At Nason Group, we bring The Power of Yes! and our empathy exercises to large healthcare companies like Walmart and Quest Labs to help them solve big business problems by asking, “How might we?”
Last weekend, we got to think through those same big issues through The Power of Candy Land.
Our founder, Shawn Nason, is on the advisory board of the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation (C4K), co-founded in 2006 by Annette Logan-Parker with one goal: to change the way children with cancer receive healthcare.
That’s no small task, especially for a team that works with children who are very ill. When dealing with patients battling childhood cancer and their families, the staff knows how to deliver empathy and utmost compassion and care. It’s not a struggle to teach them empathy.
The struggle is that the staff operates with their empathy powered on at all times to care for the patients and families.
The C4K team works in clinical environments with parents and patients who are undergoing life-changing diagnoses and treatments, which can lead quickly to feeling burnt out. Although the team loves what they do, it can be incredibly emotionally draining.
Logan-Parker has always challenged her team to focus on the difference between what is, and what should be — and in doing so, C4K holds the Gold Standard of accreditation from The Joint Commission for their clinical operation, along with several other accolades. But the team needed to go one step further to stay recharged themselves, beyond the awards and clinical successes.
With that in mind, Logan-Parker closed all operations for a few days so that employees could come together in Las Vegas and fill their own, drained, empathy tanks.
Nason Group created a life-sized (well, the size we think it would be if it came to life) Candy Land path for the team to communicate. Using the Candy Land path, the team was encouraged to think of one another and learn more about each other, finding ways to surprise each other based on that knowledge, and enumerating new ways to make processes and communication easy among the different departments.
The theme for the path was Know Me, Surprise Me, and Make it Easy for Me, with 10 stations for each group. At each station, the group took a Peppermint card with instructions and then moved to the Gumdrop, where they completed an activity. Activities included creating a “magic object” to solve a problem, imagining a redesign of their facilities to better serve patients and staff, and sharing from a day-in-the-life diary to understand how someone’s role makes an impact on the work they do and challenges they experience each day. Other stations were recharging stations, including a meditation room and a gratitude tree. For each station, Nason Group helped groups create, imagine and breathe.
For anyone working in healthcare, burnout and emotional exhaustion are major issues. But, when teams are able to take time away from their patients and daily workload to recharge and reconnect as a team, everyone — including patients — will benefit.
*Did you know that the game Candyland was invented specifically for young patients suffering from polio? A schoolteacher devised the game 70 years ago to give immobilized children in quarantine the fantasy of movement. You can read more about it here.