Brady Wilson

This article is the fourth of a Juice blog series on “fossil fuel” and personal energy in the workplace. Stay tuned for more in the series over the next few weeks!

In the first article of this Fossil Fuel series, I introduced the concept of fossil fuel in the workplace: “dirty” sources of energy like shame, control and threats that produce a hot burn and quick results—but leave a greasy residue in the ecosystem.

In article #2, I shared a story of the impact that fossil fuel had in my personal life: how I crashed 10 km from the finish of an IRONMAN triathlon because I began to burn the fuel of shame, fear of failure and obligation.

In article #3, we began to look at the concept of “free energy”—fuel that’s ready for you to tap into if you can recognize it. Free energy comes from a counter-intuitive source: tension.

Today’s blog provides a concrete example of a leader who moved toward tension and released so much free energy that it transformed her entire organization.

Finding free energy at work

I’d like to introduce you to Leslee Thompson, who until recently was the CEO of Kingston General Hospital (KGH).

In 2008, public confidence and staff morale at KGH were at an all-time low. The hospital faced serious financial challenges and was under provincial supervision.

Thompson certainly had her work cut out for her when she came on as CEO.

But in a bold move, she stepped directly into the tension of the situation, inviting patients (many of whom had suffered harm at the hands of their caregivers) and family members to share what their lived experience at KGH was like.

Thompson listened to over 2,000 community members share their stories—and then promised to partner with them to make things better in the future. Instead of maintaining a damaging power-centric focus, she sought a solution that created a healthy, flourishing ecosystem. She invited them to be part of the solution.

Thompson quickly established the Patient and Family Advisory Council to help improve the patient experience and give those who had both negative and positive experiences a voice. She brought together people who were passionate about improving the patient experience at KGH, and who wanted to be part of fixing the problem.

Thompson and her fellow leaders made a declaration: “For any decision in our hospital that has a material impact on the patient, a Patient Experience Advisor will be at the table.”

Today, there are over 60 Patient Experience Advisors at KGH. They have key office space and a significant voice in big decisions. These advisors have used their strengths and talents to help hire over 400 staff members and have been known to volunteer upwards of 4,800 hours in a single month! Talk about a pool of free energy!

The innovative ideas put forth by the Patient Experience Advisors helped to transform KGH from a publicly scrutinized, struggling hospital into an international leader in patient and family-centred care. Most importantly, patients are now getting better, safer care.

By tapping into a huge, unexpected pool of free energy in previously disgruntled patients, Leslee Thompson led the way toward transforming the ecosystem at KGH.

Find and release your own ecosystem’s free energy source

As a leader, your role is to identify and release the free energy available to you.

Perhaps it is empowering your team in a new way, offering a key employee a greater sense of autonomy; or creating the kind of open communication that drives innovation within your organization.

Once you learn how to release free energy, you will be amazed by the way energy drives high performance, customer experiences and your profit margins.


Learn how to tap into clean energy in your workplace: register for a Juice Inc. Beyond Engagement webinar today!

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Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Co-Founder of Juice Inc, Thought Leader & Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Co-Founder of Juice Inc.

Jean-Francois (JF) Hivon

Jean-Francois (JF) Hivon

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Michael Torrie

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