Healthcare Series: Practicing Intentional Leadership in a Virtual World | Dr. Scott Rissmiller

Dr. Scott Rissmiller is the Executive Vice President and Chief Physician Executive for Atrium Health, an integrated nonprofit health system with 42 hospitals and over 1500 care locations.

Scott is passionate about people and culture, which manifests itself into the way he interacts with his team. In this episode Scott shares insights on how Atrium Health has supported employees and patients during the COVID crisis, as well as small practices you can utilize to help make intentional leadership a part of our daily routine. 

Truth You Can Act On:

1. Fail Fast
Supporting Quote:
Dr. Scott Rissmiller: “I believe the culture we had put in place allowed our teams to come together rather than fragment and allowed them to focus on the patient and really work together. There was trust there that we were going to do everything we could to take care of them and to take care of our patients at the end of the day. And I’m also a big believer in setting the direction, putting up some wide guard rails, and then getting out of the way to let our leaders lead and make decisions. Sometimes we’re going to make mistakes. That’s okay. Learn from it, move on, dust off, and let’s get back at it.”

2. Practice Intentional Leadership
Supporting Quote
Dr. Scott Rissmiller: “When we’re in person, we can read body language better, and we can see people’s expressions. You miss that in virtual calls, so you really have to double down on being real and really demonstrating and showing that you care. We have really focused on making sure in our meetings that we are checking in on each other. We’re asking those sensitive questions that might connect in different ways with people and really focusing on giving that encouragement and positive feedback because people are isolated. They want to do really good work, but they don’t have the interaction that they normally have that gives them that reward. So really double down on the positive feedback and encouragement.”

3. Over Communicate
Supporting Quote
Dr. Scott Rissmiller: “Over communicate. You cannot over communicate. So when you think you’re ever communicating, do it more and do it multimodal, whether it be virtual or emails or other things, make sure it’s consistent, and make sure it’s frequent.”

4. Share Authentic Stories of Impact
Supporting Quote
Dr. Scott Rissmiller: “It’s even more important today for leaders to show up with positive energy and optimism while we tackle these tough problems. And be real, just like with our courageous conversations, don’t shy away from the things that might be a bit uncomfortable, because again, in this time of virtual, it’s easy to just stay at the surface level. Dig deep, make it consistent, and build people up. Then connect back to why we went into this to begin with. There is a practice that is just incredible, which is called connect the purpose, where we start every meeting, and I mean every meeting, with a patient story of how we have delivered incredible care, and what we meant to that patient.”

Book Recommendations:

Sponsors Resources:

  • 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.
  • HCAHPS Case Study – Learn how University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health used Wambi to improve employee engagement and patient experience, and found that the Wambi platform is an early predictor of the HCAHPS. Download the case study here.

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