Jim Cathcart developed and characterized “Relationship Selling” as a system to describe and teach the paramount importance of the interpersonal relationship in business and the conduct of business around the world. Mr. Cathcart has transformed the business world by instilling the values of simple human kindness and contact back into the conduct of the business day. Too bad Mr. Cathcart doesn’t teach disaster preparedness.
When I look at my market today, I am as amazed as Jim Cathcart was decades ago when he looked at his market and I draw the same conclusion, what is needed are relationships. I know that those in healthcare value relationships with customers, but what relationships are developed with vendors, employees, nurses, doctors and competitors. Are these relationships nurtured in the good times?
Everyone in Disaster Planning, Preparation, Education, Response and Recovery should be true disciples of Jim Cathcart and Relationship Selling. The lessons taught in that simple system will build the type of healthcare system resilience that American desperately needs.
But there is more to nurture than just business relationships; as healthcare prepares in an “All Hazards” manner, Relationship Leadership is needed.
What is Relationship Leadership?
Relationship Leadership is the use of interpersonal skills beginning long before a disaster looms to create an environment of mutual trust and respect to influence others to work towards common organizational goals. This means permanently abandoning healthcare’s current dependence on the power and control (demand and threat) method of leadership.
Nurses would be the first to benefit from this process change. Rather than threatening nurses with loss of licensure or disciplinary sanction if they must leave at the end of a shift in a disaster, imbue undying loyalty by showing undying loyalty in the “good times.”
Nurses would not be the only ones to benefit however. After Hurricane Francis, Cape Canaveral hospital needed a new roof. Many of their employees also needed new roofs after 2 hurricanes. When the hospital hired a roofing contractor, the hospital included “front of the line” roof replacement for all hospital employees who needed it. 95% of the hospital employees lived within 1 mile of the coast so the hospital went a step further. The hospital added that the “front of the line” status for hospital employees would be perpetual.
The roofing contractor was thrilled by the long term hospital contract and the “guaranteed work” that the “front of the line” clause represented. The hospital employees loved it because it showed that the hospital genuinely cared about the employee’s safety and the safety of their families. Interestingly, the hospital saw a surge in new employee applications and a drop in attrition. The cost to the hospital was nothing more than the effort to demonstrate Relationship Leadership.
Relationship Leadership requires that those in positions of “power” surrender power to the relationship and leave their ego permanently at home. Relationship Leadership is a unifying process between two equals who care for and about each other and the organization. Relationship Leadership is based on mutual respect, freedom and trust and seeks the happiness and wellbeing of each other and the organization as a common goal.
Relationship Leadership is a great challenge, but for those who implement it, the benefits are limitless.