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…

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What is transformation…and why should we care?

“I’d like to introduce Gary Skarke. He 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 first 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

* * * * * * * * * *

In today’s environment, organizations must change – and change dramatically – to survive and thrive. Who remembers what happened to RCA televisions, Motorola cell phones, or Myspace (competitor with Facebook) or how they lost their market leadership? They did not make the dramatic innovations and changes (typically called transformations) to stay ahead of the competition. Businesses have made transformations for a number of years although they were previously called under the headings of quality, reengineering, Lean Six Sigma, and others. Such transformations were made to cut costs, grow, increase customer satisfaction or simply stay in business. United States healthcare similarly has and is undergoing transformations, many of which are mandated by the U.S. government, like electronic medical records. We wanted to share what transformations are happening with businesses so that they can be applied more readily to healthcare.

Organizations are appropriately cautious about transformations. A 2015 survey by McKinsey* found that only 26% have been “very” or “completely” successful at both improving performance and equipping the organization to sustain improvements over time. Transformation is an overused term. It is not a tweek, but an overhaul – a complete change in the way business is done. IBM was at one time only a provider of hardware such as computers but transformed successfully into a provider of consulting services. The amount of effort that goes into the change is proportional to the impact on the organization. The bigger the change, the bigger the effort, and the bigger the potential results. Transformations can be around any or all of the following: strategy, process, systems, metrics and culture. We will cover each of these areas in a series of brief articles.

* McKinsey & Co., 2015, “How to Beat the Transformation Odds”

TBO International LLC provides transformation services to help clients beat the odds for successful outcomes.

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The Importance of Mentorship in Our Lives

We all need guidance. Even the most seasoned professional needs a sounding board from time to time. I am a firm believer that as professionals we can choose to never stop growing, learning, and evolving into the best version of ourselves. Part of this growth is directly influenced by the people we seek out for support.

One of the things my mother said to me as a young adult was, “You are the company you keep.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was talking about mentorship and being mentored in the most basic sense. To affect another in a positive way and to have them do the same in return, all while growing as a person.

Three ways a mentor/mentee relationship adds value to your life:

  1. Lends you a new perspective. Being a mentor or mentee puts you in the mindset of the other person, even if just for a moment. It can be invaluable to get the perspective of another professional on situations that are occurring in your world in which you feel you have little to no control over. This type of discussion could lead to possible action items or solutions. At the very least, you will leave the conversation feeling like someone actually understands.
  2. Growth opportunity. Often your mentor has been in the profession longer than you and can offer additional insight into a lot of different scenarios. Soak this type of information up and learn from it. Take the gift of hindsight they offer you and make improvements and grow because of it. Conversely, a mentor can grow equally from the vision a younger professional may bring to the table.
  3. Expand your network and give back. Share connections with one another. Start building relationships with the professionals that your mentor/mentee connect you with. This is how genuine professional friendships are created. It’s interesting how things work. While you might be the mentee in one relationship, you will become the mentor in the next. In each instance though you will grow as a professional and as an individual. It’s a win-win.

At Wiederhold & Associates we are launching a mentor program offering our large network of professionals the chance to create deep and meaningful professional relationships with one another. With over 25 years in the healthcare industry, Wiederhold and Associates has one of the largest and most effective networks in the United States. Our Mentor Program takes this network connection one step deeper. It gives the mentor and the mentee the opportunity to use common experiences to glean further insight into life and career situations. There is no stronger bond than those created through shared experience.

Interested in joining our Mentor Program? Click here for more information.

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Leadership's Necessary Ingredients

By definition the term Leadership implies that one has followers, but in real life how does one obtain followers? Often individuals are in positions where the job description states very explicitly they will have authority over the activities, schedules, performance, etc., etc., of others. This is a big responsibility but does being in a position of authority make you a leader? If not, does authority require leadership? Conversely, does leadership require authority?

Is leadership essential for positions of authority, or is it just a human trait that would be nice if available? If a person in authority - aka ‘boss’ - does not have to be a leader, then should we say that leadership is not a prerequisite for being a boss? If not, then if the boss doesn’t formally lead then who does? In my experience, I have found that often the greatest leaders in an organization are not individuals who are in positions of authority but nevertheless have followers and influence the organizational team and culture in very significant ways whereupon often the implementation and execution of organizational goals and objectives are directly determined by them - our informal leaders. Some examples of leaders without formal title and authority were Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Joan of Arc to name a few.

