Category: Vision

Have the Determination to Make Your Workplace Diverse

 

As an inspirational speaker on Diversity & Inclusion, I often hear the sentiment “I wish our organization would be more inclusive, but progress has been slow – and I’m a nobody.”

As a quadriplegic, I admire the capabilities and understand the dilemma of those who are physically challenged and cannot get hired. I am also well aware of the under-representation of women, minorities and the LGBTQ communities in the workplace. Things are finally beginning to change due to a realization that inclusive workplaces are healthier workplaces.

Quality Logic, a software development organization, published an article in October 2018 on diversity in their industry.

They pointed out that “one of the biggest things stopping managers from implementing diversity is the fear that introducing people who ‘are different’ and ‘don’t understand’ each other will hamper productivity.”

In fact, the opposite appears to be true. According to a Forbes article, “racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%.”

Some may call this outperformance a shared sense of social justice, but as someone deeply interested in diversity and inclusion I feel that the more life experiences diverse teams bring to the workplace, the more creative and dynamic the result.

The employment research firm Glassdoor found that 67 percent of job seekers want to be a part of a more diverse team and 57 percent want a commitment to diversity to be a high priority.

Interestingly, Glassdoor found that of those surveyed, 45 percent felt it was the hiring managers, not the CEO, who needed to step up and be determined to hire more minority candidates.

Time for a New Vision?

In April 2019, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offered an article entitled “The Biggest Reason Companies Avoid Hiring Diversity? 41% Say They’re ‘Too Busy.’” Can this be true at face value?

SHRM felt that the 41 percent stat “reveals just how small of a priority diversity hiring is. If managers want anything to get done about the lack of diversity on their teams, they’ll need to start fitting it into their schedule.”

Could it be that many hiring managers have an inherent fear of minority hiring? It would appear so. The National Bureau of Economic Research found, “When reviewing resumes, specifically looking at just the name, those associated with Caucasian descent received 50% more callbacks than those associated with African American descent, regardless of the industry.”

Hiring fears over inclusion don’t just stop and start with minorities. A 2017 study by Rutgers University involved sending out fictitious job applications of almost 6,000 positions to hiring managers of accounting firms. About 67 percent of those applications stated disabilities such as spinal cord injuries in the cover letters. The fictitious applicants stating disabilities received 26 percent fewer responses from hiring managers.

As someone who is often wheelchair-bound I am fearful as well as thankful. Thankful for the business opportunities I’ve had to excel in the insurance and financial services arena as well as my current profession as a motivational business speaker.

But I am fearful as well. How many outstanding applicants with spinal injuries have been passed over not for lack of credentials, but caution over how well they might fit into the organization?

How many tremendous African American, Latino or other minority candidates have been turned away, not to mention highly qualified women or those of different sexual orientations?

Your employees are encouraging you to have the determination to make workplaces more diverse. They want you to succeed in that mission. We must rise above our worries to understand that inclusion and diversity are the keys to stronger, more profitable and more dynamic organizations.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Diversity & Inclusion Motivational Speaker 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

 

Do You Know Your Members and Do They Know You?

 

As I frequently deliver overcoming adversity keynote and breakout session speeches to association executions, I was quite bothered by a recent poll taken by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

ASAE reported organizations were concerned that member expectations were changing and the organizations themselves lacked data about their members and even a capacity to analyze that data.

Can You Imagine?

We don’t often think of associations as “having customers,” but they clearly do. The customers of associations are their members. Numerous surveys — and I have witnessed this first-hand — warn of members going rogue; of members spinning off and either forming their own organizations or in some way, undermining the original organization. Unfortunately, all that this usually accomplishes is to dilute industry efforts, weaken messages, and confuse potential members about the true mission of the organization.

Peggy Smith, writing for Community Brands, April 2019, talked of several major association challenges. Her organization conducted its own survey and found “…the strategic focus has been on member acquisition and increasing revenue. Fewer have been or think they will be successful at increasing retention, although this is a goal…”

What this tells us is the association industry is doing a pretty good job of attracting new members and increasing the revenue from those members, but the industry doubts it will have much luck in keeping those members. It is widely known that attracting new members is not cheap. In fact, the industry standard shows that it can be up to five times more expensive to attract a new member than to retain a current member.

Here is where my idea of “association determination” comes into play. Combining similar findings of these and other surveys, it seems that many organizations are giving up meeting the expectations of existing members, they are unwilling to overcome adversity; to learn about their needs, in order to keep attracting new members. As it is more expensive to attract new members, many organizations go into a cycle of doing the same thing over and over and essentially marching in place.

Organizations that are determined to retain their members, to learn about them, to really listen to what they are saying are the winners in this scenario. One of the most effective ways to retain members is to continuously engage them. Certainly, we have the means to do so, either by personal calls thanking them for being members, or listening to their concerns and needs, or creating vibrant communities within the association community.

We can be determined to use a blend of modern technology as well as traditional methods to keep members engaged, using tools from mobile apps and websites, to online forums and online surveys, to personal thank you letters and one-on-one discussions.

When Associations Fail

Forbes magazine, in a 2018 article on why associations fail, stress at least three important things associations must do to remain vibrant:  build a strong consensus among the existing membership; make sure the membership supports what they have helped to build; and most important – listen more than you talk.

Are we willing to overcome the temptation to simply take in more and more “followers” rather than to engage, include and reach out to the committed members we already have? Let’s not forget that our “customers” are our greatest strength. Be determined to learn who they are, retain them, value them and listen to their needs. In turn they will be your greatest ambassadors.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Overcoming Adversity Speaker for Association Executives, contact him through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Comfortable Sales Goals Lead to Sleeping at Your Desk

 

Not long ago, I was leading a seminar on real estate sales and setting sales goals when a new agent asked if I thought daily prospecting and follow-up did much good. She clarified she prospected when she had a chance, but she was more interested collecting referrals. She shrugged when I questioned how she defined goals for collecting referrals. Then I asked if she felt she had the grit be successful. The word “grit” stopped her cold.

What are Your Goals for Real Estate Sales Success?

Depending on the source, the failure rate for real estate agents after one year has been estimated at between 75 and 87 percent. Most of the agents who do make it barely squeak by. The old rule of thumb said that about 80 percent of the brokers make 20 percent of the profits. The new norm is even more intimidating. According to industry experts, it has now become the 90/10 Rule where 90 percent of the realtors earn 10 percent of the commissions and ultimately, just the top 1 percent of the realtors earn 40 percent of the commissions!

Mike Lalji, a highly successful real estate broker for the past 35 years, described some key elements that characterize a “1 percenter.”

“Those 1% Realtors…pretty much make whatever their written goal is for the new year. They write their goals a day or 2 before the 1st of January of the new year… they develop good interpersonal relationships with family and friends and are self-motivated.”

The Close.com website in a January 2019 article entitled “Why So Many Realtors Fail After 2 Years (and How Not To)” listed a failure to set goals as one of the key reasons new real estate agents fail to make the cut.

The article cited a sophisticated scientific paper printed in 2015 in Nature magazine. Simply put, the article stated that written goal setting and the determination to follow it through erases all differences between gender, ethnicity, race and other factors.  No matter where new agents start out, if they write down their goals and have the grit to follow it through, they have an infinitely better chance of succeeding.

The Joy of Prospecting

Alexis Petersen writing in January 2019 for RIS Media, an online real estate magazine, stated several goals in order for agents to be successful and listed the following as being important:  setting realistic prospecting goals, committing to prospecting ideas – including cold calls and visits as well as referrals, focusing on quantity prospecting (not just to friends and family), following up on every call, email, text or inquiry, and my favorite, “Make prospecting part of your daily routine.”

Petersen echoed other articles written by industry professionals. It is having the determination to write down and set goals, the grit to prospect every day, to follow up on every lead, and to network whenever possible. As a real estate sales professional, you must have the vision to separate yourself from the pack and be part of the 1 percent who believe they will succeed.

Don’t get comfortable and wait for the market to come to your feet. It won’t. Have the courage to stand up and be a professional real estate agent, fighting each day for your success.

Book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Real Estate Keynote Speaker on Sales and Goal Setting, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Is the Healthcare Industry Paralyzing Patient Care with Numbers?

For some time now, the mindset in the healthcare industry has been that the economies of scale created by the mergers of healthcare systems have resulted in superior patient care. Financial analysts have argued that since consolidation has worked for airlines, restaurant chains and insurance companies, then why not for the medical community?

Consolidation has been presumed to reduce costs and expand services and treatment options, especially in competitive markets. The raw numbers might seem to support this contention; certainly, there are budgetary advantages of lowering unit costs of medical devices, buying pharmaceuticals in greater quantities or eliminating redundant administrators.  But experts are now warning that in the rush to consolidate, one critical factor is being overlooked: patient care.

