Be Teachable

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Last week, a friend and I discussed the five top attributes of good leaders. Items included strong negotiation skills, financial intelligence, and being teachable. Being teachable is perhaps the key to success in almost everything in life.

Being teachable means, you are open to new ideas. You realize and accept you don't have all the answers. You recognize your deficits and are willing to fix them. As a teacher, teachable students tend to be the most enjoyable to work with. They also are the most successful.

Not everyone is teachable, though. I've learned that hard lesson over years of working with clients. Now I screen potential clients on their teachability. You can also evaluate yourself and see how teachable you are. 

Ten questions to ask yourself

  1. Do I listen more than I talk? The ability to listen is key to being a good leader and student. If you want to succeed in negotiations, you must listen. That means you focus on what the other is saying. You have to stop thinking...
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Avoid this in any negotiation

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If you've gone through any negotiation training, you've probably been introduced to the concept of BATNA - the best alternative to a negotiated agreement. I'm sorry you've learned such a concept. You've probably left a lot of money on the table because of it. The one thing you should never attempt to figure out is yours or their BATNA.

What is BATNA?

BATNA is a predator's greatest tool, and it's one they never have to employ themselves. It's your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. The problem with BATNA is it is full of assumptions and guesses that you make. The adversary will let you shoot yourself in the foot and smile all the way to the bank. BATNA comes from a fixed mindset and believes compromise must be made in any transaction. It's a faulty way to negotiate and one that is costing you money. It also postulates that you and the adversary will act with logic. That is wrong. All decisions are made emotionally, and then we use logic to rationalize our decisions. You and...

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Four Competencies of a Change Leader

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Leading change is one of the most challenging things any leader will do during their leadership career. Inertia permeates every organization when it comes to change. Objects at rest want to stay that way. Change requires energy. Change also require leadership. If you are leading change in your organization, here are four key competencies that will help you initiate and attain the results you need.

Listening. Strong leaders must be willing, be able, and have the self-discipline to listen. Listening goes beyond the perception of the auditory inputs you experience. That’s hearing. Listening is your ability to assimilate, relate, and understand the messaging others are sending out. A leader must be able to adjust their frequency, much like the old AM radios of yesterday. You must adjust your perceptions of what you hear and change that frequency just a bit, so the signal becomes clearer. Once you do that, the static of the situation will drop out, and you’ll understand the...

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Ten Tips for Confronting the Troublesome Employee

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Confronting others about critical issues is very difficult for most people. It’s one of the most important duties you have as a leader. It can also be one of the most unpleasant. It’s been suggested you might substitute the word confront with clarify. I don’t think it matters what you call it, just as long as you deal with the issues at hand. To help you with these encounters, follow these ten tips to improve the outcomes of these meetings.

  1. Do your confronting in private. Avoid public confrontation unless the situation is an emergency, and harm might come to someone else. You want them to be receptive to the feedback you’re about to give. Public humiliation is a great way to ensure they do not correctly receive your message.
  2. Don’t dilly-dally. Confront them as soon as possible. You want the situation to be fresh in their mind. Humans naturally forget details over time. Often, our brains will create memories to fill in the gaps. This will happen more...
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How to Identify Risks and Financial Problems

Small businesses are often at risk of becoming financially unhealthy. This is due in part to the competition, and the entrepreneur is not trained in financial matters. While a significant number of small businesses do end in bankruptcy, many will go on to be successful.

Often, a small “budding” business looks promising. Growth is good. There is a strong demand for the goods or services the small business is offering. However, the business doesn’t ever seem to grow beyond the initial upstart stage into a stage of maturity and stability. Many of the reasons a company doesn’t continue to mature are financial.

To help you avoid these financial traps in your business, let’s examine what those are.

  1. Insufficient capital. The best place to look for capital is the balance sheet report. Examine the working capital of the company to determine if they have enough available capital. Working capital is determined by subtracting the current liabilities from the ...
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Five Qualities of an Effective Leader

As I've studied leaders and leadership over the years, I discovered many share similar qualities and practices. I learned many of these from leadership giants such as Peter Drucker, John Maxwell, Steven Covey, and others. I've assembled those that have helped me the most in my journey and would like to share them with you. 