I have found that it is optimal if bosses are also leaders, but unfortunately the former does not always entail the latter. Often an organization has people in positions of formal authority and responsibility who are not leaders and consequently have very little influence and leverage over team productivity and goal execution but yet have all the responsibility. Although it must be noted that frequently when a boss is not a leader it is due to no fault of his or her own. Maybe they are new to the organization or possibly young and lack experience, maybe a bad hire and put in the wrong position or maybe they are experts in a vital area but truly possess little ability in areas of communication and or interaction with people. There can be numerous reasons why a boss is not a leader.

These formal bosses may make decisions and create and finalize numerous policies, but still are not able to actually achieve progress towards the organization’s goals and objectives because they have few if any followers. Often, they will experience frustration and or anger and may be tempted to implement and execute policy and protocols with force, fear and intimidation to make up for their shortfall in leadership. Unfortunately, this usually has a disastrous affect, fostering anger, resentment, resistance and or anxiety and paralysis. Ultimately the results show up on the P&L in the form of higher labor cost caused by excessive turnover, unwarranted overtime and lower revenue caused by poor patient experience and lower quality of care i.e., angry or afraid staff just are not capable of giving compassionate, attentive, high quality care.

I have found there are two essential ingredients necessary for genuine leadership; respect and like. Respect means people believe you know where you are going and you know how to get there. Like means they believe you care about them and that you want them to succeed and enjoy the journey. If they respect you but do not like you then they will follow you but they will not stay with you. If they like you but do not respect you then they will stay with you but they will not follow you. To be a true leader and to achieve real success you must have both; competency and compassion, intelligence and heart, respect and like. This will result in followers who voluntarily follow and stay with you long enough to accomplish something meaningful.

There are three key questions then presented:

  1. How do we assure that people in positions of formal authority and responsibility become true leaders?
  2. How do we assure organizational success during their leadership educational journey?
  3. How do we assure utilization of people not in positions of authority and responsibility but who are genuine leaders?

First, to accomplish the aforementioned, we as senior leaders must create through our actions and our hiring process a culture of caring and respect. Simply said, “The Golden Rule must be part of our key criteria for hiring, it should be emphasized in orientation and clearly and strongly stated in our code of conduct and be the center of our continuing education. But most importantly it must be ‘shown’ in our daily walk and talk, emphasized in our interaction with direct reports and leaders of tomorrow and exemplified in our decision making and prioritization of goals and objectives.

Second, we must truly believe that our staff are assets and not liabilities and invest our time, effort and resources accordingly. Everything we want to achieve in healthcare involves people. Nothing can get done successfully without them. If we want competent leaders, then we must invest in them as such. We must invest on a continuous basis in their education and training and mentoring and coaching if we expect them to develop the competency required for leadership. Wisdom and prudence demands that we do this so that our most valuable assets – our staff – are leading with up to date knowledge, skills and know-how rather than being ill equipped for the future and getting left behind.

Third, we must create a culture of inclusion which means everyone is part of the same big team. Our culture and belief system must entail the core belief that everyone has equal intrinsic value as human beings i.e, different roles with different responsibilities but all of equal value. This would then be exhibited in our team dynamics where every person in authority, every boss, would value and listen to input and not only allow feedback on ideas and decisions but highly encourage it from everyone. A culture that recruits, hires and trains its individuals of authority to listen and serve rather than direct and dictate i.e, humility. Individuals who intimately understand they do not know everything and are not expected to know everything and have true humility, will identify, value and listen to their informal leaders and use them as champions in a positive way for the betterment of the team, patients, community and organization.

An organization that creates a culture of leadership that exemplifies the Golden Rule; cares for and respects all staff; sees staff as assets and invests in them accordingly; values all individuals equally; is inclusive and listens; and where humility is an expectation of all positions of authority will best be able to assure there is consistent genuine leadership which has followers who both Trust and Like them, because they exhibit Competency and Compassion, Treat their staff as Assets and utilize both Formal and Informal leaders consistently for the good of all.

