Relationships Return Results

relationships-trump-results-1(Chick-fil-a logo belongs to Chick-fil-a co) 

Today I had the privilege of talking to about 50 healthcare leaders in Northern Ohio. I always enjoy being able to share my own experiences, insights and trends in healthcare from various vantage points. 

What I appreciate the most is meeting leaders that are creating today’s delivery model and trying to anticipate the future of healthcare.

I enjoy when we are complimented by leaders from other industries that can share their secrets.

It’s a privilege to listen and learn the stories of other people, industries, and how it applies to healthcare. 

Today was one of those special days.

Today we were joined by a Chick-Fil-A franchise owner by the name of John. He was one of those people that as soon as he entered the room you knew he was from outside of healthcare. He had a special presence.

He walked into the room carrying Chik-Fil-A bags. He set them down, shook hands, introduced himself, and then immediately began cleaning tables, picking up garbage, bagging the garbage, and putting a new bag in the can.

He didn’t care that he wasn’t employed by the health system. He did not care about his job role, duties, or title. He didn’t care that he was asked to be a guest speaker. John did what John does, he serves people.

John’s passion was infectious. He was speaking from the heart. He shared with us the mission and vision of Chick-Fil-A. As a matter of fact, the core promise sounds very similar to that of many healthcare organizations:

“To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.

Which begs all of us to pause for a moment and ask ourselves, what is a steward?

A steward simply means that you are in the care of something or someone that does not belong to you.

Is that not exactly what all of us are in the world of healthcare? We are stewards. We are in the business of caring for other people in our community during their time of sickness, hurt, pain, and need.

It is our duty, our responsibility, perhaps our obligation to serve them with the best possible care we can deliver while they are in our hands.

Which brings up an important topic: 

Results Replace Relationships….

Almost all of us in the world of healthcare have some sort of metric(s) to indicate if we are performing at the right level. Are we meeting business expectations? Are we delivering revenue? Are we driving productivity? Are we maximizing utilization? 

Yet when we solely focus on results we tend to forget about the relationships with the end users, in this instance, the patient(s). 

John had some extraordinary stories to share. From learning about a customers baby shower that didn’t have a lot of money and was single in which his team delivered enough food for the shower to pushing a car out of the drive thru that broke down, calling the tow truck, and giving them a bag of food as they left. 

The most amazing story was John giving a biker his car keys when his bike broke down in the parking lot on a Saturday.  Instead of wasting 4 hours waiting for a ride, then taking him home, John have the man his car keys and said drive home, come back to get your bike when it’s convenient, and drop my car off then. 

It’s the culture of Chick-Fil-A

And all they are responsible for are delivering is hot chicken sandwiches. 

This is part of the reason why Chick-Fil-A is the highest ranked fast food company and has less than half the number of McDonalds stores. 

Yes, John has off site meetings to discuss metrics. However, what John hires, fires, and retains employees for is customer service. 

John believes in the same things as I do when it comes to healthcare: 

Relationships Return Results. 

When we focus on people as patients, and truly understand their needs and expectations, and relentlessly obsess to exceed them, that the money and financials always work out. 

Meet the needs to kenable the wants. 

We both believe care occurs at the N of 1. 

Relationships trump results in healthcare. 

As always you can feel free to email me at or follow me on Twitter @cancergeek



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