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McLean Articulating McLean Values
A glimpse back at 18 months of creativity and collaboration


Articulating and adopting a statement of McLean Values began in September 2009 as a key element of the hospital’s strategic plan and the cornerstone of a multi-year effort to enable each employee, every team and the overall hospital to perform at the highest level. Over the course of 18 months, 38 members of a committee called the McLean Core Values Group worked to identify the values that best embodied the culture and ethic of McLean and its staff. Below is a quick glimpse of how the McLean Values were developed.

• The process began with discussions about McLean at its best and a review of the recommendations of the McLean Strategic Planning Customer Task Force.

• Value statements from other hospitals and service-oriented organizations were gathered and analyzed. From there, the Core Values Group expanded a list of 23 values culled from the strategic planning process to more than 60 candidate values; the group then clustered, grouped and distilled the 60 to a list of 10.

• An on-line hospital-wide survey was distributed to McLean employees and trainees asking about the values most important to them. The survey garnered 446 responses, including descriptions of how employees carry out these values in their day-to-day work.

• The group held discussions about customer service and values with vendors who provide security, dietary and housekeeping services for McLean.

• After many hours of reviewing and discussing the results of the community survey, the group recommended a set of core values to McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott Rauch, MD,
and to McLean Hospital’s President’s Cabinet, a body of senior executives responsible for managing the hospital. After more feedback, deliberation and discussion among the Core Values Group and the President’s Cabinet, the McLean Values were presented to the McLean Board of Trustees.

• In March 2011, the trustees approved a list of seven values and a values statement that reflects the essence of McLean at its best.

In looking back, Catharyn Gildesgame, MBA, director of Strategic Implementation and chair of the McLean Core Values Group, said that one of the finest features of the planning process was the open, respectful and collaborative approach by which the values were articulated. “I was continuously inspired by the level of dedication, commitment and passion of the members of the working group,” she said. In expressing his appreciation for the group’s work, Rauch said he is “thankful to those who contributed so much of their time, expertise, perspective and energy to craft values that aptly reflect and support McLean’s mission of improving the lives of patients and their families.”

“Now that McLean has refined its principles into a set of core values, the goal is to infuse these core values into all that McLean does—clinical care, research, training, staff development and team-building, customer service and collaboration,” said Rauch.

Joseph Powers, PhD, director of Group Psychotherapy at McLean and a member of the McLean Core Values Group, noted that publicly stating the hospital’s values sends a message to patients and their families about McLean and its staff. “These guiding principles serve as an excellent introduction to McLean for patients, families, new staff, visitors, colleagues outside the hospital, and others,” he said. “The statement of values leaves no doubt about who we are, how we conduct ourselves and what we believe in.”

The initial phase of the McLean Values public awareness campaign is part of a multi-year, multi-faceted approach to ensure that these values are more widely understood and engrained in McLean work and interactions. “Stating these values explicitly allows the hospital community to set expectations,” said Catharyn Gildesgame, MBA, director of Strategic Implementation who led the McLean Core Values Group.

According to Gildesgame, as the hospital continues to implement additional phases of the values campaign, all staff, patients and visitors to the hospital will become accustomed to seeing McLean Values prominently displayed on posters, the hospital’s web and intranet sites, as well as in employee orientation and training materials and in patient materials. Gildesgame said that in the months and years to come, employees will be supported, recognized and appreciated for demonstrating these values in their work. Additionally, hospital systems and processes will be refined to reflect these values. “Over the next several years, McLean will work to ensure that the experiences of patients, families, employees, community providers and vendors are consistent with the McLean Values,” Gildesgame said.