July 27, 2017
Moore Mission Moments - The Watershed Group


by Patti Moore


Courage, passion, commitment, communication, humility – these make every list of critical leadership skills, and they’re certainly required in abundance of anyone who leads or manages in hospice. But to me, the most important gift is the ability to inspire and motivate those around you. Why? Hospice work is demanding, physically and emotionally – but patients and their families need you to bring 100% of your skills, compassion, and stamina to work every day. Keeping our people inspired to be their best, most compassionate selves requires us to model that behavior – to walk the walk – in how we deal with them.


How do you inspire? By remembering why you’re there, and sharing that why with your staff; by getting out of your office and into the field; by being a mentor more than a taskmaster, and sharing stories of staff successes.


What’s Your Story? If someone who knew nothing about hospice was to ask you what it is you do and why, what would you tell him? What’s your hospice story? What drew you to this work in the first place, and what keeps you in it?  How you frame your story reflects your commitment to your mission; how you tell your story can encourage and motivate those around you to reach for that ideal. Nobody wanders into hospice work by accident; what motivated you, what got you safely over rough ground can encourage others. But a story untold has no power to inspire. Know your hospice story and share it.


Get into the field: When you’re hip-deep in administrative work, it’s easy to get siloed in your tower depending on written reports and balance sheets to inform you. Make time every day to get out of the office and walk around your organization; to interact with your team members, to talk to family members and patients, and to observe your team in action.  Let your staff see your commitment, your passion, and your connection to the work they do.  Motivational speeches are great, as far as they go – but nothing compares to walking the walk and offering encouraging talk.


Mentor more: In a field like ours, every interaction counts – all the more so because the people with whom we work are arguably going through one of the most stressful and profoundly emotional experiences of their lives; their own death, or the death of a loved one. When we see a staff member having an inappropriate interaction with someone, our first instinct may be to chastise and blame. Instead, ask privately: “What happened there? Tell me about that interaction” – and listen to the answer. It’s easy to jump on someone who’s made a mistake – but it’s more valuable to lead them, through thoughtful questioning, to see not only what they did wrong, but how they could do better next time. Remember your own rookie errors – and mentor more, reprimand less.


Share successes: Want to inspire your staff? Let them know you see the things they do right – and thank them for jobs well done. So often we overlook the good things, big and small, that our staff do in the course of their work; after all, it’s their job. But as the old adage says, what we feed, thrives – and if you want kindness, courtesy, and professionalism to thrive, feed it. Feed it with praise, both public and private. Write a thank you note, use your website, your company Facebook Page or Instagram account, and your newsletter to single out and honor those who go above and beyond. Share the letters of thanks and praise that come from your patient families. Remind them every day that what they do matters – and that the good they do doesn’t go unseen.


 Image from the Kaiser Philanthropy Institute, design by Christy Whitney



 What motivates and inspires us to keep going when the going gets tough? Mission; our sense that we can make a difference; and the love we carry in our hearts. 


Mission-driven Millennials want to change the world – and they’re motivated by passion more than paychecks. Harness that energy for hospice; it’s a natural fit: “I need to be surrounded by people who are on fire for what we’re doing. I need a manager who is motivated to push boundaries and think differently. Working in a cool office is really awesome. So is free lunch. But a purposeful culture is more important.”


Reflections on her job, from a hospice admissions nurse: “If you think about the last time you went to the doctor, he probably said, “Okay, this is what I think. These are the tests I want to run.” Nobody asks you, “What do you think? Does this sound reasonable? Do you want to do it?” Nobody tells patients how their quality of life is going to go down the toilet when they get chemo. So it’s sometimes hard for patients to wrap their head around the idea that everything is their choice now, they’re driving the ship. That’s the mission of hospice.”


And finally – a love story to light up your day: “Charles met his wife Louise back in 1949. "When you looked at her it was like electrical shock," he said. "I guess it's love."  To Charles, true love is so powerful that nothing can stop it -- nothing. Which is why, after she died in 2011 after 60 years of marriage, he decided a grave marker wasn't enough, that their love deserved more than a monument.

What their love needed was a museum.”



 I’m inspired by what these wonderful hospices are doing to improve lives in their communities – and to make their organizations known for their good works above and beyond their primary mission.


Congratulations to Hope West Hospice of Grand Junction, Colorado, who won a Hospice Honors award for the second year in a row – and is the only hospice in the state to receive “elite” status:


Fun for a cause:Hospice of the Chesapeake invites the community to spend an evening at the ballpark for Chesapeake Kids Night with the Bowie Baysox on Tuesday, Aug. 22. The game against the Reading Fighting Phils starts at 7:05 p.m. at Prince George’s Stadium, the team’s home field in Bowie, Maryland. The fundraiser is sponsored by M&T Bank.”


The Murray Calloway Endowment for Healthcare recently received a $5,000 donation from Kay Zweedyk of Hardin, KY. The donation went towards supporting patient care at the Anna Mae Owen Residential Hospice House.  Click here to read more.


What’s your hospice doing to create alliances and awareness in your community? I’d love to hear about it!  Send your stories, press releases, and announcements to: [email protected]

Colorado, Maryland, Florida, and Washington DC...and that is just in the next 2 weeks! I am so fortunate to work with extraordinary people in extraordinary organizations.  I love my work and all those I get to work with.  Thanks for your trust in me!


Pause, take a breath, smile and enjoy the summer sky at our RiverCove Retreat Center
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