someone to talk to in confidence. To me, these genuine interactions – when a client, partner or colleague becomes a friend – are what create a career and drive ideas and businesses forward.
Embracing Relationships in the New Year
As we kick off a fresh new year, I challenge you to commit yourself to building relationships and a career, rather than just fulfilling tasks in your job. It won’t always be easy, especially as COVID continues and workplace distractions arise, but it all starts with your intentions and can progress in small steps from there. Remind yourself, even on the busy days, the importance of investing time, energy and genuine interest in those around you.
And if you need a more tangible reminder, try setting a time on your calendar every day, week, or month with a suggestion on how to cross the barrier from “interaction” to “friendship” with someone in your network. Maybe it is a longer time slot for a certain patient every week, a meeting time that allows for carry-over, or a trip to the office instead of a phone call.
Then, at the end of each month or quarter, take stock of your relationships and your efforts:
- Did you make friends of clients, partners or colleagues?
- Were you happy with the amount of face-to-face meetings and interactions you had?
- Did you rely on video meetings or calls too much?
- Were there things you could’ve done better to break free from the “task” mentality?
Your honest answers to these questions can help guide the rest of your year and, hopefully, lead you towards invaluable relationships that are the hallmark of a successful career.
Thomas J. Ferkovic, R, PH, MS, is CEO of Medic Management Group. His background includes extensive work in areas including business and clinical advisory; revenue cycle management, transaction support, crisis management / turn around execution, and practice management. MMG is a national provider of consulting services and back office administrative support to independent and system owned physician practice groups. Additionally, MMG has been formally recognized as a multi-year Northeast Ohio Top Workplaces award winner.