Category: Accountability

Change is Everywhere, But Nothing Has Changed About Staying Safe

 

As a virtual safety change management speaker, I know that in these uncertain times, nothing is more important than staying safe on the job. Unfortunately, because of stretched resources, layoffs and communications in the “new normal,” staying safe is harder than ever.

I’m not alone in that opinion.

EHS, the international developer of environmental, health and safety management software said in their April 21, 2020 blog, Why Safety Is More Important Than Ever During Tough Economic Times, stated:

“During a crisis, your business will only survive if you can keep your employees engaged and motivated. One of the key ways to keep teams engaged is to stay unified, and the only way to do that is by showing employees that you care. You need to show them that they are valued and that you’re ready to go to bat for them.”

Engaged and Motivated

How are you keeping your employees engaged and motivated about safety with all of the changes going on around them? How are you showing them that you care?

Are you determined to go the extra mile make a difference? Does your vision for a safe workplace match the difficult forces of change?

Safety is not a casual exercise; it must be daily focus of everyone in the organization.

Due to the corona virus pandemic, the majority of safety departments are having to make do with less. The way safety messaging is being conveyed has also changed. Safety talks are often virtual rather than in-person, or at best, in-person and distanced with masks. It is easy to lose touch.

Melissa Raffoni, writing for the Harvard Business Review (May 1, 2020), talked about the obstacles created by trying to communicate virtually. Among the several points mentioned in the article, she emphasized:

“For some, it’s uncomfortable…for many of us adults, who didn’t grow up with that same [virtual] technology, it [communication] can still be quite uncomfortable. This lack of comfort makes it harder for some to open up, connect, trust, and communicate with each other virtually.”

Safety, as we all know, is an agreement to look out for one another and for ourselves. Raffoni continued:

“Interpersonal dynamics are harder to manage [virtually]… You can easily lose people’s attention. It’s challenging enough to engage people in a face-to-face meeting, but virtual meetings often come with a plethora of new distractions.”

In these changing times, when safety is more important than ever, when we must be engaged and motivated, conditions have caused many of us to be less trusting, less communicative and easily distracted.

This combination could be an extremely hazardous or even deadly combination of factors.

Overcome the Forces of Change

The only way to keep the workplace safe in difficult times is by meeting the challenge head-on. This means that everyone in the organization must develop a safety mindset. The organization must be determined to communicate safety by every virtual means possible and it must strive to find a way to convey the messages in person, whether socially distanced, wearing masks in one-to-one meetings, whatever it takes.

Finally, overcoming the changes that are affecting safety takes grit; we must all be resolute that despite the challenges, our daily goal is to protect our most important asset: the lives of every individual in our organization.

 

Scott Burrows, Safety Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

Customer Service Opportunities Win Customers for Life

 

As a motivational customer service speaker, I’ve based keynote speeches on important lessons I first learned in the insurance and financial services industry, and later as a co-owner of an international export company. Customer service means we must always be prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty.

When I was in export sales, my company sold a container-load of a custom-blended fertilizer to a client in Singapore. When the product arrived, it was as hard as concrete, unusable. To save the relationship, we modified the product and shipped them another container load. No one expected us to do it. We lost money at first, but we impressed the client and kept what turned out to be a long-term client relationship.

When it comes to separating yourself from the competition, you must have the vision to see yourself delivering quality customer service and the grit to discipline yourself to customer service excellence.

An Amazing Experience in Dallas

Opportunities to deliver excellent customer service are everywhere. My next keynote speaking engagement may include the following true story.

Not long ago, I was honored to speak at two events at the Grand Old Opry Convention Center in Nashville. Following the second talk, my voice started to crack and it felt as though I was coming down with a chest cold. For a keynote speaker, losing your voice is catastrophic!

I had to catch a plane to Dallas that afternoon to speak at a huge conference the next day. By the time I exited the airport my voice was completely gone (“Oh, great, I’m going to stand-up 1,000 people!”). I used the ride-sharing app and the driver quickly picked me up. I wrote on my iPhone:

“Help! I lost my voice. Can you please take me to an urgent care center near my hotel?”

The hotel was about 30 miles away. It was just the start of an amazing adventure.

As he’s driving, he asked if I was sick. I nodded my head.

“Please sir, let me take care of you. I know what it feels like to get sick in a town where you don’t know anyone.”

He turned off the ride sharing system, so he went “off the grid,” so to speak. He found an urgent care center, then parked, and waited for me. I was diagnosed with a respiratory disorder and given a prescription. He then drove me another five miles to a pharmacy that had groceries. He asked me what I needed in addition to the medicine, then he went around the store and got me snacks plus salt for gargling, honey and tea.

