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.

61 Hits
0 Comments

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.

168 Hits
0 Comments

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.

95 Hits
0 Comments

Is There Life After Management in Healthcare?

Is the perspective on retirement amongst healthcare professionals different than in other industries?

As a Retirement and Career-transition coach, I work to stay abreast of the issues and challenges that are evolving in these two areas. Combined with my 18 years of experience as an executive recruiter in healthcare, I’ve been able to gain insight into some of the retirement and career transition issues that are unique to healthcare executives.

Is there life after a healthcare career?

A Beckers Hospital Review article reports that the average healthcare CEO is 57 and plans to retire at 65 and that 61% do not plan to work beyond 65.

Online nursing forums indicate that most nurses expect to retire in their fifties and nurse executives in their early sixties, understandable considering the combined effect of the physical and psychological demands of the profession.

Does this indicate that healthcare executives are no more aware of the evolving retirement scene than executives in other industries? Is there still a prevailing 20th century mindset when it comes to retirement, one based on the three-stage linear life plan with its artificial finish line of 65 and “withdrawal into isolation?” A model that, for more than a half-century, has advocated an off-the-cliff move from labor-to-leisure, vocation-to-vacation.

Graphically, that 20th century model and its life-span altering consequences look like this:

We’re at a place we’ve never been before. A place that renders this model irrelevant and potentially dangerous - physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.

The new reality is that we are living longer and healthier. We’re experiencing a “longevity bonus”, potentially as much as 30 years beyond the traditional retirement age.

When the arbitrary, politically-inspired retirement age of 65 was established decades ago, the average life span was around 55 and the old model made some sense. Guideposts weren’t important – few people lived to 65. But today, with lifespans for many stretching into 80’s, 90’s and beyond, the game has changed. We’re in unfamiliar territory with outdated institutions and policies and limited guardrails to keep us realistic about the new face of retirement.

But we instinctively know that thirty years of golf, travel, canasta and/or mah-jong just doesn’t make sense, nor can it be healthy.

A new retirement perspective is emerging, one that eschews tacking that longevity bonus onto the end and simply extending a period of “old age.”

Instead it proposes an alternative model where that bonus is recognized as a period of productivity and purpose that can be interspersed with pleasure. A model that might look like this in the second half/third stage.

Under this model, there is no wasting of accumulated experience, skills and passions. Learning continues as does meaningful, purposeful work along with a broadening and deepening of social relationships. Combined, this increases chances to not only live longer but to die shorter by maintaining vitality, vigor and verve up to the end. And society gains as acquired skills, experience, wisdom and passions are redeployed and not squandered.

The dark side of retirement

As a society in general - and likely amongst healthcare professionals - we don’t appear to be making this transition to a new retirement mentality very effectively.

We are experiencing an unprecedented “dark side” component to retirement. It stems from (1) failure to acknowledge and plan for this extended life space and (2) a retirement planning process that is almost entirely dedicated to financial or “hard side” elements and with little or no attention to non-financial, “soft side” components.

We know that 2 of 3 retirees have gone into their retirement with no semblance of a non-financial plan.

Here are just a few sobering facts that speak to the affects of an unplanned retirement:

  • By 2020, the number of retirees with alcohol and other drug problems will leap 150%.
  • The NIH reports that, of the 35 million Americans age 65 or older, nearly 2 million suffer from full-blown depression. Another 5 million suffer from less severe forms of the illness.
  • Depression is the single most significant risk factor for suicide among the elderly. The CDC recently showed a dramatic spike in suicides among middle-aged people.
  • The overall, national rate of divorce in the United States is trending down. Except for one group: the 50-plusers, who have seen their rate of divorce surge 50% in the past 20 years. In fact, one in four couples divorce after age 50.

Is it the same for retiring healthcare professionals?

I don’t see healthcare pros being as susceptible to these issues or devolving into “roleless roles” and sinking deep into a lounger upon retirement because of the intensity of career roles already performed and the energy and commitment necessary to fulfill those roles.

However, this is also a group whose “nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel” dedication doing such meaningful, purposeful work may shield them from the aforementioned issues. Retirement planning beyond the financial may be no more present than with the general population because of this.

As a retirement coach, I encourage pre-retirees and early retirees to put as much emphasis on non-financial planning as on the financial planning. Don’t expect that assistance from your financial planner. They are trained to advise on, and sell, financial products and most do an excellent job in helping their clients in that regard. However, they are not trained or equipped to dispense advice on life-planning issues.

