7 Steps to Take after Graduation

May 14, 2011

Congrats!!  It’s graduation time!  Are you a little nervous?  Here are seven tips to follow your dreams, find success, and make a difference.

1)  Commit to something bigger.

There is no sugar-coating it, healthcare is tough!  Odds are that within the first year, you’ll either quit or think about quitting. However, it’s hard to quit on something bigger than yourself. Have a goal. Be on a mission. Change the world. Save a life.

If you want to succeed, you must commit yourself to a bigger cause.

2) Figure out what you love.

I guarantee you will not truly succeed if you’re doing anything you don’t love.  Healthcare is just too hard  if you don’t love it.  Find your calling and chase it!

3) Start doing it. Now.

If you don’t love what you’re doing, make a change.  Don’t put it into your 5 year plan.  Start today.  Even if you have to get/keep your day job until you can do what you love full-time, get started!  Volunteer or do per diem work on the side to gain experience.

4) Meet others who love what you love.

Few people can win alone anymore.  The world is too complex and we need people to pick us up when we’re tired, broken, and failing.  It’s a war out there, and you will fail, fall, and need help.  Find others, learn from them and win.  Together you are stronger.  (If you need help finding others in your specialty, check out the free Clear Medical Network forums on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin)

5)  Make long-term plans, not short-term ones.

If you’ve committed yourself to something special, keep your eye on it.  Make short-term adjustments, but focus on the big picture.  It’s too easy to get distracted these days, so you need to be working towards long-term goals.  Don’t waste energy on achieving short-term goals. Everything should lead toward the end goal.

6)  Don’t be selfish.

You will need to give things, thoughts, and time away before you get anything in return.  I’m not sure exactly why, other than people like nice people and are willing to help them in return.

Give, give, give.

7) Take your magic step.

If you will succeed, there will be one magic step only you will discover.  The very nature of our world is that we cannot all have the same path, the same steps towards our dreams.  You will need to take a unique step along the way, and it will be something that only you will find.

Call it magic or whatever you’d like, but you’ll need it and I can’t tell you what to look for.  We all have a step in life that we will need to take to achieve our dreams.

When you see yours.  Take it!

Let me know if we can help.

Have a great day,

Aaron@Biebert

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Aaron is a former nursing home administrator, HIM Director, and consultant.  He is also the creator of the Clear Medical Network and an 8pm Warrior.


Hire a Horse

May 3, 2011

If you’re in a horse race, hire a horse.

Not an elephant. Not a cheetah.

Elephants may carry a lot of people, but they’re not fast enough. Cheetahs have the opposite problem.

One nurse made a great comment on another post about bright, innovative people getting leadership positions without knowing how to lead. It’s like hiring an Elephant for the horse race just because it’s great at carrying things.

Superb athletes don’t always turn into superb coaches. Top medical coders don’t always make top HIM Directors.  A great nurse does not equal a great nurse manager.

I could go on and on and on…

Leadership is a skill, and top leaders will find ways to recruit the right talent for the right position.

If you’re in a horse race, hire a horse.

Have a great day!

Aaron


The Rain is Coming!

March 14, 2011

Right now my wife and I are watching the show “Nature’s Most Amazing Events” and we just finished the section about the annual Pacific Salmon run.  It makes for an interesting allegory for the current employment environment.

Here it is:

Salmon are drawn by instinct to swim against the current, jump huge waterfalls, and avoid massive bears, just to achieve their mission.  Only four out of every thousand salmon make the round trip from their birth place to the ocean and back again.

It’s the challenge of a lifetime!

However, as if that wasn’t hard enough, sometimes the water levels are too low for the fish to even get to the bears, waterfalls, or heavy currents.  They get stuck before the challenge even begins.

Then the rain comes.

Just as many of the fish are starting to lose energy (and hope?), the rainy season begins and allows the fish to resume their journey onward.  They can finally begin the work they were designed for.

Sound familiar?

Many young healthcare professionals are on their way to following their dreams.  We all signed up for the challenges of dealing with difficult cases, managing ornery patients, or the emotional struggles that come with our work.

What we didn’t sign up for was the lack of water.

This economy has dried up many opportunities, and left many healthcare workers looking for work, confused by their situation, and wondering if it’s time to move on to a new career.  Today I urge you to hold on.

The Rain is Coming!

The work we seek will be here soon enough and the days of low census will be replaced with the challenge of a lifetime, caring for our fellow human beings when they need us most.

Keep your chin up.

Aaron@Biebert


The Myth of Teamwork?

February 28, 2011

I just read Skip Weisman’s blog about the “Myth of Teamwork” and was impressed.  Not because I think teamwork is a myth, but because it’s high time someone took a look at why teamwork isn’t successful many times.

It is because individual team members fail.

However, I think that Skip misses the fact that teamwork is more than just the actions associated with working as part of a team.  It is a culture, a mindset, a way of working and winning together, not just as individuals.

But it does start with individuals.

The Problem of Teamwork in Certain Cultures

A teamwork mindset requires confidence in others.  Continual failure by fellow team members creates  a disincentive to rely on someone else, the very foundation of teamwork.

Therefore, for it to be effective, members of the team must do their work effectively and earn the trust of their peers.  Otherwise, people resort to depending on themselves primarily (“it’s faster if I do it myself” mentality), a fatal blow not just to the concept of teamwork, but delegation and collaboration as well.