He drove me to my hotel, parked the car, and helped me check in. He took me up to my room and carried my bags. On my iPhone I wrote, “From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you, for your kindness.”

I carry a $100 bill in my pocket for emergencies. He refused to take it!  I whispered, “I know you did this out of the courtesy of your heart, but I’m in a position to pay. I want to respect you for your time. Please don’t be insult me by refusing. I would feel terrible.”

He finally took it and gave me his personal number. He said if I needed any assistance whatsoever while I was there to please let him know.

He was originally not from this country. He wasn’t rich, but he was determined to give me what he had to give: himself. It is the essence of customer service. We don’t give customers our company mottos, or promotional pens, we give them ourselves.

I will never forget how he made me feel. You’d better believe that if I am ever in a position to help him, I will.

He sold me on himself.

 

Book Scott Burrows, Motivational Customer Service Speaker through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

Sweeping Changes Come to Healthcare in 2020: Is Your Practice Ready?

In my role as a healthcare change management speaker, I often speak about how the year 2020 foreshadows an acceleration of change to many group practices. I am particularly interested in the ACOs, or accountable care organizations.

In the strictest definition, “ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare patients.”

We all know it is much more than that. It reflects a commitment to greater synchronized care and avoidance of duplication of efforts. Ultimately the ACO reflects a determination to prevent medical errors.

In his look-ahead for the healthcare industry (“Top 10 Health Care Industry Predictions For The Year 2020”), Sachin Jain, Forbes magazine, May 2019, states: “The balance of power will begin to shift from hospital systems back to physician groups. All around the country, physician groups who face acquisition by hospital systems are looking for an alternative…within specific specialties, such as oncology and cardiology, private equity companies are beginning to roll up provider groups to drive performance, negotiate more favorable contracts, and leverage purchasing power.”

Naturally, the formation of ACOs, while ultimately enabling patients to receive high-quality care, are not without their challenges. Change brings new processes to the office along with new technologies. The use of contractors to create ACOs within practices is hardly done for free. The venture-backed companies demand a return on their investment in your practice as well.

The Broader Picture

The year ahead is obviously not about ACOs alone. We can all expect to see several other trends intensify this year. One important change is a continuing shift back to home-based care as an alternative to expensive hospital stays.

For example, Lauren Hardin, MSN, RN, writing for JAMA (August 13, 2019), talks of an expanded use of RNs, paramedics and EMTs to evaluate patients on an in-home demand-basis. Hardin illustrated this by offering an example in Louisiana:

“In Louisiana, for example, a new service…allows patients and their families to quickly request health care in their homes through the use of an app—much like an Uber app—that connects them to an on-demand network of nurses, EMTs, and paramedics. They also follow patients with complex health and social needs in their homes to prevent emergencies and hospitalizations.”

This shift, in turn, will force changes in the way responders are being reimbursed but overall the advantage is greater patient comfort and decreased anxiety. Overall, it lowers the burden on the medical system.

Experts also predict that in 2020, there will be an ever-greater interest on the part of the public to examine the behaviors of the healthcare industry. Certainly, the exposing of the practices in some of the more nefarious pricing behaviors of the pharmaceutical industry, plus the debates over the Affordable Care Act, clearly signaled a new era in healthcare consumerism.  There is a shift, though perhaps decades late, that is similar to the consumer shift from buyer beware to seller beware. Anyone who has ever used Amazon.com or Yelp.com will understand the new power of the consumer.

In 2020, it will take the determination of the healthcare industry to address the shifts in front of them and the vision to respond to the challenges. No organization, hospital or practice will be able to avoid the new trends. Those who have the daily grit to address the needed changes will be the major winners.

 

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Motivational and Change Management Speaker for your next meeting, connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

What Does it Take to Lead Organizations Through Change?

Do you have what it takes to lead your organization through change? As a leadership and change management speaker, I ask executive leaders if they have the determination and the vision to lead their organizations through change.

Why Vision?

“Demanding” that organizations respond to the challenges in front of them has never served upper management in bringing about effective outcomes to difficulties created by mergers, acquisitions, technology or other major changes. It requires the vision and the daily grit to get everyone on the same page and to see things through.

Several years ago (August 2014), Entrepreneur magazine identified at least eight factors needed to bring about a positive outcome to major changes including:  the creation of a plan; understanding the goals and objectives the plan will address; clear communication; identifying key players in the organization to lead the charge; the specific tasks to be delegated; the objectives of the plan; the management of desired expectations and most important, accountability.

