Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Influence and Humility: Your Shoes Don't Match Your Suit!

Being in a leadership role is exciting and humbling in a very balanced way. On one hand, you sit in a position to influence change in an organization.

On the other hand, you open yourself up to constant criticism so you get 360° feedback on a fairly regular basis. Two prior experiences provided me a stronger foundation of knowing the good, the bad and the ugly about my own performance.

1. For my first five years in healthcare, I worked as a psychiatric counselor

2. I had a try at improv comedy with a couple of improv troupes

Both of these experiences were enjoyable when things went well and humbling when they did not.

Recently I met with a couple of our medical leaders. We spoke openly about how things were going. I shared my perspective of their leadership style and the perceptions others had of them. They were appreciative of the positive but surprised by the negative perceptions. My guidance was they could be more effective leaders if they knew both sides to they could take action accordingly.

On another note, as I speak to the balance of influence and humility, let me share a couple more stories which took place this morning. I saw Collette C., one of our House Supervisors, and asked for her perspective on the front entrance of our building with our Healthy Food & Good Wine Foundation event set for Saturday, May 8th. She asked if she could be honest with me...then turned to me and said, "Frankly, your brown shoes are a fashion faux pas. I give you credit for the matching belt, but those shoes and belt do not go with dark suits!"

Again, humbling to ask for an opinion on one topic, and get a perspective on a completely different topic. Clearly she is on her way to CEO status!

Then I came across Joe P, one of the managers in our Business Office. I thanked him for his help on a recent situation. He smiled and told me "fix your badge - it's upside down."

These are the things I love about being in my role: the balance of influence and humility is never-ending.

I look forward to your perspective.

Where Did the Time Go?

Where do you focus your time? I have met with a lot of physicians, staff, volunteers and administrators this past week.

When I ask about issues and needs of their respective organizations, many have to do with tightening expenses, reduced revenues and increased customer expectations.

When I ask the time people personally spend on these issues, the most common answer has been less than 30% of their time is devoted to advancing their organizations. While this is certainly not a formal research statistic, it did surprise me. Most are just getting caught up in the day-to-day grind. It is easy to lose track of those hours, days, weeks and even months.

My focus remains on long-term direction of our organization, our growth plans and working with our associates, physicians and volunteers on the role they plan on advancing our organization.

Managing my time to stay focused on these things is always a challenge and one which I revisit on a regular basis to stay on track with my time management.
I look forward to your perspective.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ride On

Enjoy a few pictures from the St. Mary's Ride On to Health! on April 18th.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Volunteers & Auxiliary Celebration

On Wednesday, We had a fantastic time at the annual Volunteer & Auxiliary dinner. Jeri G,., our fearless Director along with her team put on a great dinner and celebration. Thank you to our Ann our President along with her executive team as well. Here are some great stats on our 2009 Volunteer Stats:

- 803 Volunteers
- 109,494 hours - the equivalent of 53 full time employees
- 77% Female, 23% Male
- 48% Live in Missouri; 42% in Kansas
- 32 Married couples
- 14 is the age of the youngest and the oldest is 95
- 70 SJ Departments/Units served by the volunteers
- 26,339 Jitney riders (patient transport from parking lot)
- 62.348 Visitors greeted by the Ambassadors
- 48,388 Phone calls answered at the Information Desk
- 7,317 Visits by the Patient Reprepresentatives
-21,653 Visits by Spiritual Care
- 6,155 Cheer cards, flowers and mail delivered to the patients
- 28,120 Transport patient trips and errands
- 9 Dogs, 2 Cats and a Bunny visited 7, 982 patients, visitors and staff
- 1,182 Visits by Caring Touch Volunteers
- 1,680 Items created by the Sewing Committee
- 20,000 Each of Blood Bands and Blood Tubes assembled
- 42,893 Gift Shop Customers served
- 11 volunteers with over 8,000 hours of service and one with over 18,000: these 11 make-up over 56 years of full time hours

Our volunteers and auxiliary represent the core of what our Sister of St. Joseph started over 135 years ago.
A toast to our volunteers and Auxiliary - I appreciate all your dedication and loyalty.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Competitors Were Confronted...I am Back to my Post

Well, here I was on Sunday, the first one to arrive at the 114th Boston Marathon finish line. Unfortunately, the race was still 24 hours until start time...

On Saturday, I ran into professional runners Ryan and Sara Hall. I let Ryan know I just referenced him in my last blog entry. While he sized me up, he did not seem intimidated by me and agreed to a picture. He asked my goal for the race (outside of winning the whole thing). I shared my goal and he stayed quiet on his goal.

On Sunday, I met Khalid Khannouchi, the current US marathon record holder.

Boston Marathon is the one marathon in which people need to qualify with certain times from other marathons based on their respective age division. It was very uplifting to see what so many Boston marathoners have accomplished both personally and professionally. Meeting many people this weekend, I had a chance to better understand their discipline and determination to continuously learn and strive to improve their performance. There were people from every state and many different countries represented.

Ryan ended up having his personal record (PR). He certainly had a plan to win. His time was the US record for Boston Marathon and would have given him the #1 slot in all but 3 Boston Marathons since 1999. While I am sure he was disappointed in not winning, his attitude is all about winning and giving back. Did I mention Sara ran a 4:43.7 mile at the Invitational Mile the same weekend.