Beware the retirement honeymoon

Research has shown that retirees experience a “retirement honeymoon” period of 1-3 years after which the realities of existence within a traditional retirement model sinks in. These post-honeymoon years of retirement can be disappointing, contentious and wasted if pre- or early-retirement planning doesn’t take place.

Here are some of the issues that often surface:

  • Overcoming a loss of identity.
  • Divergent post-retirement interests (career or personal) between spouses.
  • Boredom and stagnation – even narcissism - due to a lack of challenge and social engagement.
  • Depression and physical deterioration because of reduced activity and social interaction and lack of a sense of purpose.

Retiring healthcare professionals can rock the world – on their terms

Personally, I feel that healthcare professionals can rock the world in the new version of retirement. Drawn to the healthcare profession out of a desire to help, having flourished in a life-and-death environment and seen and experienced real-life issues on a deeper level than people in other professions, there is a wonderful, unique and powerful foundation on which to build to the continued benefit of our society.

Consider the freedom to impact and serve in a very unique, personal way without the restrictions of politics, bureaucracy, government controls. Equipped with a longevity bonus and a background unparalleled in touching lives, the possibilities are restricted only by one’s thinking and creativity.

I fear that the persistent pull of the 20th century retirement model will suppress that creative thinking and waste a pool of incredible talent and problem solving.

There is life after healthcare – don’t panic

Those are the words of a new friend of mine, one of a number of retired friends who are integrating their essential selves, passions and their natural and acquired skills and leveraging them back into the marketplace where they will continue to do good.

A recently retired hospital CEO in Missouri, this new friend has chosen to pursue things that interest him. He has chosen to broaden and deepen his passion for civic and community involvement through volunteer board-level positions, paying forward his executive administrative experience as well as satisfying a passion to serve. He balances that with deepened family involvement, by immersing himself in learning a second language and by building black-powder, muzzle-loader rifles as a stress relieving hobby. My sense is that he has never operated at a higher energy and enthusiasm level.

For a retired CNO/CNE friend, it’s taking her doctorate in nursing and decades of top-level nurse management experience back into the marketplace to help nurse leaders cope with the pressures of today’s broken healthcare system and be more caring patient advocates. She’s doing it through a childhood passion for writing and teaching, using the internet, social media and book publishing. As she approaches 70, she has a passion-fueled energy that’s hard to keep up with.

Three suggestions to help the move to a successful new retirement

  1. Retire to something, not from something.
  2. Use the 3-5 years ahead of your retirement date to chart a retirement course with your spouse/partner outside of the financial planning process. Get on the same page early. Work with a life or retirement coach to help chart this course.
  3. Consider “practicing” retirement now by experimenting with things that may interest you beyond tennis/golf/fishing/yoga. Start isolating the things that excite and motivate you and that will help you achieve a fulfilling, happy retirement.

Suggested reading:

  1. “The New Retirementality”, Mitch Anthony
  2. “Boundless Potential”, Mark S. Walton
  3. “The Big Shift”, Marc Freedman
  4. “Finding Your Own North Star”, Martha Beck

Smooth sailing!!

224 Hits
0 Comments

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.

402 Hits
0 Comments

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.

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

405 Hits
0 Comments

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.

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

481 Hits
0 Comments

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.

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

492 Hits
0 Comments

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!

537 Hits
0 Comments

Career Lattice vs Career Ladder

Last week when the guest speaker in my Organizational Behavior class mentioned “career lattice”, I saw many quizzical expressions on my student’s faces. I realized, where other industries have adopted this method of talent development and retention, the healthcare industry largely lags. Part of the reason is the level of specialization, training, and even licensure requirements in certain roles. Certain skills need to be honed over time and you get better at your “trade” the longer time you spend in it. This can and has, however, led to burnout in many healthcare professionals leading to a talent drain. Healthcare is now one of the largest employers in the country, so it is time we paid attention to breaking stereotypes. The hierarchical career ladder has always been around and may have worked well in the past. But as more and more professionals look towards versatile and rewarding careers, while still maintaining a semblance of balance and flexibility, the concept of a career lattice makes much more sense that it ever has. The other limiting factor is our definition of career growth. We mostly tie it to a title or compensation, making it very prescriptive and limiting our options. But how about expanding your professional toolkit or repertoire, getting outside your comfort zone to challenge your abilities, utilizing your skills and experience in a different area – is that not a growth opportunity? Sometimes to take a step ahead, you may need to take a few steps back or sideways!

