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  • Liz Whitaker

"Hello I'm Simon ... you're in the Recovery Suite ..."

If you don't like surprises, look away now. On my mission to share the most shining examples of organisations knocking my socks off with the power of personal, this time I give you … the NHS (Worcestershire Acute Hospitals to be precise). First, the scale. 6000 employees serving 580,000 people across three sites and a £400 million turnover. Second, the context. This organisation is in the epicentre of a crisis. Yet my recent experience was such an extraordinary combination of super-efficient professional care and P2P/H2H, that I’m taking the rare step of sharing a personal story (without the gory details!).

If you’re running an organisation delivering services to meet a challenge or resolve a problem and under time pressure (step forward everyone!), this is for you.

My Power of personal highlights;

· Speed of service. Seven weeks from GP call to surgery, clockwork delivery of numerous services co-ordinated across three sites and numerous departments. They made the best use of technology (brilliant online patient on-boarding process) with personalisation (one-to-one pre-op phone interviews). Not once did I need to repeat myself, I could always speak to someone or leave a message and someone would call me back. Everyone at all times did what they said they would do including call me back. During that time my personal safety and treatment success depended on a number of people I will never meet – the invisible stakeholders I talk about in The Power of Personal – and they all did their job brilliantly.

· Here’s an interesting one – the PAs were kept well informed and were confident in answering questions. There was no sense of hierarchy despite this being a hugely hierarchical culture.

· Everyone, without exception, provided authentic care and support. No-one gave me the impression they’d been forced to read the patient service manual and complete a tick sheet! In The Power of Personal I talk about the value of being interested and how, although it might be the 400th time a person has done a particular piece of work, for that client it might be the first and only time they need that advice. Every single person I encountered treated me as if I was the only patient in the world at that moment. Yet there were another 634 patients being looked after on that day (the average number of daily patients over a year, seven days a week). How remarkable is that?

· Everybody I met (and that was a lot of people) used my name and, importantly, their own – “Hello, I’m Kay, I’m your named nurse”, "Hello, I'm Simon, you're in the Recovery Suite". Others were wearing badges so I could see their names. In my book I talk about the significance of using peoples’ names and was here they used it at scale.

· Book readers will know why and how I recommend the P2P value of a phone call (your voice is unique, instantly recognisable, can open up a conversation, can convey a variety of emotions and delivers a totally personal experience). The total care approach extended into the day after surgery when Kay, my named nurse, phoned to check if I was okay/needed any pain relief etc etc. Business organisations often talk about going the extra mile and this was a great example – a 90 second phone call demonstrating extreme thoughtfulness.

· Throughout I experienced adult-to-adult communications and all written correspondence was timely, comprehensive and pertinent to keep me informed every step of the way.

· The skill of reading what has not been asked for but which is much needed. In my case, the timely offer of tea, biscuits and/or toast! These professionals demonstrated that special and rare skill of recognising when something is needed without someone having to ask!

The NHS joins an elite group of organisations we explore in Propella workshops looking at how they use the power of personal to grow their businesses, retain and recruit top talent.

In the Power of Personal Masterclass, we explore maximising personalisation at all your touchpoints, how the power of personal can reach the 20% that delivers the 80% and how to develop your own power of personal. More from me or

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