Deep in the damp Minnesota woodland, hooting, hollering and random bursts of clapping can be heard in all directions. Every Nobl team member is present during our company retreat, where we’ve focused our growth on team development. Between the boat rides, grilling competitions and Rock Band sessions, we’ve been discovering our strengths. Thanks to the Gallup StrengthsFinder, we’ve been able to discuss, and enable each other to act upon and grow our amazing array of talents. Is it any wonder that more than half of our team has “achiever” as one of our top 5 strengths?
Patrick Campbell, team project manager and our top “restorative” team member, says “building our strengths is what pushes people forward, and builds ideas. Taking everyone's individual strengths and focusing them to achieve a common goal is how companies move forward.”
According to Gallup, “The best way for people to grow and develop is to identify how they most naturally think, feel, and behave—their talents—then build on those talents to create strengths, or the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.” To consistently provide near-perfect performance is a radical goal, but it seems achievable none-the-less.
This had my gears cranking. I’ve seen first-hand the importance of developing our strengths in an office setting, but what if that were to transfer over to other settings, like the battlefield of front-line nursing? Nurses don’t have the luxury of taking a week away from their unit to develop their strengths, but can it still be done? And if it could, what would the results look like, especially when translating to nurse collaboration, patient safety and patient experience?
In the peer-reviewed journal Issues in Mental Health Nursing, Paul Beckett, RN, BSc(Hons) MMHN et al. studied the effect of “Developing Person-Centered Culture in Inpatient Mental Health Settings through Strengths-Based, Transformational Leadership”, noting “there is a correlation among healthy workplace environments, healthy patients and the well-being of staff (Beckett, 2013).
In the journey to reaching “near-perfect performance”, Beckett and co. hosted regular “away days”, in which nurses participating in the study were given PTO to take classes on strength development. During the first day, “the staff identified the themes of ‘safety and security,’ ‘staffing and skill mix,’ and ‘cultivating the heart and soul of the ward.’ as the prior-ity [sic] themes to be addressed.” The nursing staff goes on to emphasize “the importance of having all the team together, and for all members of the team to have the opportunity to contribute…” (Becker, 2013).
Thanks to the nurses’ efforts, many of them reported growing closer to their team, and being able to function better together. The impact and team unity that strength-development brings is proven to directly affect the quality of hourly rounds, leadership rounds, and patient care.
A week in Minnesota has been a game changer for the way the Nobl team functions. In a few short days, I’ve learned that a team who grows together, succeeds together. Going forward, we’ll bring our newly-recognized skillset into our hospitals, and empower our nurses with the strength to succeed.