Spender or Maker. Which kind of healthcare marketer are you?

I was recently speaking with a hospital CEO about his views on marketing, and he said “You know, there are two types of marketers – those that spend money and those that make money. I prefer the latter.” Good point, of course. We should all fall into the “maker” category. How can you make sure you do?

Four ways to avoid being categorized as a “spender”:

  • Make data-driven decisions. There’s no better way to position yourself as a maker than using data to determine where and how to best utilize your marketing resources. Data can make the difference between doing what the “loudest voice in the room” blindly dictates and truly pinpointing the way you as a marketer can bring in volume and the best payer mix. Also, use data to set attainable goals—how much volume is realistic to anticipate, and in what timeframe? If stealing market share is necessary, where will it come from and how much? Which leads to my next point.
  • Track everything against goal. Once you’ve used data to identify your best course of action and set goals for your marketing effort, track everything. Everything. In addition to volume and market share (which can take a good bit of time to actually gather), key performance indicators (KPIs) can quickly tell you how well your conversion funnel is performing. Calls, clicks, form fills, online appointments, and other KPIs are absolutely essential to watch closely during the course of your campaign. This also allows you to adjust as needed if the funnel is not converting as well as anticipated.
  • Use a CRM platform. If you’re one of the last marketing leaders out there without a CRM platform, get one. Now. I’m not recommending one over the others; there are several really good CRMs out there. It all comes down to the quality of your account team, in my experience, so demand the best. It can really make a difference in how well you and your team use the technology behind CRM to create vey effective, very efficient campaigns. And, you can show your results from a data-driven perspective. Which again leads to my next point.
  • Report your results. How will others know you’re a maker—not a spender—if you don’t share your results? The key is to make your reporting format as easy to understand as possible. Infographics are always king, but also have the hard data available for those who prefer it. And do this on a regular basis. Share it more frequently with senior leaders and don’t forget to let other levels of the organization know how well their marketing dollars are working for them. Because you’re a maker.
  • I hope these tips are helpful to you in either affirming what you’re already doing or giving you some things to consider working into your marketing program. It can be easy for marketing to be left out of C-suite discussions, and it’s so critical that we’re there so we can provide our best service to the organization. Spenders don’t get a seat at the table. Makers do.

    Read other posts by Janice:

    Process Transformation: a Way to Reduce Cost, Improve Quality, etc. etc. etc.

    Your Healthcare Marketing Plan: What’s Missing?

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    Your Healthcare Marketing Plan: What’s Missing?

    Everyone knows that the foundation of a good healthcare marketing plan is a focus on where an organization is trying to maintain and grow market share, and where the opportunities lie for expanding reach and volume. And, hopefully, it is based on a solid strategic plan with immediate and long-term goals. But often, there are a number of key sections that are left out—overlooked elements that can move a good marketing plan to excellence, taking advantage of all the layers of outreach in a healthcare marketer’s virtual toolkit. I offer six to consider below.

    Six Sections Often Left Out of a Healthcare Marketing Plan

    1. Internal Communications. First off, internal audiences can help reinforce your key messages and themes. But only if you take the time to engage them. Employees, physicians, and volunteers want to “get it” and be included. Include a section that focuses on doing just that.
    2. Media Relations. Why not strategically incorporate earned media into your plan to help reinforce your key themes in an instantly credible way? Take control of your media outreach so that it supports what you’re working to achieve through paid channels.
    3. Community Outreach and Sponsorships. Your organization probably does a lot to give back to the community and support important local initiatives. Some of this can be incorporated into your plan to support service line and program messaging. Think about how to promote your outreach while promoting your key marketing goals, without being too self-serving. It can be very powerful.
    4. Payer Strategy. Healthcare marketers don’t often think about payers, but we should. As the major conduit for reimbursement, you want payers to know your organization has a positive reputation and strong consumer demand. This can be leveraged during contract negotiations. Consider how to target payers with your messaging in ways that are relevant and memorable.
    5. Niche Targeting. Depending on your market, you may have the opportunity to message to a number of cultural niche audiences—Hispanic, African American, Asian, etc. Where appropriate, in-language marketing can be very favorably received. Experiential marketing can be incorporated to engage these audiences in ways that are meaningful to them, bringing them closer to your brand.
    6. Consumer Engagement. Lastly, think of how you can engage consumers when they aren’t in need of your services. Done well, these efforts can actually build your brand much more effectively than a multi-media service line or image campaign. Think of how you can interact with consumers in ways that support your brand and provide value—outside the typical provider-patient relationship.

    Take out your marketing plan and reflect on whether any of these sections are missing, and how you might incorporate them to bring greater value to your organization. As marketers, that’s our responsibility. I’d love to hear from you on how you utilize these ideas, as well as any additional thoughts you might have.

    Read other posts by Janice:

    Process Transformation: a Way to Reduce Cost, Improve Quality, etc. etc. etc.

    Your Healthcare Marketing Plan: What’s Missing?

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    Process Transformation – A Way to Reduce Cost, Improve Quality, Etc., Etc., Etc.

    “Gary Skarke is an expert in the area of transformation. His company’s success, for the most part, has been outside of healthcare but has touched healthcare on a small scale. As we all know, healthcare is going through a significant transformation and most of what he will share in the article below aligns well with what is happening in the healthcare industry today."

    This is the third article in a series of articles focusing on the many types of transformation his company has helped other organizations navigate successfully and how these same situations are occurring within healthcare today.” – Jim Wiederhold

    Click here to read the first and second article.

    Process transformation focuses on making major changes to the activities and tasks (the how) by which the organization delivers its products and/or services. A core process (i.e., one that adds value to the customer) might be inquiry to order, order to cash, or product line development. Tools used to transform processes frequently includes business process reengineering, process redesign, Six Sigma, Lean or other quality related tools.