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DON'T GET AMAZONED

The company that puts you out of business will not look like you!

The job of an entrepreneur/CEO is to look around the corner to see what is coming in the future. It is hard to know what a competitor looks like when they may not look like me (see: Amazon vs. Sears, Uber vs. Yellow Cab).

When I peek into the future, how do I know what I am looking for? What will my competitor or my business model look like tomorrow? The risk of missing a change in the business model is great. My role is to work on new processes that can help my clients get more value and make Medic Management Group more competitive. Many CEOs are concerned that disruptive companies may enter their business segment and change the business model. Amazon may not enter my business space - health care management - but I have to worry about companies like Apple and Google.

In my world, I cannot be lulled into thinking that patients will continue to seek health care in brick-and-mortar buildings. The technology explosion in health care does not just relate to genomics, new medications and surgical treatments. Every day new technology is being developed to enable patients to be seen from remote location s through monitoring devices that communicate with the providers. The telemedicine advertisements that we see on TV are just the beginning.

Many entrepreneurs and CEOs are too busy working on the day-to-day issues of their companies to explore new opportunities. We are so entrenched in day-to-day that we do not think like the generation of entrepreneurs that is looking for the new way. In the past, we attended annual trade shows, or we would study our competition to see what they were doing. Today, by the time you see what the competition is doing or hear the ideas that are discussed at trade shows, it may be too late.

How do we keep from being 'Amazoned?'

  1. Get new ideas from businesses not in your industry. When you meet friends or talk with colleagues, do not just ask ' how's business?' Ask what new ideas and technologies they are seeing in their field and consider how they can be adapted to your business.
  2. Perform a critical analysis of the current business by your team or an outside entity. How can we do it better?
  3. Learn about bots, artificial intelligence and new technology, and find out how they relate to your products and offerings.

As the CEO, owner, entrepreneur, you are the chief visionary. You cannot delegate something as important as understanding the future of your company. A 22nd century vision is critical. Those of us that "skate to where the puck is going, not where it is has been" have an advantage over our competitors, current and future.

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Four Ways to Connect with a Recruiter

A common question I get is, “How do I talk to recruiters?” Treat the call like any conversation. Be genuine and interested. The primary goal of the conversation is to gain a partner in the search for your next position.

If you approach each conversation with a recruiter as an opportunity to create a partnership, build a relationship and make a genuine connection, you will see more job opportunities sent your direction.

Here are four tried and true ways to connect with recruiters:

  • Do your homework. Find out what you can about the recruiter and his/her organization. This will help you create a connecting point, or something you have in common. If that happens to be a mutual connection, be sure you find out the nature of their relationship before you name drop. You won’t do yourself any favors if you mention someone they don’t know or someone they don’t like.
  • Have a great value statement. Get their attention with your positive attitude and make them want to call you back. Before calling the recruiter go through your own resume/CV. What does a recruiter want to know about you and the organizations you’ve served? What makes you different from other candidates? The more specific that you can be by showing impact through measurable outcomes, the more weight it carries and the more memorable you become.
  • Always have some good open-ended questions ready. Seek their feedback and draw upon their experience within the industry. Ask them what they look for when identifying a strong candidate and deciding to move them forward. Let them know you are always looking for a way to present information to recruiters and hiring managers in the best, most efficient way possible and in the format they desire.
  • Determine your next steps. You may not get into a search, gain connections or helpful information from the recruiter during the call, but don’t let that stop you from creating your own follow-up plan. Mention to him/her that you will be checking in with them periodically and encourage them to do the same should an opportunity come across their desk that might be of interest. Cultivate and grow that sense of partnership between the two of you and under no circumstances do you want to be perceived as going around them to get to an opportunity they are representing.

It’s important to remember when working with recruiters that you are not their only prospect and while they have your information in their file, it is necessary for you to make the effort to reach out to them on a regular basis in order to stay in the top of their mind. There is no room for ego here, instead try to think of it as cultivating a genuine relationship and partnership so that they can effectively help you find the next job opportunity.