New Findings on the Patient Experience

A recent New York Times article entitled “Hospital Mergers Improve Health? Evidence Shows the Opposite,” suggests that tragically, the results of merging have led to an increase in patient mortality and a decline in care.

Martin Gaynor, a Carnegie Mellon University economist and one of the authorities cited in the article says “evidence from three decades of hospital mergers does not support the claim that consolidation improves quality (care).”

To back that up, the Federal Trade Commission recently reviewed the cases of about two million Medicare beneficiaries who had been treated for heart disease over an eight-year period. According to the article, in areas of the country where there is less competition “(Cardiac) patients are more likely to have heart attacks, visit the emergency department, be readmitted to the hospital or die.” In fact, in areas where there is one dominant cardiology clinic and the elimination of competition, cardiac patients may stand a 5-7% chance of having a repeat heart attack.

When competition is allowed in a market, healthcare staffs have no choice but to turn their mindset to the patient. They have to care about patient satisfaction, and in turn patients respond to that care. This is just as true in countries where there is strong government regulation, such as England, as it is in the United States.

According to the New York Times piece, “family doctors in England found that quality (care) and patient satisfaction increased with competition.”

More Than Numbers, It’s Mindset

In many areas of the country, consolidation has also created long patient wait times to make appointments and then once in the facility to be seen in a timely manner. Some healthcare specialists believe that if wait times are streamlined then patient satisfaction will dramatically improve. This is the case of another “number” being applied to a complex issue as though patients are pieces on a conveyor line.

Press Ganey Associates is the leading market research firm for the healthcare industry known for its patient satisfaction surveys. In other words, they talk to patients. Joe Greskoviak, president and CEO at Press Ganey concluded:

“The immediate reaction is that patient loyalty is based off things like wait time. That’s not necessarily the case. There are drivers of patient loyalty that are very actionable (such as) improving communication and then, empathy. Patients want to understand that we actually care for them.

Chasing the numbers is paralyzing patient care rather than curing it. Healthcare providers need to re-examine the mindset that consolidation, automation and computerization can improve patient satisfaction simply by reducing budgets, improving wait times and other analytics. There needs to be a renewed and shared vision that the focus of healthcare must return to the patient.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Motivational Speaker through this website or call us today at: (520) 548-1169

 

In my book Vision-Mindset-Grit, I wrote… “While I was an agent with Northwestern Mutual Life between 1989 and 1994, I had the privilege of watching many motivational speakers at their annual conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin—speakers such as Terry Bradshaw, the famous Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, and Charlie Plumb. Charlie graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis and went on to fly the F-4 Phantom jet on 74 successful missions over Vietnam. On his 75th mission, with only five days before he was to return home, Charlie was shot down, captured, tortured and imprisoned in an 8’ x 8’ cell. He spent the next 2,103 days as a P.O.W. in communist prisons.

What really resonated with me was how Charlie told his story of overcoming adversity and how he drew parallels between his P.O.W. experience and the challenges of everyday personal and professional life. I walked away thinking about my own life, how far I had come, the choices I had made and the challenges I was trying to conquer. From that day forward, a seed was planted in my mind: I wanted to be a motivational speaker.”

Long story short, in 1989, I stretched my vision. I wanted to qualify for an industry award. They call it the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). It’s an award that fewer than 8% of my peers from around the world qualify for annually—peers representing 500 companies in over 70 countries. It took me 5 years to hit that magical number and qualify. When you’re trying to hit a magical number in your own life or business, or are hoping to qualify for an industry award, there’s one criterion: You have to have the right mindset.

But what is the right mindset? It begins with an unshakable belief in who you are on the inside when no one else is around. It’s what you believe about yourself, your abilities and your skills especially when adversity is standing right in front of you. Adversity takes on many forms: the physical, such as a debilitating handicap or illness; the mental, such as low self-esteem or a lack of knowledge; and the emotional, such as depression, fear or others telling you you’re not good enough, smart enough or resourceful enough to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. Any one of these can be powerful enough to thwart your ambition, which is why it’s imperative to lock in a mindset that will help you to achieve the level of confidence you need to face them down. You may never fully conquer a fear or recover from a physical setback, but the right mindset, one that works for you, will still let you move forward toward your goals. I’ve discovered that through personal experience time and again.

