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. 


Thank you notes

November 25, 2010

I’ve had all day and two separate Thanksgiving meals to think about what I’m thankful for at the Clear Medical Solutions family.  I thought I would share a couple of these thoughts with you.

  • Thank you to those who have helped form our new ideas.  You are some of the best and brightest in our industry.
  • To all those who dared to try our new ideas, those who could see the vision before others could:  Thank you!  (It was visionaries like you who brought us the airplane, submarine, and spaceship)
  • I’m thankful for the lessons of life that make us better, more caring, stronger.  They’ve made us who we are, even though they hurt so much.
  • To those who choose to work with us, and allow us to pursue our dreams.  Thank you.  We will not forget your gift. 
  • To those who keep working, when the going gets tough.  Your strength inspires us.  Thank you.
  • To those who’ve said “Yes”, when it was easier to say “No”.  Thank you.  (It was your “Yes” that gives us a tomorrow and a future.)
  • Thank you to the friends who share our story with their friends and colleagues.  You are the sponsors of our tomorrow.

To our team members, friends and family:  Thank You for your support!

You mean the world to us.

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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. 


The Things We Make…

November 19, 2010

…Make Us.

At least that’s what the Jeep said this summer when they unveiled their newest creation (here’s the YouTube link: http://bit.ly/b9TFd2).  It just begs the question:

What do you make?

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business” – Unknown

When we started our group back in 2007, we decided that we were going to “make” happiness for the people we work with, and guess what? 

It “makes” us happy.

With so many nurses, physicians, therapists, HIM’ers, and leaders suffering from fatigue, burnout, and mountains of paperwork, we figured happiness is something that would make a huge impact in our industry (and more importantly, our world).

So now every day we get together to pursue happiness for our people.  I always say that I’m the luckiest guy because I get to love my work, help people, chase goals, and make a career out of it every single day.  Yeah, it’s a battle sometimes (especially in this economy)…but it’s a battle worth fighting. 

Thanks for all the support.

If you know of any healthcare organizations that need someone, our people can be the solution.  We’ve built a nationwide medical community and we’d love to put it to good use making a difference. 

Let’s work together.

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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. 


Presentation Day

November 16, 2010

In preparation for my HFMA webinar today, we’ve taken the last week to discuss Social Media in healthcare, and how it can be helpful for work related activity.  Obviously there is a lot of information out there and so much changes every week.  Don’t hesitate to ask a question on the comments section below if you have one. 

For all of my friends in the HFMA, feel free to join us at noon Central today for my presentation called “Making Social Media Work for You”.  I plan to make the case for why it’s important in the professional world, and spend some time helping ease the transition into the world of Social Networking.

Space is limited for this free webinar, so reserve your seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/402846665.  After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Have a great day!

Aaron


Linkedin for Healthcare 101

November 14, 2010

Linkedin does such a great job of keeping you in contact with your professional network that I personally believe it will replace your Rolodex or address book.  It’s inevitable. 

It updates itself, allows you to ask questions of your entire professional network in one shot, and keeps you in touch with your offline groups and associations.  With a new member every second, it won’t be long before nearly every one of your colleagues is on it.

The first step is to register on Linkedin.com and go through the setup process.  For help on getting started, make sure you follow each step and check out this guide for new Linkedin users.

In the Information Age, people can Google your name and find out if anyone’s complained about you online, anytime you’ve been in the local paper, or just about anything else that people write about you.  When using Linkedin, you will be able manage the information that’s publically available about you and create a search result that is positive, professional, and near the top of the search results.  This is especially important for leaders, physicians, and others who depend on their reputation for their livelihood.

You can also gain new information and insights from other professionals in private group settings.  This can come in handy if you have a simple problem/question, but don’t want to pay a consultant for the answer.  Your peer network can and will help.  I use several groups to get peer support all of the time, and I swear by it.  Guide to asking questions on Linkedin

In the coming years our industry will face severe shortages for just about every type of work.  One benefit to Linkedin will be the ability to post job openings or do networking in order to find the right candidates for openings in your department. 

Just like facebook, some great communities have formed on Linkedin to provide peer support and helpful Q&A.  Here are some of my personal favorites:

I would recommend using the search box on the top right of the Linkedin screen to find other associations that you are a member of offline.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them as comments below.  I’ll help you out!

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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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