    A global software manufacturer reduced the cost to process a customer order from $800 to $125. Sales reps saved an average of two hours a week (7% improvement) contacting customers by phone. The CEO said, “Sales reps tell me the time they used to spend putting together sales forecasts now spend that time on strategies to make that forecast a reality.” Initially, the client was frustrated because they spent several months analyzing the “as is” order process and the team was totally unmotivated. Their over analysis was paralyzing them. They quickly re-energized when they shifted to redesigning the “to be” process.

    In healthcare, organizations are compelled to improve their treatments, eliminate non, value-added tasks, reduce wait time and cost, treat more patients -- while improving quality and patient outcomes. Such dramatic improvements can generally only be achieved and sustained with a rigorous and aggressive process improvement effort.

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    Three Reasons Why Healthcare Marketing is Different

    In this time of ever-intensified focus on consumerism in marketing and the comparative lack of it in healthcare, hiring managers sometimes think of recruiting marketing executives outside of the industry to fill healthcare marketing roles. They want to bring learnings in from other industries, like hospitality, financial institutions, and retail – which is a great idea. However, I would suggest hiring an excellent healthcare marketing leader who understands this notion and can reach out to SMEs in other industries for insights and advice, then bring that intel back to the healthcare system and incorporate it strategically.

    Why? Because healthcare marketing is different. How? Read on.

    1. Physicians. While the marketing programs for most industries focus on either B2B or B2C, and others a combination of both, healthcare includes those plus a couple more: B2P (P=physicians) and P2P. Physicians are the actual conduit for the work. Without them, hospitals, ERs, surgery centers, and even other physicians can’t survive. While healthcare marketers must focus attention on consumers and employers, they must also be savvy in understanding how and when to promote physicians (within regulatory guidelines – which are tangled), as well as how and when to market to them for referral purposes. There are a lot of audiences, layers, and regulations.
    2. Payers. While physicians are the conduits for the work, payers are the conduit for reimbursement, in most cases – not the consumer or the employer. This adds another audience to consider from a reputation and consumer demand perspective. And there are different types of payers – governmental and commercial – with different outlooks and expectations, to some degree. So while we’re targeting consumers, employers, and physicians we must keep in mind that one of our goals is to be on the top of the heap in terms of positive reputation and consumer preference – from a payer’s perspective. There’s a lot more than marketing that makes that happen, but marketers need to message around this – very strategically.
    3. Long tail sales cycle. Patience is a virtue, and it’s absolutely essential in healthcare marketing. While retail marketers know immediately if their latest marketing effort is working, healthcare marketers usually don’t. We can watch KPIs like click throughs, calls, form fills and the like, but the actual medical procedure typically takes weeks or even months to occur. This would frustrate marketers who don’t understand the healthcare sales cycle. It’s important to understand this on the front end of a marketing effort so that appropriate expectations can be set, and accurate forecasting can be done.

    For those reasons, leaders should focus on finding healthcare marketing experts who understand the importance of looking at other industries for ideas, and also deeply understand the nuances of the industry. It is possible to find a marketer who can bridge the gap, but it is rare. More often it becomes a costly experiment that can set the organization back. And no one wants that! Be smart. There are some very talented healthcare marketing leaders out there who get it.

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    A Case of Stinking Thinking?

    Are you or anyone you know suffering from an advanced case of “stinking thinking”, as Zig Ziglar would call it? Quick, you must do something about it! Do not get stuck in the vicious cycle of misery motivation as misery loves company. Here are some simple tactics that can help:

    • Research supports that the first significant encounter of the day impacts the rest of the day, more than 4 encounters combined in the rest of the day. Start your day with positive, relaxing or energizing activities and stay away from experiences or people that are negative triggers. You cannot avoid them, but knowing that they sap your energy, you need to ensure that they are not at the beginning of your day.
    • Self-talk is proven to lead to a winning attitude. May feel a little weird but it works! Your brain needs positive stimulation in terms of encouragement and who better to do it than you. The Pygmalion Effect or self-fulfilling prophecy is equally true when applied to yourself.
    • If you do not enjoy self-talk, have a wish box. Write down notes or desires or wishes that you want to come true. Every night or morning take a quick look at them, so you are reiterating them to yourself. The power of repetition cannot be underestimated.
    • Eyes are a window to your soul! You cannot consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with how you see yourself. So, work on your self-image. You must be your biggest advocate and promote yourself. Be aware of your strengths, leverage them and work on your areas for improvement. Set simple goals for yourself so you view progress and that enhances your self-confidence.
    • Attitude is a discipline - it teaches you obedience and enhances your leadership abilities. We all look up to role models that inspire us with their attitude as well as actions. Positive thinking has its limitations I agree. You cannot do everything just with an attitude perhaps, but you can surely do everything better than you can with a negative attitude.
    • Change your lens. Do not be a fault finder. Find the good in things or people. Use appreciative inquiry when you interact with others. You cannot control what others do or say but you can choose how to react or be proactive and choose how you let other people in.
    • Get your neurotransmitters to do the work! Dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and endorphins are known to physiologically boost your “emotions”. Learn more about how you can help yourself release these and build that into your routine. Physical exercise is one easy way, but everyone’s body and life circumstances are different so find what works for you.
    • Attitude of gratitude. The healthiest of all emotions is gratitude. It is very easy to let one negative encounter or one aspect of our life or work that is not working in our favor to influence everything else. Make a gratitude list and look at it often. On better still, think of one thing that you are grateful for at the start of each day. For every reason that you find to be miserable, I guarantee you can find at least 2-3 to celebrate, you just need to look!
    • Give it all you got! I tell students that I mentor, don’t have too many options. Although prudence suggests having a backup plan, it dilutes your efforts and attention. Data supports that immigrants are 4 times more likely to become millionaires in America. Why is that? As an immigrant, it is the unwavering persistence and the commitment to excel and not having many options that has driven me consistently. Now your goal doesn’t have to become a millionaire but regardless push yourself to your limits and see how your destiny unfolds!