Attending the MDRT’s Annual Conference in 1994, in Dallas, Texas—with 8,000 of my peers on hand, the best of the best top sales producers in the world—I again had the opportunity to watch some amazing keynote speakers on leadership and team building, dynamic men and women who encouraged others to set goals that stretch the mind. That was when I made the decision to leave an industry I had so much passion for to pursue a brand new career: motivational speaking. This career has taken me around the world and placed me in front of audiences from every industry and so many wonderful cultures. It’s been eye-opening, heartwarming and overwhelming.

I made that dream happen, but I’ll tell you, there’s been one other goal that’s stuck with me for over twenty years now. I’ve always to have the opportunity to be a keynote speaker for the Million Dollar Round Table, just like those who inspired me back in 1994. Well, that dream has finally turned into a reality. In February 2018, I will be the main platform speaker for the MDRT in Thailand. I am honored—and beyond thrilled!

Don’t ever give up on your dreams, goals, hopes and aspirations. Don’t ever give up on yourself!

As a Motivational Keynote Speaker, I have been invited to speak to different industries, associations and Fortune 500 companies around the world sharing my success strategies that revolve around Vision-Mindset-Grit. Three simple yet powerful words that, when put into action, can absolutely help you conquer your goals and push the limits of what is possible regardless of the challenges standing before you today.

Vision helps you set manageable but far-reaching goals. Mindset allows you to stay focused on those goals by making adjustments as circumstances, personnel and other elements change. Grit is the everyday determination and willingness to persevere and be resilient in your pursuit especially when all else beckons you to throw in the towel, or worse, stay in your paralyzed state, your comfort zone while maintaining the status quo.

During a keynote, I typically use my own life-changing story as the backdrop to bring the concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit to life. Lately, I’ve been encouraging my attendees to Reflect back on their own lives and experience self-awareness, to Reflect back on how far they have come, on the choices and decisions they have made, the challenges they have overcome, as well as the contributions they have made to their organization, other employees and members of their team. In doing so, I have found that Reflecting is a Mindset technique that can help you tap into your inner strength and be more productive while keeping your Vision clear and always in the forefront of your thinking.

Due to my physical handicap, I cannot ride a traditional bike; however, with new biking technologies and modifications I’m able to ride a hand-cycle, which is a 3-wheeled bike. It’s aerodynamic, sits a few inches off the ground and can now be seen by Paralympians using it to compete in distance runs at the Paralympics.

When I bike, I enjoy letting my mind wander. On one ride, I found myself Reflecting back on some of the choices and decisions I’ve made in my life. In doing so, the words leaders leading leaders kept speaking to me. My mind drifted back to 1983, when I was 18 years old and playing college football as a walk-on wide receiver at Florida State University under head coach Bobby Bowden. During that season, I noticed that Coach Bowden was a delegator who led from the bottom up as opposed to the traditional top down. He would encourage assistant coaches and frontline players like me to take charge and lead on and off the field and challenge each other, day after day, to perform to the best of our abilities. It proved effective and became a powerful life lesson that I teach and have incorporated into my everyday existence.

That reflection triggered another memory that I consider to be one of the most defining moments of my life. On November 3rd, 1984, while a sophomore in college, a bunch of us planned a weekend on those gorgeous white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, at a place known as St. George’s Island. We arrived around 8:00 PM, set up our camp, built a fire, started drinking (as the drinking age in Florida was 18 back then) and telling story after story with our best teenage hormonal sense of humor.

As the hours passed, my friend Ed challenged me to a foot race. Being competitive, like you, I stood up to the challenge and bent down into my running stance waiting to hear “GO!” Imagine right now hearing that word echoing in the air and the first thing you can feel is the cool night air blowing through your hair, and with each step you can feel sand Gritting between your toes, and as you lean across that imaginary finish line you can even taste salt in the ocean breeze. That run turned out to be the best, but I could have never imagined that it would be my last.

After that run, we walked back to camp. Waiting for us was another friend who said, “Do the two of you mind taking a ride down the beach to find some more firewood to keep our bonfire burning throughout the night.” We said, “Sure, why not!” And it wasn’t long thereafter that it happened. On our way back, in a car loaded with wood debris on a dark, otherwise empty road, Ed lost control of the wheel, ran off the road and crashed into a mound of sand. The impact sent the car hurtling into the air before tumbling back to earth end over end. In that one moment, everything about my life was forever changed.

Ed survived with minor bumps and bruises. I, unfortunately, broke cervical 6 & 7 vertebrates in my neck and suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from my chest down and diagnosed a quadriplegic. As I was fighting the fight of my life in hopes to turning an impossible dream of walking again into a reality, the oxygen levels in my red blood cell count unexpectedly plummeted and were dangerously low.

