Category: Overcoming Adversity

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

 

They Once Called Banking “Dull,” No One Believes That Now

 

As a banking & financial services change management motivational speaker who came out of those industries, I am intimately aware of the myths. The biggest myth is that the profession is dull. As we all know, nothing could be further from the truth.

Banking Exchange Contributing Editor Ed O’Leary recently wrote:

“Banking has always been primarily a relationship business…so it seems to me that in a successful commercial lending business model, there remains the need for creative intervention of a human sort…at its heart, commercial lending is a highly interpersonal business where we earn our way by being creative with our customers and their needs and with our banks in the management of the risks of financial intermediation.”

While O’Leary is clearly well-versed of the changes that digitalization has brought to the industry, he is even more aware of the unjustified perceptions that have led to a decline in the industry finding bright new talent.

“The lack of newly trained talent augurs well for lucrative careers and job security. But what might it really portend for the industry? Maybe too many people have paid too much attention to the nonsense that banking isn’t innovative or interesting. I can’t imagine anything further removed from reality.”

If commercial lenders have been wrestling with how they will meet the challenge of change, financial services brokers have been going through even more turbulent times. In fact, and in strange ways, change is forcing all of us to come together.

Are you determined to manage the changes?

Managing the Changes in Financial Services

When I give keynote addresses to brokers on how they’re managing changes within their area of the financial services and banking industry, I am often told, “Scott, it’s overwhelming,” or “You won’t believe what’s coming next.”

Twenty years ago, with the exception of science fiction writers, no one in the financial services community could have imagined concepts such as “customer intelligence,” AI, Blockchain, FinTech companies, cloud computing, robotics or cyber-security for that matter.

One of the many projected changes PWC Global envisions for 2020 is the expansion of the shared economy for the financial system.

“By 2020, consumers will need banking services, but they may not turn to a bank to get them. Or, at least, maybe not what we think of as a bank today. The so-called sharing economy may have started with cars, taxis, and hotel rooms, but financial services will follow soon enough.”

There just may be, as the report suggests, a sharing of financial sources just as we currently experience with ride sharing and apartment sharing.

The changes will force commercial lenders and financial services organizations to be more inventive, more customer service oriented and more digitally savvy than ever before. The good news is that those institutions and leaders who have the courage to envision managing these changes will be rewarded with incredible opportunities.

Are you resolute enough to embrace the possibilities?

 

Engage Scott Burrows, Banking & Financial Services Change Management Speaker for your next industry meeting through this website or by calling us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Engaged to Save Lives at Work

 

As an inspirational safety speaker, I know all too well that the safety industry has traditionally focused on force feeding workers a diet of safety posters, safety lectures, safety demonstrations and horrific tales of gruesome injuries about “someone else.” It is a multi-pronged attack that checks all the right compliance boxes. This approach often causes people to disengage.

Part of the problem stems from the traditional “blue collar” and “white collar” designations. Those who toil on the job are often viewed as having less of an ability to personalize safety messages as the folks in the air-conditioned offices. Having been “a worker” and “an executive,” I knew this bias was untrue. In fact, when “safety” gets divided into “them” and “us,” it often results in more injuries throughout the organization. Scientific research backs me up.

Safety is a Story

The frontal lobe is one of seven parts of our brains. It is where we do our higher reasoning, however, appealing to only reason does little to drive a message home. This is not a new fact. It’s been around for centuries.

For example, when workers pass one of those safety posters with the stick figures lifting the wrong way, it does practically nothing for engagement. Even when the posters have info-graphics as to lifting, pushing and pulling statistics, no one fully takes that into their memory.

Telling a worker that in 2018, nearly 300,000 workers (based on National Safety Council statistics) were badly injured by incorrectly lifting does little good, if he or she didn’t know any of the injured people.

If the “blue collar” workers are found to disengage from safety messages, those in the office aren’t faring better. For example, Automotive Fleet magazine (May 25, 2018) explained that commercial automotive fleet accident rates have risen to almost 20 percent of all automobile accidents. The reasons aren’t faulty tires or winter storms, but far more basic, “…the No. 1 factor contributing to the increase in accidents continues to be distracted driving, especially among company drivers. Employees use company vehicles as their mobile offices and multitask while driving, which creates more opportunities for distraction.”

The same executives who stress workers aren’t being mindful on the job are themselves not mindful when they are driving to sales calls, job sites or to and from the office. Who’s to blame for the lack of safety engagement? Perhaps we should put the biggest blame on our amazing brains.

While there is a part of the brain that remembers facts and stick figures crying “Ouch!” it doesn’t prevent someone from lifting the wrong way or getting into an accident when driving while on their smartphone. Am I saying posters or classes are useless? Not at all. They can reinforce the story, but they are not the story. The inspirational safety story is a memorable story.

Engagement Demands “Why”

I am a safety statistic and safety storyteller. On November 3rd, 1984, I was a passenger in a friend’s car. As an athlete and martial artist, I guess I thought accidents happened to other people. Despite everything I had seen, heard and read I decided to not wear a seatbelt for a short ride down the beach. My friend lost control of the vehicle and I broke two vertebrae in my neck and suffered a serious spinal cord injury. I went from an athlete and martial artist to being diagnosed a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair. It is an intensely personal safety story and it is impactful for my audiences.

