Monday, June 4, 2018

The Three C's

Below is my monthly message for the June 2018 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Why do we work? Why do we drag ourselves out of bed every morning? What a silly question. We work because we have to make a living. Sure, but is that the only reason?

On Friday afternoon, I was driving back from an all-day, off-site meeting with all the MHRI managers from locations across the system. These talented colleagues are at the heart of our research operation that happens at 40 different MedStar sites. Given the geographic spread, these MHRI leaders are often limited to virtual interactions and rarely have the opportunity to spend time together. While we spent time on many topics, from communication styles to associate pulse survey results and suggestions, what was really happening in that room was fascinating, wonderful—and heartwarming.

As we closed the meeting, we spent a few minutes to reflect on what was most notable about the meeting. Every comment was about the people in the room rather than the work we were doing. People appreciated having a chance to get to know their system-wide teammates and working with them together in the same location.

On my drive home, as I was smiling and thinking about these comments, it reminded me about a recent Harvard Business Review article entitled The 3 Things Employees Really Want: Career, Community, Cause. Adopted from the article:
  • Career is about work: having a job that provides autonomy, allows you to use your strengths, and promotes your learning and development. It’s at the heart of a learning healthcare system.
  • Community is about people: feeling respected, cared about, and recognized by others. It drives our sense of connection and belongingness.
  • Cause is about purpose: feeling that your work makes a meaningful impact, identifying with the organization’s mission, and believing that it does some good in the world. It’s a source of pride.
In the article they present research data (and maybe that is why I like it so much!) from a Facebook employee survey, which found that most people are not satisfied with just one aspect reflected in their jobs and often rate all three buckets as important - 90% had a tie in importance between at least two of the three buckets. The research found that priorities were strikingly similar across age groups. Similarly, there were no major differences by role, or by location.

At MedStar Health, we are fortunate that we do such important, meaningful work. If ever there was an important cause, I cannot think of one more important than saving and improving lives. At MHRI, the associate survey has helped identify career and professional development as an area of opportunity, which we will continue to give greater attention and effort. However, what I was reminded about on Friday is that we are also so fortunate to have a rich, talented and caring community.

As we wind down this rainy weekend, let’s all take this moment to reflect about our own personal ‘community.’ It’s all about the people in our lives – our family, our friends and the people we share our lives with at work. And it’s also about the people we don’t know as well but still help through our advances in healthcare today… and for the people we may never get to meet that will benefit from our advances tomorrow.

Thank you for all you do today and tomorrow to advance health at MedStar.


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