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Accountability Resources | Forgiveness Model

With accountability being one of the core values of PAW Health, one of the things that we decided to do was implement something that we call the forgiveness model. What we identified is when upholding accountability, what we have to do is have an effective means to remove the emotional elements within problem solving and collaboration.

So what the forgiveness model does is it provides us the opportunity to effectively engage on the emotional components of accountability so that we can acknowledge and solve that issue and then move on to the more objective or factual based items in collaboration.

Part of those deliberate steps to actually get from ownership up into solutions has to include forgiveness. We have to forgive ourselves, but we also have to request forgiveness from other people. It’s a very deliberate process and it can be somewhat uncomfortable to do.

But the more times we do it, the more times we see that forgiveness actually isn’t scary, that making mistakes isn’t scary, that it’s all here as a process of growth.

Asking for forgiveness makes it much easier for us to actually get rid of the emotions of an accountable event and exclusively focus on the solutions and our ability to implement what those solutions are.

When using the forgiveness model there are a few rules that really help optimize the effectiveness of this tool. The first is that both parties are fully engaged and invested in the process. The more that we have participation on both sides, the more effective the tool is. The second rule is that the forgiver must acknowledge that they are sacrificing something for the sake of forgiveness. In most times it’s going to be that opportunity for resentment or just holding something over somebody’s head. The third rule is that both parties must be ready to engage on a continuous basis moving forward.

The way that we actually develop this skill set is through practice. This is going to be something that you have to practice over and over, and it develops a way of thinking that ultimately dictates the way in which you communicate. Any time that a negative emotional reaction is incited in you and you have a hard time explaining it, typically that’s going to be a good opportunity to exercise the forgiveness model. The last rule within the forgiveness model is that once everything is all said and done, we still have to set what our fall tolerance is in the event of repeated error.

How often or how repeated can this error really be made again? And then once we exceed that limitation, what are the accountable measures that we have to take? The implementation of forgiveness does not negate or remove accountability. It allows us to reestablish what it is that we are seeking to solve. In the forgiveness model, there are a few inherent barriers that we like to discuss, to make sure that we are always on the same page when engaging this tool. We both have to agree as parties involved that we are pushing towards the opportunity to serve the patient more effectively.

The second barrier to forgiveness is going to be personality differences and a weak tolerance for individuality. There are potentially going to be innate personality differences that lend themselves towards conflict. The reason that we use the Advanced Insights assessment is to note what those potential barriers are before we ever engage this tool and prepare both parties for what that potential conflict would be. The third barrier to forgiveness is going to be residual pain and spite, but also poor tolerance of habitual behavior. Basically, what this barrier is, is not being able to come to an agreed upon resetting point.

If there have been so many things that two people have been engaged on that have created a level of resentment that is insurmountable, sometimes the forgiveness model is just not going to be able to function. If we are unable to release what has happened in the past, that can be a barrier that will greatly inhibit our ability to grow moving forward.

So focusing on exoneration, what we first have to do is get to the point of a shared reality. And this is why the after action and case review process is so important, because shared reality will set you up for success. Once we have a shared reality, the first step is that the offender must accept full ownership of the failed expectation. The next step then is apologizing for the failed expectation. We can acknowledge at any time that we have failed expectations that it impacts our team in a negative way.

The more that we can be genuinely sorry for those failed expectations, the easier it is for the entire group to move forward. The third step is going to be a pledge for change. The next step is that they’re going to ask for forgiveness. And then right thereafter, the group that is involved, everybody that was affected by the failed expectation, is going to choose to forgive them.