My doctor said the only way to get those levels back up to normal was to get a large quantity of pure oxygen into my weakened system over the next 24 hours. “There are two ways to do it: Hook you up to a machine to breathe for you, but it would require surgery—we would need to drill a hole into your throat; or, we could put a mask over your face, pump oxygen through it, and you could do it on your own. But there’s a catch.” (Have you ever noticed there is always a catch when it comes to someone else’s ideas?) He said, “You would need to stay awake for the next 24 hours and monitor every single breath to ensure you are taking in as much pure oxygen as possible. I’ll be back in 10 minutes. Let me know what you decide.”

Sometimes in life we have to make quick decisions, don’t we? But why can’t we make more decisions quickly? Why do we have to think and worry so much? This goes back to Mindset. What is Mindset? If you think about it, it’s really your own philosophy of life. It’s how you see things through your own experiences. Most importantly, it’s how you respond to a new unexpected challenge, your next setback or perhaps the changing landscape of your industry or organization—or your competitors and the products and services they offer.

For me, I came to realize that this doctor was giving me the opportunity to stand up to the challenge, metaphorically speaking. If I was not willing to muster up every last ounce of Grit I had in this paralyzed body, I would be risking even more. So, I’ll have you know that those 24 hours fighting for every breath turned out to the longest hours of my life. When I crossed that imaginary finish line I came to believe you cannot always choose the precise outcomes of the choices you make, but you can take ownership over whatever results occur. Then and there, I made the decision to take ownership over what had happened to me as opposed to blaming Ed, especially considering that we were both drinking.

It’s really no different than anyone—perhaps you—accepting accountability and responsibility versus playing the victim and blaming someone else, like someone on your team, your competition or the markets or the economy, when things don’t go as you planned. This was not only a turning point in my life, it became my defining moment. It gave me the resiliency to stand up and fight to walk again.

I had another experience on that bike ride, this one about Sue Lopez, an HR Director who hosted a conference for her company in Fargo, North Dakota that I presented to. Afterwards, she mentioned that she wished I would have talked a little more about my girlfriend, Kim. She said she couldn’t help but notice how I consider Kim one of the best speaking coaches I’ve ever had even though that is not actually her profession. “She’s very astute,” I said, “and I consider myself coachable.”

Kim has heard me speak a dozen times. When I’m through, we often have a conversation about the organization I spoke to and, when prompted, she offers me her feedback. One day, she asked me to email her a copy of my latest keynote so she could go through it while the presentation was still fresh in her mind.

A few days later, we reconvened. Armed with notes and questions, she asked about my family, my upbringing, my involvement in sports and more details about the auto accident I was involved in that changed my life 32 years ago. She also wanted to know more about Ed, my friend who was driving the car at the time. This conversation continued for hours—and days. It was not the most pleasant experience, truth be told, and I found myself emotional and vulnerable at times. The more open and vulnerable I became, the more heart-wrenching the questions grew.

“After I read your book, Vision-Mindset-Grit,” Kim said, “I thought you could go even deeper with your feelings. I love writers who share their deepest thoughts, the places where the ego is shed and exposure is the greatest, and then bring the reader back to the surface. That’s how I learn that I, too, can overcome any challenge confronting me by digging deep and seeking the truth. It’s scary, but effective.”

Kim also suggested that I change some sentence structure in order to appeal to more women. “As you know, both men and women communicate differently,” Kim said. “Right now, you’re sharing your story from a male point of view. That’s fine, but with a few subtle changes, you might reach even more people in the room.”

After some Reflection, I made the necessary adjustments—just like back when I was working with speaking coach Lou Heckler, an expert in presentation and organization skills. It took time to digest everything, and it took courage and Grit to deliver it confidently on stage. As I did, however, I was happy to see that I was connecting with the audience on a deeper level than before. People were more engaged, laughed harder and became emotional in new places.

My presentation style is direct. I engage in a very intimate and candid conversation with an audience for one hour, articulated with emotional storytelling that captivates everyone’s attention. I’m proud to say that, when I’m speaking, no one reaches for their mobile devices. As Kim says, “That’s powerful storytelling!”

The Power of Reflecting has been a very useful tool to help me understand where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and what I can improve upon. It has allowed me to tap into my inner strength during times of adversity and push the limits of what is possible in both my personal and professional life while putting my concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit into action.

So, remember to take the time to Reflect!