Catalysis Staff Share Reflections from 2019

Posted on by CATALYSIS

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As 2019 comes to a close, it is a good time to pause and reflect on events from the year. Reflection is integral to the learning and personal development process. This important part of the PDSA cycle helps us take stock of what went well and what we can improve on in the future.

The Catalysis staff has taken time to share their reflections from working with customers and one another as we work to transform healthcare.

Incorporating stakeholders in the decision-making process for changing or implementing something new is difficult and time-consuming, but I’ve experienced the truth of the saying “you need to go slow to go fast."

Angela Brubacher, Education Manager

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone.  The shell cracks, its insides come out, and everything changes.  To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would seem like complete destruction.” – Cynthia Occelli

Building new habits is hard.   Whether I choose change or the change chooses me, there is always a tipping point, just before I see the growth, when the change feels like, looks like, sounds like complete destruction.  Instincts tell me to go back to what was comfortable because this is hard.  In those moments I find the need to remind myself to focus on the growth.  And when I can grasp on to growth, I can help others focus on the growth.  Building new habits is hard.  It requires embracing the destruction and choosing growth.

Karen Flom, Senior Manager Education Development


Learning to implement new behaviors is difficult and worth the effort. The process of self-reflection and application to improve is rarely intuitive. As humans we instinctively think we are doing things correctly (or perfectly, in some cases).  In particular, when we are in the moment, we tend to act or respond first, rather than pause and consider before reacting. For this year, it seems more people are, at the very least, taking time to reflect after the fact to consider how they can do better to learn from the situations they experience. It is important to set aside time to purposefully reflect on our individual journey. For 2019, it has been an area to work on with some progress and more progress to be made for me, personally. Looking forward, it will help to pause and consider before responding.

Peter Mariahazy, Chief Administrative Officer


My reflection is there is no substitute for a good question – the essence of humble leadership. I just think about how much I learn when I truly enter a conversation without assuming I know the [other person’s] response. It’s sometimes (lots of times) hard, because I think the other person will think I’m stupid by asking such a seemingly simple question, but I learn so much about where the other person’s mindset is by asking, so I do.

Rachel Regan, Program Director


The Ripple Effect. Always be aware of the ripple effect. Even in my own work I have come to realize that making a change can impact other things. Sometimes for the better and others not so much. I resolve to consider the ripple effect when I make decisions.

It is easier to gain input than buy-in. It is important to get input from people who may be impacted or affected by a change or new initiative early and often. This way they have their fingerprints on it. If you wait and just try to get their buy-in they will feel disrespected and instinctively resist the change.

Sara Thompson, Communications Manager


No matter what side of the pond we are on, no matter the financials or what kind of payment system is in place, every healthcare system is working through the same issues. Every time I attend a gemba visit in any part of the world, I hear consistent themes:

  • Buy-in and modeling the way starts at the top (all the way to the Board)
  • Deselection of priorities to stop the overburden on organizations
  • Needing leadership in the gemba regularly to listen and help remove barriers
  • Sustaining standard work through auditing processes

We all have a shared experience and can help each other through our shared learning and insights.

Stephanie Van Vreede, Program Manager


This is about people coming together for a common cause.  Our customers, patients, families and teammates are all critically important. 

Our behaviors have a direct impact on our success.  How we show up for work each day. How we react to problems and issues.  How we treat one another.  Actions speak louder than convictions.

The importance of this work.  Unfortunately, I have had family members and friends who have needed to use health services this year.  The experiences and results have been both positive and poor.  We must continue the improvement journey.

The importance of continuous learning.  There is no silver bullet.  There is no single blueprint that anyone can just take and implement.  PDSA thinking and rapid experiments will help us continuously improve.

The importance of sharing. So much of this is experiential.  Sharing helps us learn what others have tried.  Sharing and opening your organization to outsiders reinforces to our organization the importance of this work.

Brian Veara, Program Director


My reflection for 2019 was around there is some amazing improvement work being done through the CHVN and the lean leaders we work with are dedicated to improving the healthcare experience.  They run into many roadblocks and deterrents in this work, but they keep going.  I am awed by their determination, resiliency, intellect and focus.

Chris Weisbrod, Network Manager


We encourage all of you to reflect on what you learned this year and how you can use those learnings to continue to improve healthcare for patients, staff, and communities.

Please share your reflections in the comments section below.


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