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    Your business’ future lies in an abundant strategy – not in scarcity

    In Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, the authors make the point that technological developments and continuing innovation will bring to the world a future of abundance rather than scarcity, of increasing prosperity rather than increasing poverty. I believe that they are right so long as we can maintain freedom in general, free markets in particular, reasonable levels of taxation and relative peace throughout the world. As I pondered on the ideas they presented, it occurred to me that a business leader needs to have an abundance mindset in strategic development. An overall scarcity strategy cannot bring a strong and bright future to an organization. We cannot simply cut and slash our way into growth and prosperity. Nor can we simply spend our way into growth and prosperity. An abundance strategy is one of tremendous value generation.

    My wife and I built a home using a general contractor who builds custom, luxury homes. I commented to him one day that it had occurred to me that there are three types of people who buy a custom home:

    1. Maximum WOW! These buyers do not care how much it cost. They want to upstage everyone else at any cost.
    2. Maximum value. Value is defined as quality divided by cost. These buyers are willing to spend more money if they get a good return on their investment relative to their experience living in the home and to their resale value.
    3. Maximum value. Value is defined as quality divided by cost. These buyers are willing to spend more money if they get a good return on their investment relative to their experience living in the home and to their resale value.

    I told him that I thought that he could build homes for wow buyers and value buyers, but he could not build a home for an economy buyer to which he agreed.

    At first glance we may be tempted to see a maximum wow strategy as an abundance strategy, but maximum wow and maximum economy are both scarcity strategies. Both strategies are low value generation strategies, and low value generation will sooner or later lead to scarcity. In maximum wow the cost is too high relative to the quality generated. In maximum economy the cost is low, but the quality generated is too low relative to that cost. The abundance future is in high value generation that comes in a maximum value strategy.

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    Changes to the Wiederhold & Associates Team

    We wanted to make you aware of some changes to the Wiederhold & Associates team. Please see our announcement below.

    Mitali Paul, MHA, MBA, FACHE, who has been with Wiederhold & Associates almost four years, recently accepted an opportunity to step back into a hospital executive role. As of August 1st, she will be the CEO of a brand new inpatient rehabilitation hospital scheduled to open in Fall 2018. While we will miss her and her contributions to Wiederhold, we are sure you join us in wishing her much success in her new role. Mitali will continue as a trusted advisor to our organization moving forward.

    Chris Ekrem, MBA, FACHE, has come on-board as Vice President of Business Development and Operations for Wiederhold & Associates. Chris brings two decades of hospital administration experience in healthcare operations, management and financial leadership. He led highly successful business development projects during his tenure in operations and administrative leadership roles at community hospitals, academic medical centers and Critical Access Hospitals in Texas and Kansas. Chris began his career as a financial analyst at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida, and expanded his skill set through project manager and decision-support positions before advancing to the C-suite in roles as a Chief Operating Officer (Kansas) and a Chief Executive Officer (Texas). Most recently, he was Vice President at Tyler and Company; a retained healthcare executive search firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Chris earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Redlands in Redlands, California. He holds a board certification in healthcare management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). In addition to his long-standing membership in ACHE, Chris also has been active in state healthcare leadership as a Texas Hospital Association Leadership Fellows graduate and as a Kansas Hospital Association Leadership Institute graduate.

    Chris is very passionate about helping people in transition, delivering excellent customer service, and mentoring healthcare executives throughout their journey. In his free time, Chris enjoys teaching high school students about personal finance for Junior Achievement and mentoring early careerists through ACHE in Tennessee/ Georgia. Chris is married to Lindsey, his best friend, a busy mother of two, and a highly skilled nurse. He also tries to keep up with his enthusiastic two-year-old son, Grayson and six-year-old daughter, Brianna.

    Thank you,

    Jim Wiederhold

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    Confidence

    With confidence, you have won before you have started - Marcus Garvey

    As we continue to explore successful attributes, another imperative soft skill is confidence. Confidence is having faith in your own skills and abilities. It is an attribute difficult to measure, but its absence hardly goes unnoticed. Why is confidence so important? Confidence is attractive. Charismatic people tend to exude confidence. Confidence can help you harness your inner potential. Research supports that confident people accomplish more. It has the power to help you overcome challenging situations, take risks, and handle curveballs thrown at you. Confidence helps you establish trust with people and engage them. It makes you appear more competent and helps you win the respect of others. Dr. Ivan Joseph, a professional soccer coach admits that throughout his career he recruited his players not based on their talent – how high they could kick the ball, or how fast they could run or the team spirit they displayed, but on their self-confidence. He believes that everything else is a coachable skill or trait. Tedx Ryerson University

    You can display self-assuredness or lack thereof it in more ways than most people are aware of. How you present yourself, your gait, tone of voice, the words you use, non-verbal cues, interpersonal skills, relationships, even your online or social media presence can paint an image of your confidence level. All these aspects create your “presence”. A limp handshake, lack of eye contact, shifty movements, slouched posture, and excessive use of “I think”, “ums” and “ahs” are some common faux pas to watch for. Non-verbal cues are important expressions of power dominance. It governs how other people think and feel about you. You can influence other people’s reactions by exhibiting confidence. People tend to focus more on the delivery than the message itself. Hence, this can be a powerful tool in controlling how people view and react to you.

