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The Power of a Huddle for Fostering Fellowship

In my book The Florence Prescription: From Accountability to Ownership I describe 8 essential characteristics of a culture of ownership: commitment, engagement, passion, initiative, stewardship, belonging, fellowship and pride. All eight are important, but over the years I’ve come to believe that fellowship is paramount. A spirit of fellowship is the antidote to the cynicism, pessimism, and toxic emotional negativity that are so corrosive to culture. And this applies to the culture of a family every bit as much as it does to the culture of an organization.

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When we work with organizations to help them build a stronger culture of ownership, we recommend daily huddles where people will come together and – as a group – repeat The Pickle Pledge and that day’s promise from The Self Empowerment Pledge. There’s a bit of eye-rolling at first (that’s to be expected) but we find that when people make the commitment to repeating these promises together, it does promote a spirit of fellowship. People not only begin to hold themselves to a higher standard of personal expectations, they help their coworkers do the same.

At Midland Memorial Hospital, every morning at 8:16 sharp a group gathers in the main lobby for the Daily Leadership Huddle. It begins with everyone repeating The Pickle Pledge and that day’s promise from The Self Empowerment Pledge. Often one or two people will share a story that reflects the MMH values in action. Notes from this morning huddle are quickly typed and distributed to all managers for use in huddles throughout the organization (this practice was written up in the AHA publication H&HN Daily article “How to Improve Hospital Operations and Patient Safety in 14 Minutes a Day” at this link). Looking around the group, you see that many people no longer need to read the promises because they know them by heart.

My friend Bob Dent, who is COO/CNO at Midland Memorial Hospital, says that as important as the huddles themselves are, even more important is the ten minutes on either side of the huddle. This is when people get to know each other in ways that are not possible in the typical daily routine – where that spirit of fellowship can blossom.

You can see the spirit of fellowship shine through vividly in this 1-minute video of the daily huddle in the MMH Environmental Services Department.

By the way, The Florence Prescription is still available for just $5 per book at www.TheFlorenceChallenge.com or by calling our office at 319-624-3889.

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