What good looks like in large systems

In today’s rapidly evolving world, large organizations face numerous challenges in maintaining efficiency, ensuring quality, and fostering a positive work environment. While the specifics may differ across industries, certain characteristics hold true for achieving excellence. 

Triggered by a recent stay in tertiary hospital, I came to see clearly what “good” looks like and subsequently have come to realize these characteristics can span many various sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, supply chain logistics, large scale fresh food production, farming or mining. Indeed whilst the care I received was excellent, the learnings can be far and wide.

Uniformity of Processes: A hallmark of a well-functioning organization is the establishment of uniformity in processes. In a hospital, this entails implementing standardized procedures, protocols, and workflows that are consistently followed across departments. This uniformity ensures seamless coordination, reduces errors, and enhances patient safety. Similarly, in other large organizations, the adoption of streamlined processes allows for efficient production, effective communication, and overall operational excellence.

Attentiveness and Attention to Details: In a hospital, attentiveness and attention to details are of paramount importance. Medical professionals must diligently observe patients, accurately document their symptoms, and assess their conditions meticulously. This level of attentiveness not only improves patient outcomes but also contributes to preventive care. In other industries, such as manufacturing or logistics, meticulous attention to detail ensures product quality, reduces defects, and enhances customer satisfaction. But above all else it keeps employees and others safe.

Approachability and Demeanor: In a hospital, the demeanor of healthcare professionals greatly influences patient experiences. Being approachable, empathetic, and communicative fosters trust, allays fears, and encourages patients to actively participate in their own care. These qualities contribute to a positive patient-clinician relationship. Likewise, in any large organization, approachability and a positive demeanor among employees facilitate effective teamwork, open communication channels, and a supportive work environment. Safe teams are high functioning teams. High functioning teams are directly built on the approachability and demeanor of their leaders and members.

Autonomy and Respect: These are essential components to all organizations, particularly when dealing with patients, their families, and clinical colleagues. In a hospital, granting patients autonomy means involving them in shared decision-making processes regarding their treatment options, empowering them to actively participate in their healthcare journey. Additionally, respecting patients’ values, cultural backgrounds, and individual needs promotes personalized care and a patient-centered approach. Similarly, extending autonomy and respect to clinical colleagues fosters a sense of ownership, accountability, and professional growth. Encouraging a supportive work environment where ideas are valued, contributions are recognized, and diverse perspectives are embraced cultivates a culture of respect, trust, and collaboration. These principles can be applied across industries, acknowledging the importance of autonomy and respect in maximizing individual potential and organizational success, and like so many of these factors becomes pivotal to workplace physical and psychosocial safety.

Professionalism: Professionalism serves as the bedrock of any large organization. In a hospital, professionalism encompasses a range of behaviors, including ethical conduct, maintaining patient confidentiality, and adhering to industry standards. A professional environment fosters trust among employees, patients, and stakeholders, which is essential for any organization’s success. Similarly, in diverse sectors like manufacturing, supply chain logistics, or mining, professionalism sets the tone for high-quality outputs, promotes ethical practices, and ensures compliance with safety regulations.

While the above characteristics were highlighted within a hospital setting, they can be extrapolated to other large organizations across various sectors. Whether it is a manufacturing facility, a healthcare provider, a supply chain logistics company, or a mining operation, these characteristics remain fundamental to achieving excellence.

In any organization, uniformity of processes leads to operational efficiency, attentiveness and attention to details drive quality, approachability and demeanor foster positive relationships, autonomy and respect empower employees, and professionalism sets the foundation for success.

By prioritizing these characteristics, organizations can focus on key measures of quality. These measures, in turn, can leverage and promote employee engagement, enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve strategic goals.

Conclusion: In large organizations, such as hospitals and beyond, striving for excellence requires a holistic approach. The uniformity of processes, attentiveness and attention to details, approachability and demeanor, autonomy and respect to all, and the professionalism of its employees form the pillars of success. By embracing these characteristics and adapting them to specific industries, organizations can lay the groundwork for quality service or profitability, sustained growth, customer satisfaction, and employee fulfillment in an ever changing environment.

Tim Dalmau

Start the conversation