3 Lessons I’ve Learned on Values Driven Organizations
When Keaton Ray and I founded MovementX, we set out to do something different. Finding ‘a better way’ became a core tenant of who we are as an organization and representative of the ideals we aspire to achieve.
What exactly that ‘better way’ meant took time to figure out, articulate, and express. Now, it’s clearer than ever.
When people look at us, they often see mobile physical therapy, but I’ve never thought of where we deliver physical therapy as something that differentiates us.
Yes, we provide physical therapy wherever, whenever, and however you’d like, but that’s not what makes us who we are.
Ultimately, I’ve realized one of the key distinguishing factors MovementX boils down to is the values we choose to uphold.
A Better Way
At MovementX, we strive to be a values-driven organization. We are by no means perfect, and we can always improve, but we treat our values as a guiding light for all of our decisions and actions.
Our four values—empathy, community, kaizen, and passion x purpose—inform the core of who we are and what we do on a daily basis. And we do it through the lens of helping people move and live their best with physical therapy and personal training.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a true values-driven organization. I’ve had challenging lessons and been fortunate to experience many proud moments. Here are the top 3 take homes in my journey towards becoming a leader in a values-driven organization thus far:
It makes tough decisions easier
In challenging situations, there’s nothing more important than leaning on your values. AirBNB does this well. When the pandemic hit, they quickly moved to institute a blanket refund policy for their customers, helped hosts who experienced canceled stays, housed first responders, and even provided healthcare and job opportunities for the staff they were forced to lay off. During the recent crisis in Ukraine, they offered free housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, and users have been purchasing AirBNB rentals from Ukrainian hosts, even though they are not staying.
At MovementX, we were not big enough to respond at that scale during the pandemic. But, at a time when most physical therapy organizations were shutting their doors, we chose to open ours.
While many physical therapists were getting laid off or furloughed, we opened our doors, brought on new providers, and tried to facilitate creative and safe ways to care for our community. The team channeled their ingenuity to develop online classes, host outdoor physical therapy sessions (when it was clearly safe to do so), fundraise for first responders, and more. It also happened to be one of the quickest periods of growth in our company’s history.
It may invoke judgement, but communication is key
One of the challenging aspects of putting values upfront is that judgment can come quickly. Even appearing from the moment you step out of line with those values. Sometimes you might even think your action derives from a values system, but it can be interpreted as hypocritical nonetheless.
Not only are people quicker to judge, but the standards often seem higher. In a study of over 500 companies, authors found there was no correlation between official values and company culture. In my interpretation, that means we have to work to do.
At MovementX, we believe success begins with what and how we communicate. Starting with staff, we have been working towards communication that hits our 3 C’s: concise, consistent, and clear. We often discuss how we communicate internally and how we can do better.
The need for great communication appears in the clinical world. Too often, clinicians will work on their clinical skills but don’t look at all factors that impact quality patient care. In the realm of physical therapy care and collaboration with colleagues, what we say—and how we say it—really matters. The better we can communicate, the better our care will be.
Ultimately, it keeps your focus in the right place
While it might be harder, being a values-driven organization sets the foundation to be a healthy organization. Boldly sharing who you are and what you stand for helps attract the people who agree—and repels those who don’t.
Four years in, we have heard physical therapists share unprompted words such as “this is the best care I’ve ever provided in my life” and “this company has been good for every cell in my body.”
Those feelings ripple downstream to patients. We have been fortunate to receive hundreds of raving reviews from our patients too. They have shared words like “my provider has been a truly fine coach for me and… dare I say… healer,” and “he really listens and helps you find solutions.”
The above testimonials are a manifestation of one of our core beliefs—empowered providers will empower their patients. Finding the right tools and resources and sharing the right culture helps create the environment for great patient care.
For those that think the purpose of business is to maximize profit, a values-driven organization might not be for them. However, for those who believe the purpose of business is to maximize impact, leading with values is an important place to start.
About the Author
Dr. Josh D’Angelo is a physical therapist in Alexandria, VA and co-founder and CEO of MovementX. As a Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics, Josh D’Angelo is passionate about the role that a physical therapist can play in solving some of health care’s biggest challenges. His love of utilizing movement to improve health and quality of life fuels his efforts every day.
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