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Good customer service is universal in healthcare – no matter where you call home

Through the years, I have been in healthcare leadership positions located in settings that are as culturally diverse as they are geographically. Areas as different as the temperate and sunny but traffic congested city of Los Angeles; the quiet, and beautiful but often resource scarce, farm and ranchland of rural Oklahoma; and the exciting but very crowded international commercial center of Shanghai, China.

What I have found from living and working in these places and becoming acquainted with so many beautiful, but seemingly very different and diverse people, is that healthcare consumers are not as different as they first appear.

What I have discovered is that healthcare consumers are customers and that when you boil everything down, what they want is the same as any other customer. They all want convenience, short waiting times, cleanliness, comfort, safety, respect, courtesy, organization, competency, honesty, confidentiality, clear communication and good results.

I realize the aforementioned customer preference descriptors are very common and general in nature and maybe not very helpful unless they can be translated into understandable specifics which can then be implemented into the daily actions and behaviors of our organization. We want to put them on an operational improvement check list and then check them off one by one. If is tangible, concrete and it feels good to check those boxes; a feeling of tangible accomplishment. But I have found that as important as the tangible operational improvement check list is, what is more important are the intangibles and how do we make our customers feel. Because like it or not the bottom line for our organization’s brand and image and ultimately the very success of its mission is how do our customers feel after they use our services and how does this compare to how they felt before they entered our doors.

We are all emotional beings with numerous feelings inside, so how our customers feel after visiting us is not just about their physical condition but also about their emotional and mental well-being. Operationally there are many things we can do to address and improve the tangible parts of our facilities and make the lobbies more beautiful, the front desks and hallways tidier, the furniture more comfortable, the rooms quieter and more private, the medical information secure and confidential, etc., etc.., but what about the intangibles? How do we make our customers feel respected, feel cared for, feel heard, feel important? How do we make our customers feel that we will take care of them and thus make them want to come back again?

Healthcare is still a service industry, not a manufacturing industry. Operational efficiency will only take us so far. Customer Service is created by the people inside our facilities, by what we do and how we do it. In other words, it is dictated and driven by “Our Culture” and as the famous business management guru, Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats Strategy for dinner every time.”

Culture drives everything and comes from the top down. Putting customers first, caring for them, respecting them, listening to them, must be exemplified by the leadership team not just in word, but in action. And not just shown by the way we as leaders treat our customers but also in how we treat our staff. I made a commitment to speak at every opportunity to all new hires in my hospital during their Orientation, and one thing I said I had learned is we must treat our staff the same way we want them to treat our patients. We cannot care for our patients if we do not care for each other. And our kindness and compassion must be genuine. People cannot be fooled with fake kindness or slight-of-hand courtesy. We must never be so busy that we do not make our customers - our patients and our staff the #1 priority in action and deed.

Creating an authentic customer service-oriented culture that genuinely cares is not easy, but it is what I have found to be the single most important and strongest driver for operational, financial and marketing success of every hospital team I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to lead, whether in Los Angeles, Rural Oklahoma or Shanghai, China.

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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.

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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!

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Give yourself the gift of networking – how to network during the holidays

The holidays are the perfect time to reconnect with old friends and colleagues that you may not have spoken to in a long time. The season is full of celebrations and parties where you are in the presence of a lot of untapped potential. Potential to make a connection. Spark or rekindle a new or old friendship. Networking is all about finding connection points.

Finding that common ground that endears you to the other person and during the holidays, those connections come even easier with the added ingredients of warm fuzzies (eggnog anyone?) and a healthy dose of good cheer. So, when you are headed to the next holiday party, don’t groan and moan and count the hours until you can be home in front of the fire, look at it as an opportunity to widen your net and build up your network.

