Friday, August 25, 2017

Becoming An Innovative, Creative, Adaptive Leader



Vulnerability. That's what it takes to become truly innovative, creative and adaptive, says the leading national expert on vulnerability, Brené Brown.

Now if you're like most professionals, you probably feel that vulnerability doesn't belong in the workplace. After all, vulnerability, as defined by Dictionary.com is: (1) capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon; (2) open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.; (3) (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend.

A Misunderstood Definition

Based off of the definition, you might wonder why you would ever want to be vulnerable. Brown, however, clarifies in her discussion on Chase Jarvis LIVE that vulnerability is a misunderstood concept. Instead, Brown defines it based off the data she's gathered as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. She goes on to say, "How can you be a good leader who's not willing to walk into uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure."

Still, the idea of being vulnerable and authentic in the workplace has been questioned by many. Herminia Ibarra, author of, "The Authentic Paradox," in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) referenced an example of Cynthia Danaher, a newly appointed general manager at Hewlett-Packard Co. who hurt her credibility as a leader by being honest about how she felt.

Danaher recalled to the Wall Street Journal that she confided to her 5,300 employees shortly after filling her new role, "I want to do this job, but it's scary and I need your help." She went on to say that the company finally had a boss who "knows how to make coffee."

Ibarra, in her HBR review article said, "Being utterly transparent—disclosing every single thought and feeling—is both unrealistic and risky."

Brown further explained to Jarvis that vulnerability doesn't have to lead to loss of credibility and injury. "What I hear people say is, 'Yes, you can be vulnerable at work but not too vulnerable.' That's like saying you can be healthy but not too healthy—you can't really be too healthy. When people say too vulnerable, what they mean is there's boundary issues."

She then used an example of a business partner who in front of venture capitalists and employees cries, 'Um, I'm in over my head. I'm not sure what's happening, and I'm pretty sure it's all going to go to [omit] in the next two weeks.'

Sharing in this way isn't appropriate, Brown said. You'd be misunderstanding your role. However, sharing that information with a therapist or possibly their partner wouldn't be inappropriate. "Vulnerability," Brown said, "requires an understanding of boundaries: where we share, with whom we share, and why we're sharing."

Boundaries & Emotional Intelligence

To be vulnerable, you must cultivate personal boundaries in your life. A boundary is a limit we set to help us define what is acceptable behavior from others in order to keep ourselves safe emotionally, physically and psychologically. The boundaries we set regulate how people treat us and how we treat others.

Setting personal boundaries is part of being emotionally intelligent. This learned skill of emotional intelligence helps you identify how you are feeling, how others are feeling, and how what you say and do affects others.

When Danaher told her employees that she was good at making coffee but needed help being able to fulfill her new role as general manager, she did not understand how her message would affect her employees emotionally. She had anticipated that by sharing this information, her employees would relate to a time when they started something new and felt uncertain. She assumed that by sharing this information, they would feel a bond with her because they would be able to relate. Instead, her employees felt a sense of insecurity because they were looking for someone who may not know everything but had a plan and vision for what they were working toward.

Fortunately, as previously mentioned, emotional intelligence is a learned skill, which means if you feel you're lacking, you can practice and improve.

While Danaher admits her faux pas is a painful memory, she has continued to learn from her mistake and has become a more resilient leader because of it. "A balance of openness, strength, and the ability to read others and their capacity for emotional content are all important aspects of vulnerability in leadership," Robert Beare Jr. stated in his doctoral dissertation at Capella University. He then paraphrased authors Goffee and Jones by saying, "In order to inspire followers to innovative and effective teamwork, leaders must develop the ability to be vulnerable and selectively show imperfection."

Becoming a Vulnerable, Innovative, Creative, Adaptive Leader

Since we're all individual, becoming our true selves will look different for each of us. However, here are six things you can do to become more authentic:
  1. Recognize yourself as a person who is always growing and evolving. 
  2. Spend time introspectively searching who you are. 
  3. Ask others (those who are fans of you as well as those who are not) what they think of your current leadership style. 
  4. Work on your emotional intelligence and boundary setting. 
  5. Practice talking to others. 
  6. And follow Brown's advice to strive for excellence instead of perfection. Try something new, knowing it won't be perfect but that it doesn't need to be.

"Authenticity," Ibarra said, "is being aware of who you are at the core (personality, abilities, motivations, thinking/beliefs), and leading from that place."

