The goal: 100 Million Healthier Lives by 2020
What’s needed: Courage and Collaboration
Physics defines “escape velocity” as the speed at which an object needs to be traveling to break free of a planet’s or moon’s gravity. Members of a new multi-sector coalition want to break free of the status quo and create a culture of health and wellbeing.
This new coalition intends to break free of the gravitational pull of mismatched and sometimes perverse incentives, political gridlock, and fragmented systems that have driven an over-reliance on health care fixes over proactive investments in health within communities.
In October, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) convened over 200 leaders from patient groups, grassroots community organizations, community health, public health, academia, business, finance, government, and healthcare for “Escape Velocity to a Culture of Health,” a working meeting to create the Guiding Coalition for Health and begin to co-design initial steps. (See previous blog.)
The Center for Courage & Renewal is one of some 30 founding partners of this coalition that is committed to learning together how to best support community efforts to improve the health of 100 million people globally over the next five years.
With me at the October meeting were Courage & Renewal Facilitators Pamela Seigle and Estrus Tucker. Estrus and I are each co-leading a workgroup for the Coalition.
“We need a quantum leap toward the creation of health across the country,” said Maureen Bisognano. president and CEO of IHI, “We must align organizations and sectors to achieve something far greater together than any one group could ever achieve alone – a monumental shift toward health, as we’ve never seen before.”
To achieve an unprecedented goal for health and wellbeing, we know will take new ways of working together. Our success will depend on the relationships we build, and the processes that support a broad and open collaboration.
What I’ve seen in our work with leaders from across all sectors is that when people are in an environment where they feel safe to listen deeply to their inner wisdom, to connect with their own wholeness, and to listen and learn from each other, they most often locate the courage to reach beyond existing constraints.
At the Center for Courage & Renewal, we’ve learned that the most powerful source of societal change begins with creating conditions that honor the identity and integrity of each person, invite each of us to show up fully, and, together, to create deep relational trust. The trust we need in the Guiding Coalition is the kind that can hold tension and help us engage in meaningful, honest dialogue with both courage and kindness.
For the Escape Velocity meeting, the leadership team of the Coalition developed Guiding Principles, both for our collaborative way of working and to support our relationships. We invited ourselves to name the touchstones that would serve our being fully present and adapted many from the core Courage & Renewal touchstones.
By agreeing to these guiding principles, our hope is to continually create conditions that honor each other and what we each bring to the coalition, and allow us to have the open and honest conversations that will help us do this good work.
Here are some of the relational Guiding Principles to which the 100 Million Healthier Lives Guiding Coalition has agreed for our work together and with the people we serve to support our forming trustworthy relationships, as we begin to share our stories and use our collective wisdom to co-create a widespread culture of health and well-being.
- Be present as fully as possible. Speak our truth from our hearts and minds.
- Listen generously to each other’s truths. Trust that we all hold a piece of the puzzle and we need each other’s pieces to understand the whole picture.
- Embrace differences and be open to learning from each other.
- When the going gets rough, suspend judgment and get curious. Be quick to forgive and ask open questions to understand.
- Honor each other’s learning and resourcefulness. Trust we each will learn and contribute in our own way, that there is no need to “fix” each other.
- Make space to pause and reflect to deepen our thinking.
- Be willing to have meaningful conflict to create unprecedented goals and solutions. When needed, seek council for help with conflicts.
- Allow our ideas to be developed further by others.
- Seek common ground. When we can’t fully agree, we commit to a unified decision and to see what happens from a humble posture of learning. If we have made the wrong turn, we will discover it together and turn the right way together.
- Accept that we will sometimes fail, but will learn together and move forward.
- Help each other to have the confidence to spread our wings, be creative, and take on new roles.
- Balance our yearning for change with patience for the process of change and growth.
- Make the way we work together an example of what’s possible.
Hanna B. Sherman, MD is the Program Director of Health and Health Care for the Center for Courage & Renewal/ In her role, Hanna works with leaders and organizations in health and health care nationally and internationally to develop safe and trustworthy spaces for personal and professional growth, positive change, and life-giving choices. Organizations Hanna has worked with include Mayo Clinic Florida, Mission Health System, and Cambridge Health Alliance.