By Jenn Riggle
Everyone needs friends – even hospitals.
Joanna Pineda writes in her blog that people need five people they can turn to for advice, support, problem-solving, coaching and networking. In the corporate world, these people are your company’s Board of Directors.
But Boards typically are a bunch of white guys in suits, who have impressive resumes and busy schedules. But do they have the time to get their hands dirty and advance your organization’s goals?
Don’t get me wrong, Boards serve important functions, especially during times of crisis. But they shouldn’t be your only “friends.”
The good news is that there are more people in your corner than you realize. These could be your doctors, nurses, employees and even your patients. And while they may not have the time (or the credentials) to serve on your Board, they can help you perform important functions, such as:
- Celebrate your success: When something good happens, you want someone to share your happiness. Having the right people as friends can help ensure that people attend your community events. They can also serve as your brand ambassadors and share the good news with the people they know.
- Find a few extra dollars: And while no one wants to ask their friends for money, a good friend is always willing to help you out if you need it. The same is true for hospitals. They especially need community support when planning to build a new facility, whether it’s with fundraising or Certificate of Need applications.
- Get the lay of the land: Because your staff is in the trenches every day, they can give you insight into things you may not be aware of. This intel can be invaluable and can give you the tools to address issues before they blow out of proportion.
- Defend you when you’re attacked: When there’s a communications crisis, everyone looks to the marketing and public relations personnel to be the voice of the hospital. But we all know the job of PR people is to put a positive spin on a situation. That’s why there are times when it’s important to have other voices join the conversation. For example, when a negative article appears on the local newspaper’s website and unnamed people are spreading innuendos in the paper’s comments section, one person can make all the difference. Having just one person identify themselves, their relationship to the organization and help put the news in perspective, it shows the other comments for what they are – gossip and rumors.
- Provide content for social networking sites: The biggest problem facing hospitals with regards to social media is publishing original content. That’s why so many are tweeting the same health articles. Physicians and nurses can change this by providing hospitals with original content to publish on social networks.
But keep in mind, friendship doesn’t just happen. It needs to be nurtured and tended. Who will you reach out to today?