Leadership Qualities

  1. Leaders know where their time goes. Influential leaders and productive people understand time is limited. If you think about it, time is a funny thing for humans. It's a finite resource and one in which we genuinely don't know how much we have. It's non-renewable, and once it's gone, it's gone. Yet, many of us live our lives without any regard for the preciousness of time. Think about the last bad movie you watched. What were you more upset about, wasting $12 or ninety minutes of your time? Strong leaders know how to budget and control their time. I think Steven Covey's Habit #3 sums this concept up the best. In his book, Seven Habits...
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The Root Cause for Almost Every Problem - Leadership

After working with many clients over the years, I've discovered there are two reasons a practice has issues, knowledge and leadership. Knowledge can be an easy fix. Often, the leaders might know they lack information and actively seek it. It can be challenging to obtain some kinds of knowledge quickly. The second cause, a lack of leadership, is much more challenging to correct. Almost every issue a practice faces after the knowledge problem is fixed is a result of poor leadership.

  1. Financial issues. If you're having financial problems, it's likely because you've made poor decisions. Leadership is not about having the title of leader. It's about gathering the data and making a sensible decision. Often when I first coach leaders, they place too much emphasis on their emotions and how they feel personally. Many don't want to own their mistakes. We tend to look for others to blame for our poor performance. Your financial problems are a result of your leadership decisions. Recognize...
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An Easy Way to Improve Patient Satisfaction

As a service industry, healthcare has many types of assets. Most appear on the balance sheet. However, the most crucial asset appears in the expense section of the income statement. Those assets are your people. Without people, the work of caring for patients stops. The quality of the care provided is threatened without happy people delivering that healthcare.

Employee satisfaction and happiness are of the utmost importance to you and your practice. Happy people are the ones who stick around and do a great job on your behalf. They are loyal and will stick with you even in bad times. They do so because they are committed to the mission and purpose of the practice and want to help take the organization to the next level. They are passionate or what you’re excited about. Investing in your people yields more significant intangible dividends that will push your practice to the next level.

Factors that Impact Employee Satisfaction

Many factors contribute to employee...

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Before You Worry About Profit, Focus on These Things in Your Medical Practice

Initially, when I begin to work with most small practices, I discover they have been focusing on the wrong things in their business. Many seem to be obsessed with profit, yet wonder why they continue to have difficulty. At first glance, it might sound crazy, but profit shouldn’t be a top priority of a small business. Ultimately, profit is necessary for continuing growth and longevity. However, there are other important areas to focus on, and if you do, profit becomes easier to attain. If you focus on the wrong stuff, you can earn a profit on paper but still go broke.

If your first area of focus isn’t profit, what should a small business or practice focus on then? There are three important aspects a leader should concentrate on - cash, access to capital, and establishing good controls. Many small practices fail because they lose focus on one of these areas.

Cash is the lifeblood of any business. Run out of cash, and the company dies. The first area of focus for any...

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Three Practical Steps to Implement Change

Implementing organizational change has been a troublesome issue for leaders for decades, if not centuries. During the 1940s, Kurt Lewin created a model to help leaders facilitate change in their organization. His model Unfreeze - Change - Refreeze offers a simple paradigm to build your change management plans.

The simplest method of understanding the concept is to consider a cube of ice. Let's assume you made pink ice cubes as a summer treat but then thought your children would enjoy pink ice cubed shaped like unicorns. You're also out of the dye and don't want to make a special trip to the store. To create the change you wish, you will unfreeze the cubes, place the colored water into a new mold, and then refreeze the water. Creating change in your organization will a similar process. The first step of change is unfreezing the organization.

Step 1 - Unfreeze  

Change can only begin after the leader has identified the need. Only then can you begin to develop the change you...

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