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  • Writer's pictureBruce Crandall

Leading and Finishing with Core Values

Sometimes partnerships form in unexpected ways. Take, for instance, our relationship with the healthcare consultancy, Inspire Nurse Leaders™. Supporting nurses across the U.S., they wanted to understand the needs and attitudes of nurse leaders during this pandemic. But it wasn’t just expertise or experience that convinced Lori Armstrong, CEO, to work with MDI, it was core values.

Lori Armstrong, PhD

CEO & Chief Clinical Officer

Inspire Nurse Leaders

Here are a few excerpts from a recent conversation with Lori about our initial meeting and subsequent work with their organization...

How did you originally decide to work with MDI?

"I’ve run surveys or participated in surveys for a long time. I needed to do one again, and MDI was recommended to me by a brand strategist colleague of mine. I first went on your website and saw that I was dealing with a quality company and saw your stated core values. We then set up an initial call with Ron Gailey at MDI. I could tell Ron was a good human, honest, had integrity—those are my key values—and I'm pretty good at spotting them. So I felt like they would deliver a well-designed study by experts with integrity that wanted to do the best they could for my area of focus. That's why we went with MDI."

What were you hoping to get out of the research?

"I'm a scientist. I have a doctorate in nursing leadership practice. Nurse leaders don't have a lot of time. They're busy, overworked, have eight-hour days with 14 hours-worth of work to do. And it's never done. So I wanted to get the best information in the shortest amount of time with the fewest number of questions. I wanted the study to validate what nurse leaders were going through and what their vision for the future was amid this pandemic."

What surprises came out of the research, if any?

"Do you know what the “aha” moment was? The reaction to PPE. It ranked at the bottom of concerns for nurse leaders! That was the biggest call out for me. Not everybody was experiencing a shortage and it didn’t rank as their top concern. The second biggest callout was that nurses don’t want to be viewed as “heroes.” They’re respectful and honored that people honor them. But they really just want to be viewed as clinical experts and patient advocates, not heroes."

How beneficial has this research been to you?

"I have chills saying this because what the research revealed is that the challenges during COVID and post-COVID—the things we have to focus on—are not new! And that makes me sad. The pandemic exaggerated it to global proportions. Some things have not been working in nursing for a really long time. One of the things I'm going to take forward is helping nurses find their voice by convincing them to take their skill set in both advocating for their patients and advocating for their profession. So what are we going to do with this research? We have a moral responsibility and obligation to do something with these data and the global attention we have earned. We cannot let it go. Hold onto it and use it for the good of the patients we serve!"

Why would you work with MDI again?

"Core values are critical, number one for me.
Number two, I wanted a quality product. I could have thrown together a 10-question survey myself. But I wanted something that was expertly done, scientifically done, and had the evidence of survey design behind it so I could trust the results—something I’d feel comfortable sharing with colleagues worldwide.
Number three, the customized approach and the back and forth collaboration. You really queried me on the background and framework. It wasn’t a canned survey. It was customized to the uniqueness of what we were doing.
Added to this was curiosity, number four. You asked real questions: “What does this mean?” “What does that mean?” But I could also ask, “I don't think this question works?” And then you’d explain the science behind it and I was good with that.
And number five, I also appreciated the fast turnaround time, professionalism, quality of deliverables, and so forth. It was great."


Coaches like to talk about “intangibles”—attributes or behavior that are difficult to measure, don’t require physical talent, but are crucial to success—but for researchers and their clients that depend on truth, intangibles (“core values”) like integrity, curiosity, authenticity, hard work, value for the money, etc. are worth their weight in gold. To see MDI’s core values, click here.

About MDI

We’re all about you… Strategic. Fast. Value-driven. Clear. In the moment. Experienced. Resourceful. Confident. And of course, Mobile. We love collaborating, always keeping you top of mind. That’s why we’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest companies in over 40 countries—and right in your own neighborhood.


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