How to work a room:

  1. Don’t stand by the front door. When people first arrive to a meeting or party they are nervous and looking for a place to put their things or visit a bathroom. Standing by the door is a sure way to get overlooked.
  2. Spend only five minutes with each person you meet. This is long enough to listen to what makes them unique and for you to establish a connection within exchanged pleasantries. Get their business card and offer yours if asked in return.
  3. Make notes on their business cards. Anything that will help you remember that person when you look them up later is invaluable. There is no way you can keep everyone you meet straight and that one detail about that person could be what gets you that future meeting. It adds the personal touch.
  4. Follow-up. Think of how many times you given out your business card. Now think about how many times someone used that business card to reach out to you after the fact? Part of working a room successfully lies in the follow-up. Connect with the person on LinkedIn, shoot them a quick note telling them how nice it was to meet them and add the fun fact about them you jotted down on their business card.

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Happy Holidays from Wiederhold & Associates

In lieu of mailing holiday cards, and in keeping with the spirit of giving during this time of year, Wiederhold & Associates has made a donation to a charity in honor of our clients, network members and friends for being a part of our lives this year. For 2017, due to the amount of natural disasters the U.S. faced this year, we have selected the Salvation Army as the recipient of our donation.

The Salvation Army helped with all the hurricanes that hit the U.S. this year and are currently assisting in California with the wildfires. More information on their efforts can be found at Salvation Army news.

We at Wiederhold & Associates hope and pray that you enjoy a happy and safe holiday season. As you enter the New Year, never forget what is most important: your faith, your family, and your friends.

Jim Wiederhold and

The Wiederhold & Associates Team

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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.

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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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Happy Thanksgiving!

We are grateful for our clients, associates and friends.

Wishing you and your loved

ones a Happy Thanksgiving!

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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United States Weather Conditions

Oregon's Eagle Creek fire along the Columbia River

Monday we reflected on the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States. It was a pivotal moment in the country’s history and Americans continue to recognize its importance in our lives on its anniversary each year.

Currently the United States is experiencing another significant chapter with wide ranging weather conditions that affect a large portion of the population. We have had two hurricanes since August 25, and Jose, a third storm following them could feasibly land in the Virginia area; there are dozens of forest fires in over ten western states; and as of Sunday night, 260 earthquakes have been registered in Idaho since September second.

The Wiederhold network extends nationwide, either as current or past clients or simply those we know as friends and colleagues. We continue to think of everyone in harm’s way and hope for the safety of them, their friends and families.

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Happy Labor Day

We wish you and your loved ones a safe and fun holiday weekend
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Performance Excellence Simplified: Achieve Value Based Results

High performing leaders in healthcare organizations of today are challenged with the uncertainty of healthcare delivery in the future. Many hospitals face a challenge among key stakeholders. That challenge is a brand/reputation shift toward value based care. Mission, Vision and Values typically reflect claims of high quality and customer service, but key stakeholders (physicians, patients, families, employers, payers and regulatory bodies) are not buying the slogans of the past. In today's world, healthcare providers must demonstrate that they are living up to the value based equation (low cost, seamless, patient-centric, high quality care). Stakeholder demand and regulatory requirements drive organizations to demonstrate measurable results in cost, service and quality.

Creating a performance excellence environment is a highly successful leadership approach to navigate the ever-evolving imperatives of service delivery. Value based results will be achieved through a leadership philosophy of performance excellence:


Engage your people: Develop Governance, Leadership and Management structures to engage your key players, especially physicians and other clinical thought leaders to lead the effort. Create a shared Vision of Achieving Value Based Results. Now it’s time to execute your shared Vision.


Evaluate your data; identify best practice: Engage all key players in identifying essential metrics to understand your current performance and identify opportunities for improvement in Operational/Financial, Service and Clinical performance.


Know your process and design your process (es): Utilize advanced process management methodologies to identify current processes that yield current results. Establish consistency in your process improvement methodology. Identify best practices. Design your processes to achieve results.

Hardwire/Standardize best practice, process design to ACHIEVE

Sustainable results will be achieved from your Action, if you are focused on Continuous Operating and Quality Improvement. Remember you may FAIL (“First Attempt In Learning”). Establish your culture of Performance Excellence. Start small, simplify, be resilient, be persistent and be unrelenting in your approach to achieving results. Be prepared to embrace “Polarity Thinking.” Every good conversation begins with good listening. Listen to your key stakeholders. Listen to understand, not to respond. Physician integration and value based strategies inherently present divergent opinions. Learn the power of leveraging Inquiry AND Advocacy: two critical leadership competencies. That’s how leaders achieve results.

