Category: Overcoming Adversity

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

When Everything is Changing, What Should Stay the Same?

 

If you perform any corporate sales function, I don’t have to tell you that in the pandemic everything has changed. As a former corporate sales person myself, I valued meeting face-to-face with my clients. That is currently not possible. Sales people have had to re-focus their strategies.

The Change Begins with You

If corporate sales teams are trying to understand how to manage change, their customers are in the same boat as well.

David Ash, senior vice president of FLMH, an agricultural sales and marketing firm, gave this advice to sales teams attempting to adjust to the changes brought about by COVID:

“Many people are frozen in place right now and don’t know what to do with themselves. But it’s important to get up every morning, create a plan, set goals and focus on how you can best serve your customers.”

This thought was echoed by FLMH executive vice president Mitch Van Kampen:

“We have to get creative about problem solving…it’s the salesperson’s business to be asking the right questions and finding proactive solutions.”

These solutions don’t come by magic, they require an intentional vision to develop strategy to implement that change. Sales consultant Tamara Schenk concluded the following regarding sales team management during periods of change.

  • You first need a shared vision of success across the organization.
  • You need a comprehensive change story, i.e., What we doing? Why are we doing it?
  • You need to have clarity in how those changes are to be accomplished.
  • Most importantly: The change you want to see in the organization begins with you.

Do you have the determination to see that change begins with you? Your sales team may have a good idea of what they want to accomplish, they may be clear on those goals, but unless they have the daily grit to get things done, managing change will be an impossible, uphill battle.

See Yourself as Successful

Tamara Schenk makes an important sales change observation:

The key for success is you being the example for the change you want to see in your organization. That means that you should be the first to use and apply the new methods, processes, tools, content assets, etc. You should be amongst the first to use new content, including the sharing functions, with your clients. If it’s about training or coaching, you should be the first one attending the class, even if it’s an online training.”

If you are employed in any corporate sales capacity during these times of rapid and unexpected changes, you must be determined to set an example, to leave your comfort zone and to be determined to lead. Remember that your customers need you.

Become better informed than anyone in your organization, learn as much as you can, coach as many people on your team as possible, and make yourself invaluable.

There will always be change, but what must remain is your vision and core values. For those with the mindset of winning, with the determination to make a difference and the desire to win, there will be rewards.

The pandemic is a major challenge, to be sure, but there will always be challenges. Those who rise to them will be winners. Be the winner that you are.

 

Scott Burrows, Corporate Sales Change Management 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

 

Insurance Industry Change: Virtually as Hard as You Make It

 

As a motivational insurance sales speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I know that selling insurance is easily one of the world’s most intensive, public facing sales jobs. Though products vary from company to company, the most important product you can offer is you.

Then we come to the pandemic. Suddenly, your firm handshake, your trusty, effervescent smile and the friendly banter gave way to videoconferencing, email and a phone call or two. Who had time to prepare for COVID-19? No one. The screeching halt from face-to-face to virtual sales was calamitous. Some insurance industry sales reps determined to keep fighting; unfortunately, many left.

In an industry where new hire turnover rates are 30 percent after three months, once April 2020 hit, thousands of insurance sales reps joined the millions of sales reps in other fields who quit or walked away because selling was “too tough.”

What’s the Difference?

The online resource Business Process Incubator recently completed (as of July 9, 2020) an insurance industry sales survey entitled: How Difficult It Is For Insurance Companies To Go To Remote Working? The results are eye-opening but not unexpected. Let me summarize several of the challenges.

The survey found that it is hard for insurance sales reps to initially explain what was happening, but those who succeeded in overcoming the confusion during the earliest stages had more robust referral networks.

The survey found it is more difficult to sell an “intangible product” remotely. Customers and sales reps can’t share emotions. It is difficult to break through barriers. This is where a sales rep must focus on selling themselves, outworking the competition, and making a difference.

Managing data security is also seen as a big challenge. Insurance providers and their agencies must bolster security and hire more people to ensure confidentiality and protect extremely important customer information. To that end, sales reps must convey trust and instill confidence.

Working remotely is not easy for the sales rep or customer, however, sales reps can convey the convenience and the lessened stress in buying insurance online. In other words, a negative can be turned into a positive.

While some are challenged, others aren’t. According to the survey, the keys are flexibility and technical expertise. Sales reps must either embrace the challenges or get lost in the confusion.

So, what is the Difference?

It can be argued, of course, that the insurance industry and its sales reps live in challenging times, and that the changes faced everyday are enormous. But hasn’t it always been this way?