Becoming the kind of leader that is authentic and vulnerable doesn't happen overnight. It comes as you conscientiously work toward it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bragging Right



Celebrate successes internally, but don't focus on bragging externally. Focus on improving the customer experience and your customers will do the bragging for you.


Promote your successes internally

Your employees make your brand what it is. If they buy into your brand and its messaging, it's far more likely that your patients will experience what you tout your brand to be.

Make sure your employees know what their purpose is. If they feel they are doing worthwhile work and are making a difference, they will be better workers. Create a culture focused on success. Reward success.


Promote success, acknowledge shortcomings, build trust

When you communicate externally, it's important to acknowledge your shortcomings as well as promote your successes. Being authentic and transparent builds trust.


Measure to improve—not impress

Your purpose in measuring and tracking what your patients think about you should not be to impress others. Seeing how your company is performing provides you with a valuable resource to enable you to improve. All companies have weaknesses and strengths; each company is unique. Celebrate what you do well and look at your weaknesses as opportunities for improvement.


Consumers trust other consumers more than advertising

Don't take it from us, all you have to do is look on Amazon to see this is true. Consumers want to hear from other consumers what their experiences have been in interacting with a brand. If consumer reviews are low, your brand will have a much harder time attracting customers.

Encourage patients, family members, and employees to post reviews on Google and in other review venues that your potential patients search. The reviews show up on the right-hand side of the web page when someone searches your company name on Google.

Hospitals are also a key contributor to referrals. More and more, hospitals depend on star ratings to determine which companies to refer patients to. Working to improve your star rating and then promoting it to your hospital referral sources is important.


Promote honestly

Remember that more than your potential patients are listening to the messages you are sharing externally. Make sure that the messages you're telling potential patients are in line with the messages you're telling your employees. For instance, if you tell patients that they are your number one priority and you tell your employees that they need to focus on financial aspects of the company, your employees are going to see a mixed message. Dissonance in your messaging can injure your employee relationship, and it eventually makes its way to your potential patients.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lemonade May Be Easier to Make Than You Think

Negative situations can sure leave a bad taste in your mouth. However, the way you deal with these situations can change your patients' and their families' perception of what happened. What may have started as a horrible experience can be converted into a good one if you handle things right.


What to do when things get sour


Embrace negative feedback.

  • What this looks like: Instead of focusing on placing blame or covering up process problems, take courage and open up communication. Invite those in your company who can affect change to be part of the conversation. Identify what success looks like and where the process may be breaking down. Make an action plan to address issues and plan for follow up. 
  • What this does: By embracing negative feedback, you can begin to build renewed trust with your patients.

Acknowledge problems, then work to fix them.

Patients do not expect perfection, but they do want you to acknowledge fault and to take steps to correct it from happening again.
  • What this looks like: Making mistakes is part of the human condition. However, before you can stop repeating a mistake, you first must come to the realization that something didn't go right. Regardless of who is to blame, it is essential to sincerely face the fact that the patient or family member experienced something that caused them to feel unhappy with the situation.
  • What this does: When you are able to acknowledge that something went wrong, regardless of who is to blame, you can begin to change the situation. By acknowledging that something went wrong, you help to validate their feelings. It also helps you to be able to move the experience aside and begin cleaning up any unresolved concerns and problems.

Adopt a problem-solving attitude.

Remember, no one receives perfect scores all the time. One reason for the customer satisfaction survey is to measure improvement, not to impress.
  • What this looks like: The process to perfection is a bumpy one. Those who have an attitude that they are still learning are the ones who typically find greater levels of success because they continue to problem solve.
  • What this does: By creating a problem-solving attitude, you can find solutions to issues you may not think are solvable. 

Look for underlying problems if the same issue keeps showing up.

  • What this looks like: Finding and resolving the root problem in a complex issue is not always easy to do. Receiving negative feedback about an issue you're aware of but so far have been unsuccessful at resolving can be frustrating, especially if your compensation is directly connected with the survey feedback.
  • What you can do: First of all, take a moment to give yourself some positive feedback and encouragement. Complex problems don't go away overnight. Typically, they also require the cooperation and brainpower of more than one person. If you're stumped on how to get going to resolve a problem, take a moment to look at these great problem solving tips for complex business problems from the CBS Money Watch website. In addition to this, please remember that we are always here to help you. If you have questions about your reports, please let us know.

Finding solutions to sour situations is possible. This is especially the case when you're willing to recognize problems, transparently discuss them with you patients and their family members, have a problem-solving attitude, and when you work with others to resolve complex issues. As you work toward these solutions, you'll find that lemons can truly be turned into lemonade.