By Tina Peralta, MBA, BS, RT(R)(M)
One of the first words that we ever learn to say as toddlers is “no.” As humans, we tend to focus on all the things that we should not or cannot do, and as a result we limit ourselves to life’s possibilities.
We’ve all heard of the importance of keeping a positive attitude in every aspect of life. A positive attitude has exponential effects on individuals, teams, and organizations as a whole. Having a positive attitude in the workplace can improve both the patient experience and employee engagement. Our radiology team was asked to improve both of these, and rather than thinking of an elaborate, costly intervention that we could implement to achieve our goal, we took a simple approach. We eliminated the word “no” from our vocabulary for one month, deciding instead to take a positive journey down the “yes” road.
We embarked on what we called our “Yes” campaign. We took the recommendation from one of our CT technologists, Maggie, to “just say yes.” Rather than focusing on the long list of scheduled patients or the many tasks that we had on our to do list for the day, we decided to take the focus off of ourselves individually and focus on saying yes to helping others complete their tasks. Our goal was to improve teamwork and collaboration not only within our department, but with everyone we encountered. The team became creative and competitive in a positive way by challenging each other and holding each other accountable for saying “yes.”
The challenge was simple. Everyone was given a medallion that said “yes” (Figure 1). They would wear the medallion as part of their work attire for an entire month. Each team member started off with one medallion but had the potential of gaining more as days went by. The rules were as follows:
- As long as you were on the clock your medallion had to be on you and visible. If anyone was caught by a teammate not wearing the medallion, they had to give it up.
- If the word “no” or any derivative form/phrase/sentence (ie, “I can’t”) was used, you had to give up your medallion.
- If asked about the “yes” medallion, you had to explain it. And boy, did we have lots of explaining to do! We had hospital administrators asking why we had a “yes” medallion around our necks. It was also a good way to break the ice with our patients and talk about our campaign, because everyone took notice. It opened communication avenues for various teams within our own department as we fervently sought out those who forgot to wear their medallions.
We found ourselves saying “yes” to everything and everyone. Everyone on the team was engaged: our director, managers, supervisors, technologists, transporters, clerical staff, technologist assistants, administrative assistants, access services team, and department coder all just said “yes.” The team even became innovative and asked if they could have a raise in salary (and I said “yes”… during our annual performance period).
The effect that the word “yes” had on our team was great. Saying “yes” brought an unparalleled energy to the team. The smiles on our faces increased and our connections with our patients deepened. Collaboration interdepartmentally and with other healthcare team members increased, and overall the team just seemed happier. The techs were saying yes to everything, taking the extra minutes to help our nurses turn patients, even if they already had help. We are blessed with transporters in our hospital, but they were volunteering to take patients back to their rooms. They were giving out extra warm blankets and definitely extra smiles. Most importantly, it made us all aware of how easy it to be caught up in one’s own tasks that we missed opportunities sometimes to help someone else.
When we just say “yes” we open the doors to endless possibilities, and we can experience personal and professional growth and strength like we’ve never experienced before!
This article was originally published in the September/October 2017 issue of Radiology Management.
Tina Peralta, MBA, BS, RT(R)(M) is the radiology manager at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas in Dallas, TX. She can be reached at email@example.com.