Organizations that hire great people and teach those great people to understand and trust each other, incubate more than just a teamwork culture.

They incubate success.

On the flip side, teamwork is a joke in organizations that hire sloppy people and then allow poor performance to continue, while at the same time preaching that people need to work together.  The second part of teamwork is “work”, and it needs to be done well for teamwork to succeed.  Otherwise, they’d be better off letting their few “All Stars” do the process or project themselves, rather than introducing broken cogs into the system.

I can’t count how many times leaders in organizations I’ve assisted have lost focus on cleaning up poor individual work performances, and have instead brought in consultants to help do fruitless team building exercises.

Without individual success, teamwork is indeed a waste of time.

One Idea for Team Building

We have to listen to our staff and actively seek their feedback.  If your team is dysfunctional, it’s time to ask your team why.  When dealing with team problems, I always start by interviewing everyone involved and asking what the problem is.

Nine times out of ten, they have the answer already figured out.  They almost always know if they should trust their teammates to finish their part correctly, and encouraging them to “work together” is frustrating and pointless.

For true team building, leaders must hold their individual team members to a high standard first (build trust in performance), then help them see the excellence they each bring to a project (understanding).  Only at that point will the handoffs  be smooth, the communication open, and synergies will begin to appear.

Have an excellent night,

Aaron Biebert


Don’t Use Vinegar

December 19, 2010

It sounds like a simple idea to be considerate when asking someone to go above and beyond (pick up extra shifts or take on an extra project).  However, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard or seen people in the world try to “attract bees” with vinegar instead of honey. 

Are you seeing stuff like this too?  (not just in movies)

Um, yeah, we’re going to need you to come in and work tomorrow.”

or how about what I call the “Leave 17 Voicemails” approach?

It just doesn’t work.  Kindness is key.

  • Ask, don’t tell.
  • Say please and thank you.
  • Show that you care.
  • Explain why you need it.
  • No means no.  If they say no, move on.  (They might say yes in the future if you don’t ruin the relationship)
  • Be pleasant.

Also, it’s important to surround yourself with caring, respectful people so that you can be caring, respectful back.  It makes for a nice situation.

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI and is the President of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare. 


Warning! Are You Cutting too Deep?

December 13, 2010

With more signs of the economy improving, now might be a good time to remember the value of our highly skilled employees.  This thought came to me when I just heard about a hospital mandating overtime for their nurses when it costs them $51/hr and they have the option of agency nurses to cover at $42/hr.  That’s a double waste; both money and spirit.

Also, let’s not forget the hospital has to pay overtime to the schedulers and managers that will scramble to coordinate and deal with the aftermath.

That doesn’t make sense to me. 

For me, it’s not just about the money (even though that’s a big one these days).  It’s about patient safety.  It’s about the long term burnout that’s happening.  It’s about reputation and retention once the economy improves.

It’s about not upsetting a highly skilled workforce right before the largest shortage of nurses and doctors in a generation.

I’m concerned about the big picture. 

The healthcare industry is looking at a shortage of about 600,000 nurses and 60,000 doctors peaking in the next 4 to 7 years.  If you have to cut costs further, be careful you don’t cut too deep.  The wound might not heal in time.

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI and is the President of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare. 


The Hierarchy of Teamwork

December 2, 2010

Over the years I’ve had the honor of helping organizations make big changes in the way they do things during challenging times.  Turnaround projects are not for everyone, but I really love the challenge and the difference it can make.  I affectionately call them my “Extreme Makeover:  Healthcare Edition” projects.

For a speech I gave at the Midwestern Practice Management Symposium this fall, I had a reason to organize my thoughts on a simple plan to develop teamwork and change not only practices, but hearts as well.  Somehow this hierarchy developed into a simple acronym:  TRUCK

Here were my thoughts…

1) Kindness – It’s the beginning of any good relationship.  In a cold world, authentic kindness stands out and opens doors.  Even in a big organization, stories are shared.  “They don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.”

2) Connection – Once they “care how much you know”, you can begin using your interactions (even electronic ones) to build a relationship.  Kind, meaningful interactions are the bond that creates a connection.  This may actually mean that you try to meet every person in your organization or division.  It’s not easy (believe me), but if you want to lead, you must connect.  I think this is actually the most important and sometimes most difficult step.  It makes or breaks leaders and teams.

3) Understanding – Once you build a connection and communication channels are open,  an understanding of one’s motives and qualities grows.  This is where it gets to be a challenge for some.  The more they understand you, the more they have to find what they need in order for you to be successful.  This is why the right people need to be in the right place.  You don’t have to be perfect or act like you’re in a popularity contest, but your motives and values must be absolutely unshakeable and consistent.

4) Respect – If they understand your strengths and proper motivation, respect will develop at some level. 

5) Trust – Finally, trust comes when they respect you and believe that you’ll use your skills and abilities to support them in their work.  It is the difference between knowing someone can catch you and believing they actually will.

Once you have their trust, you can make big changes:  change hearts, change minds, change cultures.  You can move mountains. 

TRUCK may be just another silly acronym, but hopefully this concept of a hierarchy can help guide the process for building teamwork or how a Servant Leader can grow a strong organization and deliver results. 

Let me know what you think.  It’s a work in progress.

 

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare. 


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