[Throwback] Healthcare Series: Building a Mission Employees Follow | Steve Long

Steve Long is the President and CEO of Hancock Regional Hospital, where he has helped develop a unique culture of inspired and engaged employees. Before taking over at Hancock, he served for 20 years in various healthcare leadership roles across the country.

The motto at Hancock Hospital is, “What a blessing it is to work in a place where we love people for a living.” This motto, coupled with their goal to be nationally recognized for kindness, has created a special culture of caring; A culture that is so tangible, you can actually feel the difference as you walk through the doors.

In this throwback episode, Nikki revists the conversation she had with Steve about creating a mission employees want to follow. Steve is a strong believer in creating and living by a core mission statement, in both your organization and in your personal life. To find your personal mission, ask yourself: what kind of legacy do you want to leave?

Truth You Can Act On:

1. Hire the Right People
Supporting Quote:
Steve Long: “This is why we hire for just the right kind of folks, because it comes from that intrinsic sense of ownership, that intrinsic sense that I have a part to play here. So we make sure that we hire for that. Again, it gets down to the attitude. It’s the difference between a person that sees a piece of trash in the corner of a room or on the edge of a hallway and walks by it and says, ‘Well, I sure hope that the person whose job is to pick it up, comes and picks that up.’ Then compared to a person who says, ‘Wow, I really don’t want our place to look like it’s not clean, so I’m going to stop and pick it up and throw it away.’ That’s the difference, and that’s what we look for as we hire people — the ones that are going to reach down, pick it up, and throw it away.”

2. Track Goals and Progress 
Supporting Quote
Steve Long: “We look at our goals and our objectives. We program ourselves to look at outcomes. For example, have we seen a measurable improvement in patient safety? Have we seen an improvement in patient experience scores? And it’s not about did I walk through the unit four times in the last week? That’s an activity. What we actually measure and what we hold ourselves accountable for are the outcomes, and we do that because we have built an incentive plan that is actually organization-wide. We have both organization-wide incentive plans, and we have department-level incentive plans, and they’re also based on these outcomes.”

3. Build Employee Ownership 
Supporting Quote: 
Steve Long: “I was building a house, and as I was framing it up, my boss, who was a physician, a very busy leader in academic medicine, came over to my place on a Saturday and he spent half a day cutting boards for my house. I was so impressed that he cared enough about me, that he would take time out of his very, very busy schedule on a weekend to come and help me work on my house. Because he did that and he showed that he cared about me, my loyalty to him and my desire to do the things that we needed to do as an organization, really were a result of his investment in me.” 

Book Recommendation:


  • Wambi.org Wambi is about human connections. We view feedback as the fuel for interpersonal growth and are always striving to achieve the highest versions of ourselves and to lift others up along the way.

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