Culture can be hard to pin down. It is dynamic and evolving, which are precisely the forces that also make it so powerful. Culture informs how people behave as individuals and in teams. When risk management plays a central role to your operations and success, as is the case in the medical field, creating a culture of risk takers is essential.

Each hospital organization will have a different appetite for risk, that will guide their management strategy and inform their culture. Despite variations between organizations, there is a unifying quality that successful cultures of risk have in common: staying proactive. It is the only way to embed a culture of risk taking into the organizational DNA and remain relevant over time.

Let’s start at the top: leadership. Meaningful change comes from the top down, from those who lead. Show up; be present and active with your team and processes. Judith Provencher, Vice President of Claims and Risk Managements at Inspirien says “be brave enough to say, if it didn’t get the result you were hoping for, make another change.” Here’s an example of change she recommends you can start with today: invite everyone to meetings, regardless of hierarchy. Accountability will be established and diverse participation will create buy-in that enhances the quality of your culture top-to-bottom, 360 degrees.

Secondly, transparency reigns. Transparency is a powerful tool and when leadership shows their priorities and demonstrates them through budget and actions, others can follow suit. This is especially important to establish because in any emergency, such as in unprecedented times like during COVID, things move fast. The entire team will be responsible for dynamism and working in scenarios that are perhaps outside their training or comfort zone. Transparency breeds trust and provides stable footing in uncertain times.

Lastly, boundaries are empowering. Do not overlook the importance of establishing where the boundaries are. Speak them openly and reinforce them with empathy. It is critical that your team feels safe so that they can act with authority and claim expertise within their realm in order to do their jobs well. Building these boundaries are checkpoints that reverberate throughout a hospital system.

Ultimately, a strong appetite for risk – provided the right qualities are in place – can yield a highly efficient workplace, in both its systemic and organic manifestations. Culture must be cultivated and it begins with a proactive mindset. Judith goes on to say, “to change a strategy that is embedded is risky. But there is a payoff.”