Though it may not be applicable in some specialized niches, it is important that healthcare organizations explore and adopt the concept where high potential employees are given growth opportunities to explore other roles and develop new competencies. We know that changing an individual’s attitude or behavior based on an organization’s culture is a much harder journey than teaching new skills and competencies. They why lose a professional who has become an integral part of the organization due to a lack of opportunities? In some industries, it is the norm for professionals to remain in their roles only for a couple years before they move into another role. This enhances employee engagement, retention and loyalty, while ensuring a steady pipeline of motivated individuals within the organization to fill critical vacancies. It also significantly reduces the costs associated with recruitment. What are some best practices that healthcare can adopt? Most healthcare organizations are accustomed to matrix structures, so opportunities are plentiful.

When I look at my own career path, it has certainly been a lattice. I planned to get to the “top” and the quickest way was the hierarchical ladder. It was a competitive rat race. I wanted to remain in hospital operations as that was the world I knew, loved and thrived in. I exceled and did achieve my career goals becoming a hospital CEO. But that also got me to a crossroads in my personal life. I loved my work, but I also loved my growing family and had to make some difficult career choices to give both my best. What I have learned through my experience is to keep your options open and never be afraid to take risks. The adage “greater the risk, greater the reward” maybe cliched but is so true! What I feared to have been career suicide (stepping down from my first CEO role) launched my career into a very different and equally rewarding path! So, whether your organization supports a career lattice or not, don’t be wary to explore it in your own career journey and seek out opportunities that help round your experiences and not typecast you or limit your options. Be creative and enjoy the journey. It is not a race so why not take the scenic route?

908 Hits
0 Comments

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.

730 Hits
0 Comments

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.

774 Hits
0 Comments

Three Ways to Work With Recruiters

With over 15 years of executive search work and helping healthcare companies recruit, land and lead talent for their organizations, there are still things in the industry that surprise. One of those is the disconnect between the healthcare executive and the headhunter/search industry.

In this article I will share 3 Ways to Work with Recruiters.

  1. Get to know them before you need one
  2. Often, I get calls from healthcare leaders whom I have never had any prior contact with because they are now out of work due to a reduction in force, a merger or conflict with a board member and a myriad of other reasons.

    An old Chinese proverb states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

    I have talked with thousands of healthcare leaders and I am always surprised when someone tells me this is their first real conversation with a headhunter. In today's fast changing healthcare world your network is key to your future success should you need to do a job search.

    Unfortunately, when an organization decides to do a RIF there is no loyalty to you even if you have spent the last 10 years giving 60 hours a week to the organization. Even when we as leaders expect loyalty from our employees we are willing to cut their legs out from under them when we must save money or our own job. (But I digress). This is a topic for another day.

    The point here; get to know recruiter(s). Even if you just took a new job continue to build your network. I have worked with executives who have taken a new position only to find out it is not the right fit; a board member decides they don't like them or the family isn't happy once they arrive and the need to extract from the situation sooner rather than later.

  3. Take or return their calls
  4. As I stated above, I get calls from leaders who I have never had a conversation. What I didn’t say is that I had never called them. As a headhunter my job is to network, get to know leaders and help you, or an organization find the right fit for an opening.

    I know what you are thinking here. I get way too many calls from recruiters to take or return a call. I am way too busy to speak with every headhunter that calls my office.

    Believe me, I understand this point, but see point number one.

    I am not saying you must return every call every time, but build relationships with more than one recruiter. How many? The number is up to you, but I suggest you have a relationship with 5 to 10 recruiters in the industry. Not all recruiters are the same. Some are transactional and don't want a relationship, they just want the placement, some treat candidates like a head of cattle and just like to run you through the process and some are relational and want to work with you long-term and build a relationship that serves you both to find a job and help you build your team should you need help.

    You need to talk with more than one or two to find the right match for your own personal style. And also understand it is impossible to know about every possible job in the marketplace, nor can we place you in a job if a company is already engaged with another firm, or is unwilling to pay us a fee for the introduction. Therefore, it is important to get to know many recruiters, and the only way you can do this is to return calls, or messages when appropriate.