    Have you met someone and wondered how they landed that deal or got the job they have? I know I have many times. If it wasn’t relationships or networking that got them that far, it was their confidence and most likely their confidence played a very significant role in their relationships.

    Charisma is not the same as confidence but we all gravitate towards charismatic leaders. Another reason confidence is important is that appearing confident augments your charisma. Have you ever been in a room where one person’s presence dominated the room? They seemed to captivate their audience and drew people in with such ease. John Antonakis, an organizational behavior expert, suggests that charisma can be practiced as a skill utilizing verbal and non-verbal tactic. And once you grow your charisma and connect with more people, your confidence will inevitably be boosted. How to Read and Predict People

    Confidence is like a bank account - you must make deposits to have a balance available for withdrawals. You must draw from various sources so not to deplete your funds. Just like a diverse investment portfolio that minimizes risk, you need to have different buckets that you gain confidence from. Identify your buckets and keep them replenished. Recharge your batteries…success is just around the corner!

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    Strategy Transformation – A New Business Model for a Rapidly Changing Industry

    ‘Gary Skarke is an expert in the area of transformation. His company’s success, for the most part, has been outside of healthcare but has touched healthcare on a small scale. As we all know, healthcare is going through a significant transformation and most of what he will share in the article below aligns well with what is happening in the healthcare industry today.

    This is the second article in a series of articles focusing on the many types of transformation his company has helped other organizations navigate successfully and how these same situations are occurring within healthcare today.” – Jim Wiederhold

    Click here to read the first article.

    Strategy transformation focuses on developing and implementing a new strategy to respond to competitive pressures. One global company needed to grow revenue and profitability and their strategy was to expand their business model to sell not just products but also services. Previously, they sold software products and relied on customers to implement – but customers could not always implement successfully. So, the company made a strategic decision to get into the services business. The company realized they did not have the processes, skills, behaviors, metrics or culture to be successful in that new business model. “We don’t ever interact with the customer and our people do not have the skillsets to successfully interact with customers either.” Typically, such changes require five years. Given the urgency of the situation, the company went on a fast track implementation program. Based on the strategy Playbook for the first year and then three years, the company had a roadmap for making the significant transitions required. At the end of year three, our audit determined the company achieved the business results as well as operational results of doubling revenues and increasing profitability by 30%.

    In the U.S healthcare industry, organizations similarly must have dynamic strategies to determine how to maneuver the changing regulatory and legislative landscape and then quickly and successfully implement that strategy, while ensuring a focus on patient centered care and value. Legislation is changing the way healthcare providers do business but cannot negatively impact delivery of healthcare services to patients. As a result, organizations are trying to merge or acquire other providers in the healthcare chain, such as CVS acquiring a health insurance company, pharmacies (both stand alone and grocery-store based) provide clinic services, and healthcare systems are formed to take advantage of economies of scale and increased market share. Given the short time horizon, it is even more critical to have flexible strategies with expedited implementation to ensure results are achieved before the next wave of changes occur.

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    How to be Intentional every day

    The word intentionality or intentional has become very popular over the last couple of years. Hopefully, the meaning of the word will not be dumbed down to the point of being overused and ineffective.

    Intentional- Done on purpose, deliberate

    Intentionality- The fact of being deliberative and purposive

    I embraced this word almost two years ago and it has become a very important part of my vocabulary and ultimately -- my success.

    I attach intentionality to nearly everything I do. Whether it be choosing what to eat for breakfast or looking at my schedule for the day, in that moment, I am focused on giving the best of me and intentionally becoming hyper-focused and in-the-moment.

    Here are some ideas that apply not just to career transition but also to you in your everyday interactions.

    1. Be focused on your interactions. Any interaction, whether on the personal or business side, I make a conscious effort to bring some level of value to the interaction. I don’t just pull this out of the sky, I think about it before the interaction actually takes place. However, this does not mean I have to control the conversation. Even when all my plans fall by the wayside, I can be a very intentional listener and that will always bring value to the conversation.
    2. Minimize multitasking. Make the most of your day with “zones.” I am intentional about getting the most out of each and every day. I utilize the concept of zones. Setting my calendar up this way allows me to reach proficiency in one task before moving onto the next zone. I relate it to running because in the beginning, you’re not very efficient, but as you proceed you reach the highest level of efficiency in your stride and breathing with the least amount of energy. However, eventually you will start to tire and you will lose that efficiency. It is at this point that I move into the next zone. I do not allow, as much as possible, outside disturbances to distract me while I am in that zone and I do not engage in multitasking. I am very much in the moment.
    3. Find balance in your daily routine. After many years, I’ve come to realize that three things must be in balance in my life in order for me to be at my best. They are sleep, diet, and exercise. When these are not in alignment, I don’t make the best decisions, nor do I ask the best questions. On days when I’m out of balance, I will minimize my contact with people and not make any major decisions. Even this is intentional. We all have off days. Overall, I am very intentional about keeping these in balance. It’s not just being aware of the need for this balance, but taking action and creating the best, most intentional you.

    Intentionality has a great deal do with preparation. Without preparation, how can we really be intentional? Without preparation, how successful can we be? Let us not fly by the seat of our pants, let us be purposeful about what we do, mindful about how we live and what value we have to offer in each and every moment.


    Join the WIN (Wiederhold Intentional Network)!

    The main purpose of the Wiederhold Intentional Network is to take networking from the typical shotgun approach to the rifle approach.

    1. You will expand your network with little effort on a consistent ongoing basis with individuals at a similar level.
    2. You will gain industry intelligence from these key interactions.
    3. Most important, you will give back to others as a resource and a catalyst.
    4. It's free!

    Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to join or click here for more information!

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    Grit = Passion + Persistence

    When we talk about attributes or “soft” skills that play an important role in determining success, grit is somewhat of an unknown. Recently I was introduced to Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED talk about her research on “grit” as a predictor of success in work and life. The dictionary defines grit as “courage and resolve; strength of character”. When you think about successful leaders – having a values-based character, a strong passion for and commitment towards a vision, and the resilience to achieve it, is what stands out. Your professional journey is a marathon and not a race. To be in it for the long haul is success (not just achieving the milestones along the way), and it takes more than just talent or intelligence. Passion can drive you to graduate school or to innovate and start a company, but it is perseverance that will help you succeed and thrive. Can grit alone get you there? Probably not, but lack of grit surely will not!

    It involves staying steadfast on your path, overcoming failures and viewing challenges as opportunities to grow, regardless of the effort involved. It involves risk, sacrifice, sincerity and self-control. It takes deliberate practice and intentional strategy. As Lincoln said “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 of those hours sharpening my axe. “

    Grit is a fascinating word for me personally. I have always appreciated passion and perseverance but to find a word that can articulate both of those significant qualities together is delivering a power packed punch! So, as you take on that next challenge in your personal or professional life, ask yourself if you have the grit to see it through. If you don’t, work on changing your mindset first. And if you do, success should follow…

    Connect with us on LinkedIn, join our Active Network Program and look at the other areas of connection we offer.

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    Hard-wiring Your "Soft" Skills

    We all know that the secret sauce to success is having the right ingredients of skills, knowledge and abilities. Skills and knowledge can be gained through educational training, work experience and mastery through practice. The abilities often revolve around the “soft” skills you possess. One definition sums it up for me – “Soft skills are the personal attributes, personality traits, inherent social cues, and communication abilities needed for success on the job. Soft skills characterize how a person interacts in his or her relationships with others.” (Source: The Balance)

    Why are these skills important? Have you met a highly qualified and brilliant person who may be struggling in their career? Well, chances are that their EQ (emotional quotient) may not be as high as their IQ (intelligence quotient). Teamwork, communication, leadership, listening, negotiation, self-promotion, critical thinking, conflict management, innovation, flexibility, emotional regulation, persuasion - the list maybe endless depending upon your professional niche. But these skills help you better utilize your technical skills and be more effective and competent in what you do. Lack of these skills can also be “derailers” to your success. We spend years sharpening our “hard” skills through school and continuing education, certifications etc. But not enough attention is paid to investing in cultivating the soft skills which are much harder to master but can really differentiate you in a highly competitive market. Although some of these abilities maybe innate, most of them can be developed through awareness and deliberate practice.

    Through heightened emotional intelligence, you can learn how to balance the rational and limbic systems in your brain and enhance your personal and social competence. The four core skills of emotional intelligence are – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. As you advance through the various domains, the soft skills become easier to master. The first step is to identify key skills that are necessary for success in your chosen field. You can do this by reviewing “job descriptions” for positions like yours, speaking with role models, mentors, industry stalwarts. The next step is a self- evaluation exercise to help you identify which of these skills you possess and how strong they are and, which skills are areas for opportunity. There are several tools out there that can be used like Myers-Briggs, DiSC, Stengthfinders, Hogan Leadership Assessment, Leadership Circle Profile 360. You can also work with a coach on this and the next step. The final step is reviewing the assessment results and laying out an action plan to address the gaps and strategize on improvement. Behavioral change takes time and baby steps will help you get there.

    Over a series of blogs, we will explore several of these skills that can magnify your success, both personally and professionally. Stay tuned!

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    How to make the hiring manager believe you are the best candidate for the job

    As a job-seeker, one of our biggest pitfalls is failing to align ourselves properly with the position. Simply put, we use our language and not their language, otherwise known as the wording used within the job description. Your accomplishments and job experiences may fulfill all they are asking for and then some, but if you fail to communicate it in the organization’s words, your cover letter and resume are likely to get tossed aside and overlooked.

    How to properly align your cover letter and resume with the job description.

    1. Read it. It may sound basic, but so many people don’t truly read. As you read it, highlight key responsibilities or recurring elements throughout the description. These are “their words” or the phrases that you need to use in your cover letter and resume.
    2. Next, tweak your cover letter and resume to include those critical elements. Use your existing accomplishments to support their words. Often it helps to use their language as headers and even bold them, creating a bulleted list of your accomplishments beneath it. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to see you are aligned perfectly for the position, even if you do not have the typical background.
    3. Also important is to close your cover letter with a short paragraph showing you identify with the mission and culture of the organization. You may or may not be able to glean this from the job description. If you can’t, do further research online and through your own network connections.

    Aligning yourself with the job description may give you the edge you are looking for, effectively separating yourself from the competition. It also sends the message to the hiring manager that you have given their position thoughtful consideration by taking the time to cater to their organization specifically. You can bet this personal touch is noted and appreciated.

    Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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    Are You Ready for 2018?

    2017 has been a turbulent year for the healthcare industry. Not only have we seen tremendous disruption in technology and innovation, but also more consolidation and strained resources. Natural disasters across the country and the unstable economy have added to the mounting pressures. Leaders have been challenged to do more with less, like never before. You may be using predictive analysis tools in strategizing for your organization, but have you looked at your personal toolkit to see if you are ready for what’s in store in 2018?

    At Wiederhold & Associates, we consider three key ingredients for success – history, process, and relationships. Here are some techniques to proactively and methodically plan for a successful 2018.

