I have a thought experiment for you.
Your smartphone just went wonky. You didn’t drop it in the driveway or spill your coffee over it. It’s just not quite working as it usually does, and it’s frustrating.
What’s the first action you take?
As all smartphone users know, it typically doesn’t pay to call for support or hire a repair technician to fix each issue that comes your way. At least not to start with.
Why? Because simply resetting the device can fix a lot of issues. Unplug it. Shut it down. Restart the phone. Maybe even remove and replace the battery.
Each of these steps is simple to try, and a lot of times it sets everything back to normal again with no added expense … and with minimal frustration.
The same process can take place with people, as well.
Sometimes we all get a little “off,” and we don’t know exactly why or how. Any one of us could use a dose of professional help from time to time, but often a quick reset can do the trick, too.
In your rehab therapy clinic, this sense of wonkiness may manifest as low morale, decreased productivity, short tempers, or something altogether different. Any time we’re not chugging along as usual, we’ll likely sense it – and that’s a good time to consider a reset.
Hitting the reset button with your rehab therapy and/or administrative team is as simple as two steps: unplugging the conversation, then bringing the power back up.
1. Unplug the Conversation
Unplugging the conversation is akin to simply calling a timeout.
Things have gone a bit sideways, and you’re drawing attention to this fact rather than allowing it to drag on. You’re pulling the plug to make sure the issue is addressed.
Unplugging the conversation requires honesty and transparency. Done correctly, it can grab attention and ensure that we don’t succumb to the human tendency of glossing over important issues.
For a team struggling with morale, unplugging the conversation during a team meeting means simply calling this out from your usual agenda:
“Hey everybody, I’d like to spotlight something important to all of us. I’m not sure exactly how or why this happened, but I’m sensing that our morale is a bit low right now, and I think it would be wise to address it.”
The conversation is now unplugged.
In a one-on-one conversation, unplugging the conversation may look a bit different:
“Hey Ted, I’d like to discuss something that may be a bit uncomfortable, but it’s super important that we air it out. I feel we’ve been out of sync lately, and I know we aren’t going to be able to do what we’re here to do unless we get back in our groove.”
You now have Ted’s attention.
By unplugging the conversation, you’re simply asking for permission to delve into an area that may otherwise be difficult to address. With a willing partner (or team), you’ll now be able to approach the next step in a productive way.
2. Bring the Power Back Up
Calling attention to an issue in a productive manner so it can be addressed is the job of unplugging. Course correction happens when you power back up.
While powering up, you’re looking to get all circuits firing in a way that is balanced and positive. This requires feedback and dialogue. It is very much a two-way conversation. You’re looking for consensus, feedback and a willingness to be involved in the solution.
In the example of a team reset, you may find it helpful to let your team know that you don’t have the answers, but you’re committed to helping uncover the problem:
“It’s my job to make sure the odds are in our favor as we work to achieve our goals. I can’t do this alone, and I don’t know exactly how to fix our morale issue right now. So, I’d like your input on what may be causing this, and then I’d like to work with everyone to get it corrected.”
You’ve plugged your team back in through the combined effort of searching for solutions.
In a one-on-one conversation, this might not look very different:
“You’re a great asset to our team, Ted. You’re a sharp guy, and I know I can count on you to help us get back on track. I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas about how we can do this.”
As you power up, Ted now knows you respect his input and value his contribution as you both strive to course correct.
By powering up in a humble and inclusive manner, you’re conveying that you want help with the solution while acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers. This can be an empowering characteristic of your clinic’s culture and may help set the tone for future issues as they arise.
Ultimate Guide to Therapist Productivity
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