I would add “mindset” to the above change management outcomes. Is the organization of a specific and singular mindset to ensure that the outcome is successful?

To that point, business writer Camille Nicita for Forbes magazine (July 2, 2019), stated:

“When you’re creating change, your employees need to authentically embrace what they are being asked to do. Left uninspired, employees may take on the mindset that ‘they told me I have to do this, so I have to do it.’ Rather, employees should understand how the change affects — and more importantly, benefits — them. They need to believe in the higher purpose the change ultimately serves. Uninspired employees can almost always be compelled to comply, but I believe only an inspired workforce can turn change into a sustainable transformation.”

Who Needs Inspiration?

Ultimately who needs to have the collective mindset and vision to bring about change in their organizations? Everyone. No employee or department should be overlooked in buying into the tasks at hand. It is called “ownership,” where there is a shared vision and mindset throughout the organization.

In October 2017, McKinsey & Company wrote an article entitled “Secrets of Successful Change Implementation.” Among the important points they shared:

“For both successful and unsuccessful [organizational] transformations…the single most significant factor influencing a transformation’s outcome is the degree of ownership and commitment of the organization’s leaders. To be clear, ‘ownership’ and ‘commitment’ involve much more than just ‘alignment.’ Commitment is a level of psychological investment that drives personal, proactive action—and becomes even stronger when failure may have adverse consequences. At a very basic level, successful transformations typically reinforce ownership through clear accountability for specific targets and individual incentives for key players that are strongly aligned to success.”

To lead an organization through change, the executive leaders must convey a sense of ownership. It is a commitment that says, “We’re going to be successful, and I need your determination to help me reach that goal.”

Change is inevitable, and in today’s world, it seems constant. It takes a buy-in and without a plan to bring everyone on board, change is more wishful thinking than reality. Get real. Commit to your vision.

Book Scott Burrows, inspirational Leadership & Change Management Speaker for your next through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

It is Not Enough to Lead, Be Accountable

 

In my keynote talks as a speaker on leadership and accountability, I have found that while nearly everyone wants to lead, relatively few understand that to lead is to also be accountable.

Accountability – or the lack of it – has become a major problem in organizations large and small. In a comprehensive study recently done by the Partners in Leadership consulting organization on “accountability,” it was found that 85 percent of professionals were not clear on what accountability meant, and a whopping 93 percent were “unable to align their work or take accountability for desired results.” From an employee standpoint, 84 percent blamed their leaders’ lack of accountability and responsibility for organizational failures.

Are You Determined to be Accountable?

In my keynotes on leadership and accountability, I often ask if those in the audience who “covet” being leaders are also determined to stand up and say, “I am responsible. I am where the buck stops.”

Business writer Paloma Cantero-Gomez in Forbes magazine (June 2019) lists five accountability traits that every leader must possess:  leaders must take full responsibility for their decisions; leaders must take responsibility for communication (so there are no misunderstandings); leaders must think and say “we” instead of “I”; leaders must run effective meetings; and finally, leaders must solicit feedback.

While each one of those points is important, where they lead is to employees feeling valued by the leader. Do you have the daily grit to value and to be accountable to every employee on your team?

In 2016, the American Psychological Association did a comprehensive “Work and Well-Being Survey.” The results of that study are not just important but vital to successful organizations. Among many other aspects, the survey found:

“More than 9 in 10 workers (who are supported by accountable leaders) said they feel motivated to do their best (91% vs. 38% of those without leadership support) … and have a positive relationship with supervisors (91% vs. 54%) and coworkers (93% vs. 72%).”

Not surprising, more than 85 percent of employees who feel their leaders are accountable recommend their companies as a great place to work.

It was ballplayer Bob “Buck” Rodgers who said:

“You can’t talk about leadership without talking about responsibility and accountability…you can’t separate the two. A leader must delegate responsibility and provide the freedom to make decisions, and then be held accountable for the results.”

The leader, in being accountable, must also be humble. Leadership is not about going it alone, it lies in being determined to go forward together. It cannot happen in a vacuum. While the leader must often make tough decisions, there is nothing that prevents that leader from listening to others, respecting everyone, and then being responsible enough to say, “Your solution may be better than mine, and I respect that.”

In workplaces where there is greater accountability there is less turnover, more cooperation and more loyalty. Accountability is a shared vision.

To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Leadership and Accountability Speaker for your next meeting, contact him through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169