Value Based Metrics:

The list of potential measures is endless. Identify what is important to your key players. Start with metrics that present and build a common understanding of current performance. Measure, monitor, report, analyse and improve your key metrics, focused on value: Operational/Financial Excellence, Service Excellence, and Clinical Excellence. A comprehensive list of potential metrics is available at: Mike Jones LinkedIn or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key Takeaways:

  • You have highly engaged employees, physicians, patients, family members, community representatives, employers and payers.
  • You have defined a common and shared vision for your organization through gaining knowledge of your key stakeholders’ perspectives
  • You have defined what outcomes you and your organization are trying to achieve in terms of Operations, Finance, Service and Clinical indicators
  • You have measured your current performance
  • Now you want to improve performance:
  • Everything is a process

    Gain an understanding of your current processes

    Identify your best practices

    Design process to achieve best practice performance

    Re-evaluate your performance to see if you are consistently achieving improved performance

    Modify your processes when necessary to consistently achieve higher levels of performance

    Hard-wire your processes to ALWAYS achieve best practice performance

    Never stop monitoring to verify your preferred state performance/outcomes.

    Never stop monitoring to verify your preferred state performance/outcomes.

    Train for it (all Key Players)

    Build consistency of approach

  • Define your performance excellence culture
  • Focus your leadership on the relentless pursuit of performance excellence
  • Adopt your preferred methodology
  • Formalize and standardize your methodology
  • Listen to your key stakeholders
  • Engage all parties in understanding improvement initiatives
  • Gain understanding of performance through data analytics
  • Design processes to achieve desired results
  • Be prepared to Fail, but failing is your F (first), A (attempts), I (in), L (Learning).
  • Achieve success in all you do
  • Demonstrate that you are creating value based outcomes

Next Steps:

  • View Additional Reference Information:
    • In “Be an Inspirational Leader”, author Dan Nielsen portrays the incredible impact of inspirational leadership on your personal, professional, and organizational success. Read Dan Nielsen’s book: “Be An Inspirational Leader: Engage, Inspire, Empower”
    • Management of healthcare providers’ reputation and brand dramatically changes with consumer demand for value. An organization’s reputation is subject to more than marketing campaigns. Social media and ratings services have significant impact on consumer perception of healthcare organizations. If you do not have on-going audits of your on-line presences and ratings, it is wise to complete and assessment and take corrective action, as necessary. To learn more about Reputation and Brand Management view the work of Claire Faucett with engage5w.
    • Learn more about “Polarity Thinking” and the two essential leadership competencies of Inquiry and Advocacy. View the work of leadership coaches James McKenna and Cliff Kayser, sponsored by Wiederhold & Associates.
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Bad Bosses and Good Leaders

We are facing a critical era of transformation in healthcare. As organizations strategize to find stability through turbulent times, managers, directors, and executives will feel added pressure to achieve continuous, dynamic results.

The success of each department will depend on a single crucial factor: Is there a "boss" or a "leader" in place?

A "boss" refers to an individual who is in charge of the employee or an organization. He exercises control over employees, orders, assigns tasks and duties to them and is entitled to take decisions on some matters. Bad bosses will motivate through fear tactics, defer blame to others, take credit for other's successes and bully members into producing results.

The term "leader" is defined as an individual who possesses the ability to influence and inspire others towards the accomplishment of goals. Communication coupled with integrity compel people to follow. Great leaders think about what their body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice communicate to their staff. They often take the time to say things face-to-face rather than through email in order to build trust, develop relationships, manage conflict, and encourage employees. Leaders pull the best out of each member and inspire group success.

It is important to note that the teams which produce the most effective and long-lasting results are the ones that are directed by leaders, not bosses.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams

Transform Bosses into Leaders

Where bosses fail, leaders prevail. If you've noticed that you have more bosses than leaders in your organization- all is not lost. Aspiring and current managers, directors or executives can begin improving their ability to lead. Wiederhold and associates offer specialized assessments as well as a number of training programs designed to develop quality leaders that are custom fit to your organization. If you are interested in learning more, just let me know.

Here's to your success,

Jim

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

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