A safety story, up close and personal, is the best way to engage the entire brain, along with the other tools. Our brains are more likely to wire in information when it is tied to emotion. What engages us is that personal connection.

My mission is to tell that story, and help every employee develop a safety mindset and safety vision, with the determination to make safety a daily part of their story.

Contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Safety Speaker through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Motivational Speakers Impact Meeting Attendance for Associations

 

As a keynote speaker to national associations on the topic of motivation and overcoming adversity, I know the importance of my mission. This coming year, national association speakers will speak to nearly 207 million attendees at 1.8 million events. These events range from major keynote addresses and breakout sessions to regional workshops and seminars. Often, attendees at general national association meetings will also attend other association functions. Impressions gained from national association meetings and shows often filter down, and define the organization when attendees are thinking about going to smaller meetings.

The average low-ball estimate of the cost for attending a national association meeting is about $1,500 per employee for a three-day meeting.  This is not a decision lightly made.

If you are a meeting planner you already know that bringing in an inspirational and overcoming adversity speaker is a great way to kick off a conference. In fact, it can set the tone for the entire event.

In an article about successful meetings, Forbes magazine (February 10, 2019) explained the motivating effect of a dynamic keynote.

“What is the purpose of the guest speaker? Do you want someone to kick-off the event by electrifying the attendees? Generally, the answer will be, ‘yes.’ Your attendees will come in with high energy and high expectations — you’ll want to match this intensity with your speakers’ abilities.”

Announcing that an inexperienced non-dynamic speaker will speak at the national event almost guarantees the reverse outcome of what you expect.

In an earlier article in Forbes (October 16, 2013), communications expert Dr. Nick Morgan related, “A keynote speaker is a temporary tribal leader who can move an audience to action…people only take action because of other people, and a keynote speaker has a unique opportunity to do exactly that.”

Suppose there is no one to move that audience from the very beginning? Not enough attention is been given to what happens when a national trade association declines to hire the right motivational speaker or hires someone who does not engage the audience to help them deal with the issues they face.

Why Take the Risk?

There are at least seven general outcomes when a national association decides against hiring a keynote speaker or does not bring in a speaker who is dynamic enough to move the audience to understand key issues. These outcomes include: lower attendance; a failure to address an important industry concern; a lack of unifying message; a lack of actionable objectives; a lack of media coverage through online, print and electronic media and lower expected attendance at the association meeting the following year.

Helping to avoid disastrous outcomes are what a professional national association speaker brings to the podium. A strong keynote speaker takes the time to learn about your industry in depth; is invested in moving your audience to action; cares about your association’s success; and is accessible will assure a more successful meeting.

At a time when associations and their membership are more far-flung and remote than ever before, the national meeting may be the one opportunity to bring everyone together.

The question may not be “Can we afford to bring an inspirational keynote speaker to our association meeting?” rather, can we afford not to?

 

Contact Scott Burrows, National Association Inspirational & Overcoming Adversity Speaker today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

We Talk About Change Management, but What Does it Really Mean?

 

As I deliver so many motivational keynotes on Change Management, a question I am frequently asked is “What does change management really mean?” It is not so naïve a question. There are many meanings and many answers. For example, to a company undergoing a merger, change management to the CFO is often not the same thing as it is to the CIO or to the Vice President of Manufacturing.

Bart Perkins, writing for CIO’s online magazine (April 12, 2018) had several observations important to share on the topic of defining change management.

His observations about those in IT can apply to most any employee in any department:

“Many people view their value to the organization as being a good technical architect, programmer, or security specialist. When asked to take on a different role, they may become very uncomfortable…once they are no longer rewarded for the skills that made them successful, employees may question their purpose.”

If you would like, think of a marketing manager, quality assurance specialist or an accountant having to take on new roles and working with new people. When they are forced to leave their comfort zones, what will happen to the role they worked so hard to establish?

Another observation Perkins made on change management was, “Individuals must be willing to examine new information and adopt new behaviors and approaches. Since most people prefer the status quo, this can be difficult.”

Inertia

What is it about change management that is such a difficult process? As an inspirational speaker on the topic, I think I can sum it up in one word: inertia.

Many organizations undergoing a transformation quickly discover that prior to making changes, their employees are locked into a cycle of indifference, disengagement and fear. The fear, incidentally, often stems from an understanding that if employees were previously motivated to make changes at their initiative, they were often penalized for doing so. They may not have started out that way, they may have at one time been eager to make a difference, but over time they felt their initial motivation to contribute and participate was futile.

Change management, in all of its phases, requires employees to re-ignite and re-energize their vision. It is not so easy a task. In fact, it is a two-way street.

Overcoming inertia requires determination not only from individual employees but from the corporate or organizational entity itself. The organization that is undergoing change or has undergone change must reach out to their most valuable asset, their employees, to help. The employees must know that they are the difference; they are the change agents.

Neither is change management solely about organizational charts or the implementation of new technologies. It is personal. This personal investment does not happen by accident; it takes an individual vision on the part of the employee, the determination to make that vision happen, and the grit to work at it every day.

Overcoming inertia is the opposite of settling for so-so; it is the mindset of never being content with “good enough.” I know from both personal and business experience that there will be days when the change that is required will be difficult. I also know that overcoming inertia and never settling for apathy causes people and their organizations to soar. That is the true essence of where change management can take us.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Keynote Speaker on Change Management today, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169