    I learned, probably like you did growing up to treat others the way I want to be treated. However, I do my best to treat others better than I want to be treated…this is the platinum rule. Most recruiters worth their salt and who have been in this business more than a couple of years are fairly thick-skinned and take rejection pretty well, or they wouldn’t still be doing this kind of work, but I recommend when you can -- return their calls. You will know within a few minutes of conversation whether you can connect with this person or not, and if you don’t just be honest and tell them you prefer they not bother you anymore.

  5. Update your resume every six months and send to your recruiter contacts.
  6. If you are like me and most others I talk with in this business, it gets harder and harder to remember everything we have done or accomplished from one month to the next.

    I suggest every month you sit down and reflect on what you have done to move your team, departments and organization forward. Keep a running document or journal that is secure and saved frequently that you can update each month.

    Schedule an appointment with yourself every month to do this so you don't forget things and they never get added to your resume. I also suggest you do this with your team. I am a coach, and this is a great way to coach your individual team members each month and encourages them to keep working hard and reminds you of how hard they are working. Then guess what? When it is performance evaluation time you have already had 11 sessions with them to help you create their evaluations and now there are no surprises at the end of a year.

    If it is not put on the calendar it will not happen. Put this appointment on your schedule and your teams schedule every single month...you will thank me later!

    Once you have the information on your own personal journal document, then schedule a six-month appointment with yourself to update your resume with the best and most quantifiable information you have from the last six months. Then spend 30 minutes writing a personalized email to your recruiter contacts and attaching your resume.

    This doesn't mean you are looking for a job, it means you are watering the tree after you have planted the seed. You are growing your network before you need it.

    Learn more about mike at www.harbourresources.com

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

931 Hits
0 Comments

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

842 Hits
0 Comments

Where to Next? The Fastest Route to Career Advancement

Are you looking to be promoted?

If getting a promotion is important to you, then it is time to sit down and ask yourself what you can be doing to actively advance your career. Here are some suggestions.

Regain Career Momentum

Define what success looks like to you. Once you have established the main target, break it down into smaller achievable steps and goals. Implement a workable system that will increase your technical and emotional skillsets needed to move from one step to the next.

Manage Up

Managing up means that you go above and beyond the tasks outlined in your job description. You continuously go the extra mile. Your job is to make your immediate manager’s life easier. Learning to effectively "manage up" can put you in a great position to align with your immediate supervisor, integrate effectively with the organizational culture, receive great recommendations, and ultimately help you on board effectively.

Help your stakeholders recognize your ability to build and lead a high-performing team that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Leading well on a small scale shows initiative and ability. Report team successes to your direct supervisor, giving credit to both the team and team members. As their leader, their success is your success. Consistent progress in leading a high-performing team will show that you are able to graduate to more responsibility.

Build Your Network

Networking/connecting is essential to your success both while gainfully employed and in transition. Networking with a purpose is a vital component of anybody's career success but is often terribly neglected.

Ask Questions / Survey Your Surroundings

•Have I asked my immediate superior what it takes to get to the next position?

•How has this organization historically handled promotions?

•Do they generally promote from within or seek externally?

•What is the general time-frame for people to get promoted within the organization?

•Is the person you report to going anywhere?

•Does the person you report to have a history of mentoring his/her direct reports?

By defining your goals, developing a strategy, and become intentional about executing your plan, you can increase your chances of advancement immeasurably.

Here's to your success!

Jim

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

810 Hits
0 Comments

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.

886 Hits
0 Comments

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
804 Hits
0 Comments

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.
1165 Hits
0 Comments

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.

1764 Hits
0 Comments

Process Management: Achieve Value-Based Results

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.” Such a profound quote by W. Edwards Deming, largely recognized as the Father of the Quality Movement. Dr. Deming's famous 14 Points, originally presented in Out of the Crisis, serve as management guidelines. The points cultivate a fertile soil in which a more efficient workplace, higher profits, and increased productivity may grow. These management principles have a direct correlation to navigating the path to achieving results in the uncertain healthcare industry of today.

Deming’s 14 Points for Leadership/Management

While traditionally applied to product manufacturing, Deming theory has direct application across multiple industries, especially when rising consumer and regulatory requirements demand greater value. View healthcare service delivery as a product in high demand from consumers (patients, families and others). Expectations of lower cost and superb quality, delivered in a highly patient-centric and service-oriented environment, create an imperative healthcare systems must meet to remain relevant.