In what era has selling insurance been stress-free? In what year have so many customers flocked to us that we didn’t have to work? Truth is, there are insurance sales reps who have a winning mindset, and some who don’t.

The insurance industry has always relied on people with vision who have the determination to succeed. If we look at the points raised in the survey, it’s clear that each challenge in the present-day world of virtual insurance sales can be overcome.

The science community has shown tremendous determination and grit to arrive at several promising vaccine candidates. The challenges against them were many. Yet, they persisted and they are close to winning.

Your mission as insurance sales reps is to be inspired to rise up in a similar manner. The difference is you. Stand up to the challenges – and win!

 

Scott Burrows, Motivational Insurance Industry Sales Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169.

In Sales, Some Things Change; Resilience Doesn’t

 

As a motivational speaker on resilience and grit, I know that of the many qualities a salesperson needs, resilience – and the daily grit to remain resilient – are never mentioned enough. Perhaps it’s because resilience, the skill of being flexible, isn’t thought of as being cool. It is, and in fact, business resilience yields huge benefits.

Get Tough

I’d like to open these thoughts on resilience and grit by quoting Gary Galvin, CEO of Galvin Technologies:

“While salespeople will find success when they lead with empathy, they’ll find greater success when they respond with resilience.”

He is on the money. When I was in the insurance and financial services industry, I qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table through the resilient pursuit of my sales goals. Of course, I was sympathetic to situations involving my clients, but it was far more important to be flexible to their needs, and to put in the effort to immediately respond to questions and changes.

If I was going to be successful as a salesperson, I had no choice but to develop a flexible mindset.

Michael F. Kay, wrote an article for Forbes magazine (11/7/17) entitled: “Resilience Is A Mindset Of Awareness And Practice.” Kay listed several ways in which this mindset can be nurtured. Among the top methods for cultivation of resiliency are increasing our sense of control: you are not powerless when your sales plans change, you can change with it; it is important to maintain perspective in a changing situation; and you must develop a positive self-concept.

I would also add that if you are part of a sales team, associate with those who also have a flexible mindset. It is easy to be surrounded by negative or inflexible people. They cannot help you. The winners on your team will see opportunity even in adversity.

Get Gritty

However, to be resilient also requires the grit to keep going and to see the big picture rather than the immediate problem. Kori Miller, writing for Positive Psychology, presented a wonderful summary of grit as a component of resiliency:

“Grit is about sustained, consistent effort toward a goal even when we struggle, falter, or temporarily fail.

Resilience is our ability to bounce back after we have struggled, faltered, or failed. It is being able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, take a moment or two to collect ourselves, and then get back to the business of pursuing our goal. It involves optimism.”

We cannot be resilient without grit nor can we possess a “gritty mindset” without resilience. As any successful salesperson knows, in real life we may misquote an important benefit, miss an appointment or inadvertently park in the CEO’s parking space. Those things unfortunately happen. It is how we respond to those struggles that count, whether it amounts to making a detailed correction, profusely apologizing (without fabrication) or sending a dozen roses.

In the end, resiliency and grit are about the courage to stand up after you have been knocked down and to keep smiling.

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Inspirational Keynote Speaker on Resilience and Grit for your next industry meeting, connect with his office 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

 

 

 

Adversity Builds Character: What You Can Learn From It

It’s not too much of a stretch to say that you’ll find very few people who actually appreciate adversity. Why would anyone want that? No sane person would want problems. And often, people wish for the day they have everything they desire, no wishes left ungranted.

To many, that’s the very definition of heaven: a place of bliss and peacefulness without disease, war and want. So, who in his right mind would want adversity?

Adversity is the opposition to progress — or so it seems.

The idea that adversity actually builds character and a more meaningful life has been around for more than two thousand years. The first inkling of such an idea seemed to have come from the ancient Greeks, specifically the Stoics. We now think of someone as “stoic” if they face adversity with a positive attitude (or at least without complaining).

So yes, adversity can build character. But how does that work? Why do problems present an opportunity to build one’s person, one’s character?

Stoics would say the obstacle is the way. The idea is that in facing an obstacle, one learns important lessons about themselves — about how they approach and solve problems. It’s not such a far-fetched idea if you think of it this way: An obstacle isn’t just a meaningless challenge or an annoyance, but also represents your limits. The obstacle literally refuses for you to pass unless you find a way around it, over it or through it.

