University HealthCare Alliance

December 04, 2019

Building the UHA Culture

UHA’s goal is to build a company culture of diversity, inclusion, trust, and respect. Earlier this year, UHA produced a video demonstrating this commitment as part of this initiative.  In keeping with this spirit, leaders from throughout UHA community continue to share their insights into building the UHA Culture.  Please read this year’s contributions below:

Catherine Krna | Chief Administrative Officer 

Patrick Lencioni in this book The Advantage argues “The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health.” And I would maintain the single most important contributor to organizational health is building a culture of trust.

I think a leader’s two most important responsibilities are to create a clear vision and culture of trust and respect to achieve that vision.  What I have learned through various career chapters is that a culture of trust is also essential to achieving and sustaining great performance results.

The Executive Team at UHA believes the organization is made better each and every day in service to our patients and each other when we all feel psychologically safe, are willing to surface opinions, and treat others respectfully.  Each of us will undoubtedly experience conflict with a colleague or another person over a difference of opinion, a misunderstanding, or an inappropriate interaction. 

If we can all remember our responsibility to one another and calibrate our actions and reactions through these three lenses of psychological safety, responsibility to lean in and surface our point of view, and respectful words and actions, we will build and strengthen a culture of trust at UHA each day.

Michael O’Connell | Senior Vice President of Operations

Trust and respect are key cornerstones for University HealthCare Alliance and it’s important to us that we live by those values. We are committed to building confidence in the work we do and in the relationships we create.

In our vision to heal humanity through science and compassion one patient at a time, we have an inspiring purpose to make a difference in the work that we do and in the people whom we work with. We put faith in our actions and behaviors and take stock to ensure that we deliver on our promises. Our CI-CARE philosophy helps us to connect with others in a professional and empathetic way and guides us in our daily interactions with each other.

This last year, UHA leadership developed a video to emphasize the importance of our stance on creating a strong corporate culture of trust and respect, and to let everyone know that we will address any issues or concerns that don’t embody that focus. We look forward to building upon this foundation in FY20 and welcome your comments and feedback on ways we can continue to advance these efforts.

David Overton | Vice President, Quality 

On the UHA Quality Team, we build a culture of trust and respect through transparency, authenticity, and by engaging in meaningful work. We take care of each other on the quality team by showing a genuine interest in each other’s lives and wellbeing. The work that we do is meaningful and we enjoy the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of patients and on the organization.

We celebrate the diversity of our team and share stories with each other about the variety of experiences we collectively have. As the leader of the UHA Quality team, I am personally invested in each of my team members’ success. I want them to achieve their career goals and I am committed to making that happen.

I trust them and challenge them to stretch themselves to achieve their full potential. There are lots of smiles on the UHA Quality team because we have created a team culture of inclusiveness and we make an effort to engage in meaningful relationships at UHA. We are committed to the success of the organization and to our individual life goals.

Rochelle Noone | Vice President, Human Resources

This year, UHA began an initiative to create a culture of trust and respect. These are key aspects of high-performing organizations. When employees feel respected and trusted to do their jobs, they are more engaged and productive.

Treating others with respect instills confidence and provides encouragement at all levels of the organization. It also leads to knowledge-sharing and is a stress reducer. We can foster a culture of trust and respect by listening, encouraging others to voice their opinions, and considering the impact of our words and actions on others.

We spend a great deal of time working together and learning together. I believe that UHA has a unique opportunity for transformational change as long as we can, acknowledge a job well-done, understand that mistakes are opportunities and that our differences are also our strengths.

Hilary Garrigan | Senior Administrator 

We can build an environment of trust, honesty, respect, support and inclusion by having regular office huddles and encouraging all staff and providers to actively participate.  In huddles, include shared problem solving (A3s)  and request ideas for improvement so that all can share and be heard.

The best ideas come from staff, so we need to give them a safe place to speak up. We need to encourage their ideas even if we do not adopt all of them. Rounding and 1:1 check-ins allow us to observe and hear staff concerns as well as give them the time to speak honestly with us and feel supported with their challenges.

As leaders, we need to be visible and available and work as part of the team. It is important to “walk the walk” and be a good role model of honesty, respect, support and inclusion, and be consistent and genuine in our behaviors. It is also important to be responsive if staff and providers share information that is negatively affecting our work environment. 

Encourage peer to peer feedback so staff talk to each other to work out issues, and teach and model that communication must come from a place of good intent.

Angela Deftos | Senior Vice President, University Medical Partners

Collectively as individuals and as organizations (UHA foundation and UMP, MMC, CCMG, and AMG Medical Groups) we share the same personal and professional aspirations – to deliver high-quality care to our patients and to provide for our respective families.

It is my hope that we also share the same commitment – and that is to come to work every day with the best version of ourselves and go home to our loved ones fulfilled and satisfied that we’ve made a positive difference to someone – either a colleague, a patient, a supervisor, or a stranger in the elevator.

Pause, listen, smile, extend a kind gesture – they go a long way.