    Healthcare leaders are served well when focusing on Deming’s 14 Points:
  1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive, to stay in business and to provide jobs.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for massive inspection by building quality into the product in the first place.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of a price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Institute leadership (see Point 12 and Ch. 8 of Out of the Crisis). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers
  8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. (See Ch. 3 of Out of the Crisis).
  9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team in order to foresee problems of production and usage that may be encountered with the product or service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
    1. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute with leadership.
    2. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers and numerical goals. Instead substitute with leadership.
  11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objectives (See Ch. 3 of Out of the Crisis).
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.

The focus of this article is to bring home the reality that EVERYTHING IS A PROCESS. “If you cannot describe what you are doing as process, you do not know what you are doing.”

Physician alignment, integration and engagement in integrated delivery systems are essential elements in navigating the complexity of healthcare service delivery. Healthcare organizations need a simplified approach to realize organizational vision of comprehensive and successful alignment and integration strategies. Creating a common Vision is essential. Healthcare organizations that focus on a vision of “maximizing success in the ever-evolving healthcare industry through physician alignment and integration” will ultimately build capability to meet and exceed consumer expectations in navigating the path to value-based care. Today’s ever-evolving healthcare industry requires a comprehensive Vision of Integration. Execution of the Vision is best achieved through a Leadership Philosophy of Performance Excellence.

The first key element in fostering a culture of performance excellence is to define the “WHAT” that constitutes excellence, frequently referred to as “the Triple Aim” of healthcare:

  • Operating/Financial Excellence (low cost, highly efficient and cost effective service delivery),
  • Service Excellence (service delivery exceeding patient and family expectations), and
  • Clinical Excellence (best clinical outcomes for every patient and patient population).

The next essential element of a performance excellence culture is to define the “HOW” the organization will be led through:

  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Knowledge Management/Knowledge Transfer
  • Process Management

Organizations will not only achieve the “triple aim”, but will enhance performance through achieving the “quadruple aim” of healthcare. In addition to achieving traditional value-based results, a culture of performance excellence will yield higher levels of provider satisfaction and engagement while redefining service delivery. As highlighted in previous articles:

  • Value Based Care is here to stay and healthcare organizations must overcome multiple organizational gaps that may contribute to not fully realizing a vision of success in a high performing integrated delivery system. Here
  • Key Stakeholder Engagement is essential to execution of a common Vision:
    • Physician Stakeholders (as well as others) should be engaged in organizational Governance, especially among healthcare providers, is essential to success in a value based environment. Here.
    • Physician Stakeholders should also be engaged in Leadership and Management to achieve sustainable results. Here.
    • Knowledge Management/Knowledge Transfer
      • A common understanding of performance is best achieved through measuring, monitoring, reporting and analysis of key outcomes: Operational, Service and Clinical Metrics (Data Analytics) Here.
      • Opportunities for performance improvement are quickly identifiable when using data analytics in evaluating current outcomes.Here.

This article expands on development of a Philosophy of Performance Excellence to achieve a vision of success through Performance Management. Measuring, monitoring, reporting, analyzing and improving performance begins with defining key metrics to create a common understanding. Internal and external benchmark measures are available through a variety of sources to build an improved understanding of: Operational/Financial, Service, and Clinical Performance. Now you need a methodology to achieve your desired outcomes.

Physicians and other care providers work within a defined process everyday of their lives when addressing and resolving patient needs for care. What is done when presented with multiple patients with complex healthcare needs? SOAP is a traditional approach to addressing patient needs:

The SOAP note (an acronym for subjective, objective, assessment, and plan) is a method of documentation employed by health care providers to write out notes in a patient's chart, along with other common formats, such as the admission note. Documenting patient encounters in the medical record is an integral part of practice workflow starting with patient appointment scheduling, to writing out notes, to medical billing. The SOAP note originated from the Problem Oriented Medical Record (POMR), developed by Lawrence Weed, MD.[1] It was initially developed for physicians, who at the time, were the only health care providers allowed to write in a medical record. Today, it is widely adopted as a communication tool between inter-disciplinary healthcare providers as a way to document a patient’s progress. SOAP notes are now commonly found in electronic medical records (EMR) and are used by providers of various backgrounds. Prehospital care providers such as EMTs may use the same format to communicate patient information to emergency department clinicians. Physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, podiatrists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, speech-language pathologists, certified athletic trainers (ATC), sports therapists, occupational therapists, among other providers use this format for the patient's initial visit and to monitor progress during follow-up care.

