Hope as the Secret Sauce: Positive Organizations Consortium Member Profile

March 8, 2023

By: Amy Young

Jared Christensen

Jared Christensen

Dr. Jared Christensen, Assistant Clinical Professor of Radiology at Michigan Medicine, recently accepted the role of Director of Operations in the Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology knowing that he would have the opportunity to work on culture. The division incorporates the use of radiology during surgical procedures and requires physicians, nurses, and radiology technicians to work in unison under high pressure. As the Director of Operations, Jared has been highly invested in building relational coordination and a positive culture in the division.

Knowing that the pandemic has created increased stress to healthcare professionals, I asked Jared, “Do you ever think about building hope among your employees and if so how do you go about it?

“I think about building hope all the time. I see hope as a “secret sauce,” an essential ingredient in the recipe for an exceptional workplace. Without hope, work is dull and meaningless. Psychological safety is paramount to building hope. Dreams and aspirations are personal expressions of inner desires and values, and sharing those dreams and aspirations only happens in safe spaces, and it only happens in reciprocal relationships. 

I try to create opportunities for sharing whenever I can, and I find ways to engage people together to find common values and experiences. I pay attention to people’s lives – their families, their hobbies, things like that. People love to talk about their lives outside of work, and when we engage in these short conversations, it becomes easy to share with one another. Asking people about their dreams outside of work sets the foundation for asking them about their aspirations and dreams in the workplace. 

Of course, aspiring for something and planning to achieve it are two complementary halves to hope and optimism. I involve others in the planning of how to achieve shared goals and aspirations. I put complementary people together in these efforts, using the synergy between aligned individuals to create energetic relationships. Successes spring from those relationships. 

I also work diligently to reduce “hope suckers.” There’s a long list of things like inefficiencies, delays, and organizational inertia that can suck the soul out of people and squash hope. Mitigation of the hope suckers can be a large part of what I do as I try to maintain the sense of purpose, enjoyment, and fulfillment that I want to exist in my people.” 

Dr. Jared Christensen is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Radiology at Michigan Medicine.

The Positive Organizations Consortium is a vibrant, leader-to-leader learning and networking community designed to create highly effective workplaces where people thrive. Established in 2014 at the Center for Positive Organizations, our members empower people and teams to reach their full potential through the science of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS).