Written by 11:19 pm Motivation, Leadership & Success

What Are Your RPMs?

The 5 members of the hospital management team sat somewhat nervously around the conference room table. They had done their homework, gathered their metrics, and printed their reports. This was the first “official” meeting with their new boss and they wanted to start off on the right foot.

The new leader walked in right at 10:00am sharp. She wore a long sleeved, light gray pant suit, a brown belt and a white blouse. The sleeves were rolled up, and in her hand she carried a brown, leather notebook. Her name was Sandy Estrada.

“Good morning,” she said, in a pleasant, but also professional manner. “Let’s get down to business. What have you got for me?”

The team shot a few glances back and forth, uncertain exactly what their new VP of Pharmacy Operations was fishing for. The business manager, who had been at the hospital the longest spoke up first. “I’ve got the sales numbers for last month,” he said with a little hesitation in his voice, “and looks like we are tracking for about a 2.5% increase over last quarter.”

“That’s great,” she replied. “But what I really want to hear are your RPMs. Does anyone have those numbers?”

The faces in the room stared back at her blankly. “RPMs?”, said the manager of systems and security, “what are those?”

Sandy gave a knowing grin, as if to say, without words, she didn’t expect them to know what this was. She went to the whiteboard and picked up a blue marker. On the board she wrote: RPM = Recognitions Per Member.

She turned around and began speaking in a way that immediately commanded their interest and attention. “I want to commend each of you for being on time to this meeting today. Time is our most valuable asset, and when you show up on time it displays respect and appreciation for each other and for this organization.” She paused for a moment to let the compliment sink in. “That…was a recognition,” she said. “Think for a moment about how that made you feel.”

“John,” she said, turning to the manager of prescription inventory and fulfillment, “the next time I call a meeting, how likely are you to be on time?”

“I won’t be late!” he said emphatically with a smile.

“Right,” Sandy replied, “probably because you are just that type of person anyway. But now even more so because I took the time to recognize that behavior.”

“Recognitions per Member is our metric to track how effectively we are using this tool to encourage and build up our team. From this point forward I want you to track every direct and deliberate compliment you deliver to your team. I don’t care how you do it. But I just want a record of what was said to who and when. I’m not a micromanager. But I have a real concern for any business that tracks their finances down to the penny but doesn’t take the time to track the investment in their team through sincere compliments and honest appreciation.”

The rest of the meeting continued along a more traditional and expected fashion. Projects were reviewed. Budgets were tracked. Goals were developed. But the team never forgot the lesson of that first meeting with their boss, and they never showed up to another monthly meeting without their RPMs!

Last modified: December 16, 2023