It is a well-defined thought process. Complete a SUBJECTIVE EVALUATION, an OBJECTIVE EVALUATION, an ASSESSMENT and a PLAN. Engage patients and family members when seeking to understand what is happening with a patient (Subjective). Gather facts/data regarding what is happening with a patient through diagnostic procedures (Objective). Review the information gathered and knowledge gained from the evaluations (Assessment) and take action to address what has been presented (Plan). Why not apply a similar process that is highly effective to leadership and management. That is a process management/performance management approach.

Performance Management

The days of simply making claims of high-quality, service-oriented and low cost care delivery are gone. Patients, families, communities, payers, regulatory agencies and other key stakeholders demand proof of performance. Measures of performance should focus on Operations/Financial, Service and Clinical Excellence. Internal and external benchmarking of performance is imperative. Once you understand current performance through data analytics, you need tools to achieve continuous improvement.

There are many theories of performance/process management. Theories and practices have evolved over time. Many are inter-related and draw on common practices. Process Management philosophies include, but are not limited to:

  • Total Quality Management (TQM):
    • Focus on the Consumer
    • Continuous Improvement
    • Quality Improvement
    • Accurate Evaluation
  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI):
    • Analyse
    • Refine
    • Improve
  • Plan Do Study Act (PDSA): Model for Improvement: What are we trying to accomplish? How will we know that a change in an improvement? What change can we make that will result in improvement?
    • Plan: Objective, Questions and Predictions, Plan to carry out the cycle (who, what, where, when)
    • Do: Carry out the plan. Document problems and unexpected observations. Begin data analysis.
    • Study: Complete the data analytics. Compare data to predictions. Summarize what you have learned.
    • Act: What changes are to be made? Begin the next cycle.
  • Lean Management:
    • Leadership Commitment to Project (s)
    • Project Charter (Standardized for ease of understanding).
    • Project Tracking (verify milestones)
    • Assign Project Manager
    • Engage Key Stakeholders
    • Communicate Frequently
    • Achieve Results
  • Lean:
    • Waste Reduction
    • Continuous Improvement
    • Respect for People
  • Six Sigma-DMAIC:
    • Define: Define project purpose and scope. Identify high level processes for improvement. Determine customer needs and benefits.
    • Measure: Baseline data on current processes. Pinpoint problem locations and occurrences. Identify potential areas for improvement.
    • Analyse: Identify root causes and validate root causes against captured data. Determine improvements that need to be made.
    • Improve: Implement the improvements that have been determined to address the root causes.
    • Control: Perform before and after analysis. Monitor processes/systems. Document results. Determine next steps/recommendations.
  • Lean/Six Sigma:
    • Lean: focuses on waste reduction by streamlining process
    • Six Sigma: focuses on preventing defects through problem solving
    • Lean/Six Sigma: Lean strengthens Six Sigma-Problem solving plus improving process delivers greater value-based results

The common thread in all methodologies is an unrelenting focus on seeking improved outcomes in everything we do:

  • Cycles of improvement
    • Engaging in a customer focus
    • Understanding key stakeholder perspective
    • Measuring current performance through data analytics
    • Engaging those closest to the work:
      • to define current processes (value stream mapping, flowcharting)
      • to define desired outcomes of current processes
      • to define undesirable outcomes (failures) of current process
      • identify and define best practices
      • identify and define outcomes
      • identify and define preferred processes to achieve best practice performance and outcomes
      • transfer best practices, best practice outcomes and preferred processes to:
        • gain consistency across all players
        • reduce variation in outcomes and results across all players
        • meet and exceed customer expectations at all times
        • reduce cost of service delivery
        • increase throughput in service delivery
        • provide consistent, high-quality outcomes

Performance Management Simplified

High performing leaders in healthcare organizations of today are challenged with the uncertainty of healthcare delivery in the future. Creating a performance excellence environment is the best 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


Evaluate your data; identify best practice


Know your process and design your process

Hardwire/Standardize best practice, process design to ACHIEVE

Key Take Aways:

  • You have highly engaged employees, physicians, patients, family members, community representatives 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.
    • Pick a methodology for process management (they all work)
    • Train for it
    • Build consistency of approach

Next Steps:

  • Define your performance excellence culture
  • Relentless leadership focus on 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
  • Achieve success in all you do
  • Demonstrate that you are creating value based outcomes
987 Hits
0 Comments