    History:

    • List of accomplishments - Do you have a list of professional achievements for the year? Grab a pen or type out a list, before you forget! It is important to keep track of any milestones, at work or outside, that have been proud moments for you. As time passes by and memories fade, you may lose track of things that may have significance in the future. Doing a quick year-in-review list of accomplishments will help you document and keep these fresh. Or even better, start a business journal and keep it updated throughout the year.
    • Resume - When was the last time you updated your resume? You do not have to be actively looking for a job to keep your resume updated. In times like these when change is inevitable and happens at lightning speed, it is always a good idea to periodically update your resume especially with new skills, accomplishments or credentials that you may obtain along the way. The same applies for your LinkedIn or any other social media profiles.
    • Self-assessment – Have you done a gap analysis for yourself lately? There are several assessment tools available but even a simple exercise of listing any new skills that you have learned or honed, assessing any areas that still need development, and identifying ways to work on these ensures that you are focusing on your professional growth. The core competencies for roles have steadily evolved, and what measures were used to assess your performance even five years ago may not be as relevant as what is needed in the future. Do you have a competency checklist for the types of roles you see yourself in and are you diligently working towards building/polishing those skills?

    Process:

    • Personal Brand – Have you “Googled” yourself lately? Always be aware of what is floating in cyberspace about you. Reputation management is an active and lifelong task of maintaining your personal brand. At times you may find yourself caught amid a media blitz not of your own doing or liking. Being aware, and taking necessary and proactive steps to protect your online brand is critical to your professional success.
    • Goals – Do you have a SWOT analysis for yourself? Once you have identified strengths and areas of focus, set SMART goals for yourself. Ensure that your personal goals align with your organizational goals, if there is dissonance it is time to reflect! Where possible, have discussions with your boss to find synergies that will benefit all parties.
    • Action Plans – Do you have clear action plans to achieve your goals? What skills/experiences are you missing in your toolkit and which ones do you plan to focus on in the coming year? How will you measure success?

    Relationships:

    • Networking - The holidays are a great time to reach out and reconnect with individuals in your network. It also offers a lot of social opportunities, holiday parties and gatherings to meet new people and expand your network. With work slowing down some, and the holiday cheer around, people tend to be more open to giving and receiving. A great time to nurture your relationships!

    So, celebrate your accomplishments in 2017 and ring in the New Year with confidence and assertion. Cheers to your success in 2018!

    Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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    Inner Leadership Development

    Recently, I became certified in the Leadership Circle Profile, the most comprehensive leadership assessment system available. This is the second assessment I added to my tool chest focusing on leadership. The first was the Hogan Assessments. Together, these are a powerful measurement of where a leader is now and how he/she can improve. That decision has to be made around internal change.

    The Leadership Circle Profile is a true breakthrough among 360 profiles. It is the first to connect a well-researched battery of competencies with the underlying and motivating habits of thought. It reveals the relationship between patterns of action and internal assumptions that drive behavior. Ultimately, the Leadership Circle Profile goes to a source of behavior to get greater leverage on change.

    Second, the profile creates much more than just a list of behavior competencies. The Leadership Circle Profile Results are organized into a very powerful system for understanding human behavior and development, as well as for making sense of the interrelationships between the many dimensions of yourself. Unlike most profiles that take hours to interpret, the Leadership Circle Profile integrates all this information in a way that brings the key issues to the surface instantly.

    The data in the Leadership Circle Profile reveals itself in seconds.

    At a glance, the whole gestalt is accessible-putting leaders in touch with what is working, what is not, and why!

    In most organizations, this treasure trove of information remains buried. Leadership Circle Profile makes it easily accessible

    The Leadership Circle Profile provides you with a leadership MRI, giving you the entire picture in one diagram. I am proud to offer this tool to my clients who are ready to evaluate their inner leader and discover how to bring him/her into their everyday life.

    Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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    Employee Engagement is easy to achieve if you think about it differently

    The most important thing to remember about employee engagement is that it is an emotion that drives employees to want to achieve more for the organization where they work. Now a lot of business leaders don’t like dealing with employee emotions and that is what makes it difficult. Wall street and corporate America knows that they must capture the hearts of their customers to achieve repeat business. Do you remember the Coke commercial with a diverse group singing in harmony? Do you remember the various Nike commercials with sports success as an emotional theme? Yet such campaigns to capture the hearts and minds of our employees is viewed as being a frivolous business strategy.

    Quint Studer was making a key statement about employee emotions when he refers to the concept of “connecting to purpose”. Without a connection to purpose it is just work and there is no emotion to drive employees to achieve excellence for the patient, the customer and the organization.

    There are three key factors to improving employee engagement. Communication, leader accountability for results and creating a culture of employee participation in making the organization the best it can be.

    Communication is one of the keys to getting improved employee engagement. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The fans of great sports teams always “brag” about how “we” beat this team or that team. At work, does your team talk about how much better they are than the competition? Or do they talk about how bad things are where they work. Great teams have lots of pride about what they do, how they are the best and how they do so much better than the other guys. Just like great sports teams, employees need to feel like they work for a great organization and they contribute to the outcomes of greatness. In order for employees to feel they are part of this greatness, the organization must be communicated how great “we are” and how “the employees make this happen”.

    Too many leaders talk about how bad things are, and how hard it is to make budget, how many mistakes we make, etc.. Generally, there is too little talk about the accomplishments, the high performance of our staff, their caring attitude and how we cannot survive without these great people. We must communicate to our staff how great they are and build their self-image. One thing I have learned through over 30 years of HR Experience: Employees who feel worthwhile will always outperform those who feel unworthy. If you don’t think your team is great, get rid of them and get a great team (I have never been an advocate of keeping low performers). But, keep in mind, great organizations need great leaders, and great leaders are able to grow and support great teams. Teams that have great leaders will bring great results.