The very experience of meeting your obstacle head-on and thinking about where you want to go opens up new avenues of thought, new ideas, new perspectives. The mind is a problem solver. It desires to uncover any question, any challenge and any problem. And from that new set of thoughts come new beliefs about your abilities, about how you treat others and what your responsibility is to them and yourself, and about your purpose.

This belief gives birth to a new resolve about your purpose, your desires and your actions. It all comes together into a conviction that turns into a strength that is visible for everyone around you to see. When you embrace the challenge that adversity places in front of you and do your best to overcome it, you have literally taken on a new character.

If you let it, adversity opens you up to a new life where your thoughts, words and actions bear new fruits you never would have thought possible. That’s how adversity builds character, which, in turn, leads to a new life with bigger and better possibilities.

Take a look at real-life adversities people are facing every day. Real people are facing real problems. How can this adversity lead to character development and a better life?

For one thing, there are no guarantees in life. But as long as you don’t give up on yourself and on others, there’s always a possibility — and opportunities are still there to be had. The realization that you’re not powerless even in a tough situation is incredibly empowering and transformative.

The reality is there are people in the world today who have faced similar adversity to your own, and somehow they overcame them. They might say that there seems to be some luck or fate playing its part. But I would like to think more often than not, we create our own luck or at least set ourselves up to have a “luckier” outcome.

If you open yourself up and let the adversity you’re facing shape your perspective in a positive way, you too can find a path that not only helps you deal with the problem at hand, but actually changes your character for the better.

To contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Overcoming Adversity Speaker, contact his office today 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

 

 

Who Needs to Care for the Caregiver? You. Me. All of Us.

 

Delivering motivational keynote addresses to the healthcare industry on managing change in the nursing profession, I am struck not only by the enormous changes sweeping across the broad nursing landscape, but by the renewed awareness of caregivers as people.

The new generation of nurses wants more for themselves than simply sacrificing for others, an unchangeable given, but they embrace the vision to see the importance of their own needs as well.

At the start of 2019, Jennifer Thew, RN, wrote an article for Healthcare Leaders entitled the “Top 5 Nurse Leadership Issues for 2019.” The issues identified included recruitment and retention, innovative technology, cultural awareness, employee engagement and promoting self-care. In the article, Ms. Thew interviewed Paula McKinney, RN, vice president, patient services at Woodlawn Hospital in Rochester, Indiana.

As I speak at healthcare conventions, “collecting stories” of change management challenges in nursing, I was struck by how McKinney’s observations parallel many of the current concerns I frequently hear.

For example, on the topic of recruitment and retention, she said: “I think [healthcare executives] need to look at being more creative in recruitment activities to attract people to their facilities…the generation of nurses that have been coming out [of nursing school]—and the ones that will be coming out over the next five to seven—want something different than what the baby boomers wanted. They want flexible schedules. They want to feel appreciated. They want engagement…The boomers ‘lived-to-work,’ whereas this next generation has a work-to-live mindset.”

The theme was further clarified under the topic of promoting self-care, where she stated: “For me, the thing I think we need to emphasize is getting nurses to take care of themselves. It starts with CNOs [Chief Nursing Officers]. What are we doing for stress relief? When we’re struggling in the personal world, it’s reflected in your professional world…as nurses, we do not typically take good care of ourselves. What are things we can encourage nurses to do right where they are?”

Who has the vision to Care for the Caregiver?

While healthcare struggles with important issues of managing change such as facility consolidation, major insurance issues, ever-changing computer platforms and technologies, are the nurses themselves being neglected? Are they neglecting themselves?

Study after study has found that “business decisions” that encourage higher stress levels among nurses result in nurses walking away, more forced overtime and higher burnout. Nurse anesthetist Nick Angelis believes “that by ‘taking steps to reduce burnout among the staff, [hospitals can decrease] turnover and expensive hiring and training of new nurses. The current shortage is regional and varied, so by encouraging employee loyalty with flexible, empathetic management, hospitals will find no need for recruiters or agency nurses.”

Carrie Silvers, MSN, RN, clinical instructor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing warned, “Nurses aren’t going to stick around if we don’t see some changes in their work environment.” As more nurses work overtime to fill this deficit, expect burnout rates to soar.”

It comes down to a collective vision. Do healthcare facilities have the vision and then the determination to reduce nursing staff stress, have meaningful nursing staff engagement, and do they have the daily grit to make sure that changes in the way we care for the caregivers matches the broader industry changes? The answer must be yes.

 

To Contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Healthcare Speaker on Changes in the Nursing Profession for your next meeting or convention, reach us through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169