    Leader accountability: Leaders must be held accountable for their department, unit, division, result that they have oversight for… In other words, RESULTS for financials, quality, growth, customer service and EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT. They must be held accountable for result for their area of responsibility. If the various pieces of the house: walls, foundation, floors, doors, etc. are not well constructed how can we expect to have a great home? Every department must focus on engagement for their team.

    Employee participation. Have you heard the statement “people support the decisions they helped to make”? I think most people would agree that organizations that empower staff to make improvements to their jobs get better organizational results. Many performance improvement programs such as Lean, are built on the concept that employee participation is key to achieving lower cost, higher quality and better outcomes, and yes greater employee engagement… Why? Because I am proud of my contributions that create better outcomes for myself, my team and the organization.

    “Imagine the personal and organizational cost of failing to fully engage the passion, talent and intelligence of the workforce. It is far greater than all taxes, interest charges, and labor costs put together.” STEPHEN R. COVEY

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    The Man in the Mirror

    A courageous person takes an honest look at who they are. A powerful person acknowledges their weaknesses and strengths then understands how to use them both successfully.

    Leadership involves building and maintaining a high-performing team. Anything that detracts from your ability to build a team also detracts from your performance as a leader. Behavior impacts performance.

    Personality assessments are designed to measure traits/behaviors that are part of an individual’s make up. Organizations attempt to utilize these to assess both fit and performance in certain positions but the real value is that an individual can get real insight into their strengths, potential areas of opportunity, and motivators.

    It is good to be able to understand, articulate and utilize your strengths. Think of these as the gas pedal in a car. When utilized properly, they will move your leadership forward. However, it is also important to understand when you’re putting your foot on the brake and negatively impacting your leadership journey. An effective assessment can help you understand what is propelling your journey and what is holding you back.

    What Inhibits Your Success?

    To help you understand your strengths and motivators as well as identify your risk factors, Wiederhold & Associates offers The Hogan Leadership Forecast Series. Through the series, you will receive a report designed to help you develop as a leader.

    It will provide insights about your behavior and traits that showcase strengths as well as behaviors and traits that could potentially undermine or inhibit your performance. And if you’re committed to being the best leader you can be, we will help you determine the best way to enhance your awareness and make impactful change.

    If you’re in transition, a seasoned executive looking to take your performance to the next level or a leader who is ready to get off the hamster wheel, the HOGAN LEADERSHIP FORECAST SERIES may be your next step to finding true success.

    Learn more about Wiederhold & Associates

    HOGAN LEADERSHIP FORECAST SERIES

    Here's to your success,

    Jim

    Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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    Performance Excellence-Physician Enterprise

    Introductory Comments:

    The healthcare industry is at a crossroads. Consumerism, regulatory requirements, payer requirements, employer demands and other factors are driving forces for change in service delivery. Now is the time to get it right. We need to reduce cost, control utilization, streamline delivery of care, deliver care in a manner that exceeds patient expectations at all times, manage the health status of the communities we serve and demonstrate continuous improvement in achieving best in class clinical outcomes.

    The industry, as a whole, needs to focus on the “Triple Aim” (low cost, service oriented and high quality). In doing so, we cannot neglect that we can only navigate the course to achieving value based results with a high performing team of leadership representatives, management representatives, physicians, other clinical providers and staff, thus achieving the “Quadruple Aim.”

    We must engage and empower our clinical and non-clinical workforce to maintain professional satisfaction and reduce the risk of burn-out from expecting more without addressing resource requirements. It is not easy, but it can be framed in a simplified philosophy of Performance Excellence. Performance Excellence (Operations, Service and Clinical) is the gold standard by which healthcare teams will be measured.

    “Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with EXCELLENCE.”
    - Jessica Guidobono

    Is your physician enterprise designed to allow every member of your organization to autograph their work with excellence?

    Workforce (physicians, advanced practice providers, clinical and non-clinical staff) engagement at all levels of your organization is essential to move forward in today’s ever-evolving healthcare market. A Performance Excellence Philosophy provides the systematic methodology to engage your workforce in achieving results.

    The Baldrige Excellence Framework (Healthcare): As Systems Approach to Improving Your Organization’s Performance empowers your organization to reach its goals, improve results, and become more competitive. The framework consists of the criteria, the core values and concepts, and scoring guidelines to use as reference, to self-assess, or as a basis for external assessment. Whether or not your organization is “award and recognition oriented,” today’s ever-evolving healthcare environment creates to perfect opportunity to take a step back and assess your ability to achieve value based results.

    Through active inquiry regarding your organization’s culture, you learn and develop your ability to accomplish what is important to your organization. A community/customer/patient centered philosophy, along with the critical aspects of: Leadership/Governance; Vision/Strategy; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management (through data analytics); and Operational Work Processes and Process Management, allows you to evaluate how prepared you are to achieve VALUE BASED RESULTS.

    Through internal ASSESSMENT you may find that your organization needs external resources to develop the necessary structure and infrastructure to achieve your VISION. Experienced leadership with a demonstrated track record of achieving results within physician enterprise organizations may be difficult to find. You may need Interim Leadership and Management Advisory Services with the Resilience to do the “initial heavy lifting” of positioning your enterprise for high performance.

    Today we explore ways to assess your systematic approach for delivering value in your communities.

    Assess Your Physician Enterprise through a Systematic Approach

    Vision:

    You need a systematic approach to assessing your physician enterprise ability to achieve results. You need a framework to deliver value. The challenge is to critically assess to learn how you are accomplishing your vision and strategic priorities. Today we pose several key questions to begin to assess your organization’s readiness to achieve value based results.

    Has your organization set a strategic priority for achieving value based results in your physician enterprise?

    How has your organization set a strategic priority for achieving value based results? “Value Based Care is Here to Stay”:

    Vision and Strategy-Questions to consider:

    Is it important to your organization?
    Have you established a shared Vision of physician integration to achieve value based results?
    Is your organization prepared to create greater value in the communities you serve?
    Does your organization have the leadership with the demonstrated competency of RESLIENCE to navigate the path to value?
    Do you need Interim Leadership or experienced external advisors to assess and develop your physician enterprise ability to deliver value based results

    Please see Assessing Your Vision and Strategies, to begin your assessment: You may also request a copy from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    It all begins with LEADERSHIP:

    Leadership must promote a systems perspective. A systems perspective means managing all the components of your organization as a whole to achieve ongoing success. A healthcare system has many inter-related, but not always highly integrated, components. Each component must be led and managed to function as a high performing organization within the context of the entire system. Most importantly, your physician enterprise (whether an employed network or Clinically Integrated Network) must demonstrate a successful track record of achieving results.

    Assess your leadership and management structure to achieve results:

    “Achieve Results-Leadership and Management”

    Question to Consider-Leadership:

    Do senior leaders lead the organization, consistent with your systematic approach?

    Please see Assessing Your Leadership/Management, to begin your assessment: You may also request a copy from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Governance:

    How does your governance structure oversee your physician enterprise and address your organizational ability to achieve value based results?

    Assess your governance structure to achieve results: "Governance”

    Governance - Questions to Consider:

    How does your organization ensure responsible governance of the physician enterprise?

    How does your governing achieve accountability for:

    • senior leaders’ actions
    • strategic plans
    • fiscal accountability
    • transparency in operations
    • selection of governance board members and disclosure policies for them, as appropriate
    • independence and effectiveness of internal and external audits
    • protection of stakeholder and stockholder interests, as appropriate
    • succession planning for organizational leadership

    Please see Assessing Your Governance, to begin your assessment: You may also request a copy from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Knowledge Management/Transfer through Data Analytics:

    How do you measure, analyze, and then improve organizational performance?

    Assess your Performance Measures to achieve results: "Knowledge Management/Transfer through Data Analytics”

    Questions to Consider - Performance Measures:

    How do you track data and information on daily operations and overall organizational performance?

    How do you select, collect, align, and integrate data and information to use in tracking daily operations and overall organizational performance; and track progress on achieving strategic objectives and action plans?

    Please see Assessing Your Knowledge Management/Transfer through Data Analytics, to begin your assessment: You may also request a copy from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Operations Management/Process Management:

    How do you design, manage and improve your key health care services and work processes?

    Assess your Work Processes/Process Management Methodology to achieve results: “Process Management-Achieve Value Based Results”

    Questions to Consider-Work Processes/Process Management:

    How do you design, manage, and improve your key health care services and work processes?

    How do you determine key health care service and work process requirements?

    Please see Operations Management/Process Management, to begin your assessment: You may also request a copy from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Results:

    A Performance Excellence Philosophy provides the systematic methodology to achieve results. Your organization will achieve value based results with unrelenting commitment from key stakeholders at every level.

    You need a simplified approach to creating a culture of Performance Excellence to achieve results:

    Question to Consider-Results

    What are your health care and process effectiveness results?

    What are your health care results and your results for your patient and other customer service processes?

    Is your entire workforce engaged in achieving value based results?

    Please see Assessing Your Results, to begin your assessment:

    Key Take Aways and Next Steps:

    • Assess and adopt a Vision of Value Based Care in your Physician Enterprise
    • Implement a Culture of Performance Excellence
    • Assess your Leadership/Management
    • Assess your Governance
    • Assess your Knowledge Management/Transfer (Data Analytics)
    • Assess your Operations/Process Management
    • Assess your Results
    • You may need external resources to assist in assessment and development
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    Hire Employees with Longevity

    Studies show that an average of 50% of newly hired executives not appropriately onboarded, either quit or were fired within their first three years.

    A successful onboarding program accelerates the executive’s breakeven point on the investment the organization has made in talent acquisition and retention, as well as, aligns behavioral changes with organizational outcomes and goals. Results are just as important as the process.

    Wiederhold & Associates Executive Onboarding Program

    Wiederhold & Associates is perfectly positioned to be your partner in ensuring that your investment in new executives continues to reap long-term rewards, rather than ending up with the above-mentioned results. The Wiederhold & Associates team with 26 years of transition expertise in healthcare, focuses on tangible results in addition to ensuring a smooth transition.

    Key Program Strategies Include:

    • Defining roles and responsibilities
    • Clarifying strategic results and creating new ones
    • Managing expectations
    • Building relationships and coalitions
    • Managing intellectual and emotional reactions
    • Maintaining balance
    • Aligning and strengthening the leadership team
    • Completing in-process assessments

    Specific Areas of Focus Are:

    • Executive’s personality and behaviors
    • Alignment of goals/outcomes
    • Building stakeholder lists
    • Focusing on early wins
    • Navigating organizational politics
    • Learning organization’s culture
    • Maintaining visibility
    • Time management
    • Balancing relationships/results
    • Enhancing executive’s knowledge of the organization’s market
    • Understanding organizational history
    • Assessing skills and behaviors
    • Building confidence
    • Developing executive’s team dynamics
    • Enhancing communication
    • Creating a business journal
    • Establishing a brand
    • Empowering the executive’s voice within the organization
    • Managing change
    • Maintaining balance

    To learn more about Wiederhold & Associates Onboarding Program, download a tri-fold brochure here.

    Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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    Happy Labor Day

    We wish you and your loved ones a safe and fun holiday weekend
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