Ryan and Sara not only strive to make themselves better: they use running as a means to help others in need, very similar to our mission in hospitals. Let me share story I read over the weekend from Runner's World magazine:

In a prior NYC Marathon, Hall was paid to run NYC and received prize money according to his finish and then…he give it all away. He and Sara Ryan announced the creation of the “STEPS Foundation”, which will fund programs to create a better life for youth living in poverty in the United States and abroad. The foundation is working with the New York Road Runners club to fund a “Young Runners” club in each of New York City’s five boroughs. Ryan Hall has made no secret that inspiring young runners is one of the key goals of his career. As a result of the Hall's STEPS Foundation at least 200 children will be introduced to the benefits of running. According to

The foundation aims to use running lessons to encourage people to take “small steps” toward the goal of tackling issues like clean water, sex trafficking, and leadership development. Domestically, the foundation plans to create mentoring programs for at-risk youth to train for a race with an adult runner. The name of the foundation is based on one of the couples favorite Mother Theresa quote
s: “I can do no great things, just small things with great love.” Sarah Hall told Runners “Just like the marathon distance, trying to make a difference on global poverty can seem a daunting task. But just as many small steps add up to a marathon, Ryan and I want to do our own small acts with great love - while dreaming big - and inspire others to do the same, hopefully causing a ripple effect within the running community and throughout the world.”

Here’s what the type five professional men will earned for the 2009 New York City Marathon (Ryan took 4th place):
1. 130,000 ($200,000 if previous champion.)
2. 65,000
3. 40,000
4. 25,000
5. 15,000

This is an act that speaks to his commitment to charity work. The Hall's foundation link:

So many of us in the healthcare industry are not in the business for the sole reason of making money. There is a greater purpose of helping others. Many of us give our time, money and best work to our organizations and those we serve. At times, like a marathon our work is an exhausting endeavor. Sometimes we try our best or try things which would have succeeded in the past, only to come up short. The similarities I saw with the marathoners this weekend and the healthcare workers is their determination, focus on outcomes, focus on giving back to those less fortunate and the care they provide to one another.

I'm back from Boston and I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What if I Win the Boston Marathon

I have been speaking with several physicians lately about all the changes in healthcare and their willingness to consider their other career options. Some have actually explored other avenues and let me know other industries may not have it much easier.

Many of us are feeling the long lasting changes from the economy and the majoy impact it has on our business and our personal lives. They key is to keep our head out of the sand and understand what we can control and influence in order to make the necessary changes. It is also helpful to reflect on what we really love doing and see if we could incorporate those things in our every day lives.

On that note, I am heading to Boston tomorrow to run the Boston Marathon on Monday. If I win I may reconsider my career options - look out 2009 Champions: Mens - Deriba Merga with a 2:08:42 and Women's - Salina Kosgei with a 2:32:16) and U.S. favorite Ryan Hall.

Under the slight chances of that happening (note: approximately 10% of the elite and top runners would have to be disqualified or not enter the race in order to help me achieve this goal), I am prepared to get back to my post at the hospital and continue to look for ways we could manage our healthcare systems like we try to manage our health and fitness...

Personal Health/Business Health:

Increase Growth

(e.g., muscle mass, cardiac levels / additional volume)

Reduce Waste

(eg., excess fat / expense management, decrease non-valued processes)

Improve Overall Quality and Health

(e.g., cholesterol, vital signs / Clinical outcomes).

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Earth Day

As Earth Day approaches its 40th birthday, I am pleased to see our hospital celebrating our bi-annual Healthy Food & Good Wine with a focus on our local farmers and restaurants.

We also have an EarthDay planned at the hospital led by our Green Team champion Joyce M. along with her strong team members. The day will allow us to share the amazing things we are doing around our energey efficiencies as well as educate staff, physicians and visitors on additional ways we could each do our part. Though 'going green' seems to be a focus over the past several years, Earth Day allowed for increased awareness of our environment for the past 40 years.

I look forward to hearing about what new or creative things you and/or your company is doing for Earth Day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Website Facelift

I hope you have noticed our updated website look and feel (at left). We are also in the process of enhancing the design and functionality over the next six months.

We look forward to hearing from you on what changes you would like to see.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Associate Leaders are our Key Priorities

Yesterday I had a chance to meet with our new associates during their general orientation and last week, I met with associates for our second Breakfast Club meeting.

Both discussions reminded me of the new and existing leadership characteristics we need – this includes leaders in management and non-management positions.

As we see the changes take place through Healthcare Reform, we will continue to employ those with most, if not all, of the following qualities:

-Accountable with an ownership mentality
-An understanding of the expectations of our organization and their role in helping to achieve our goals

Healthcare will continue to be challenging to manage. We need to ensure we work with people who are comfortable in advancing an organization where answers are not always readily available. I have a strong confidence level we will continue to flourish with the strength and fortitude of our leaders.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Day

So did any of you have a chance to check out google today? Yes, it was renamed Topeka! This was the story on Google...

A different kind of company name

4/01/2010 12:01:00 AM
Early last month the mayor of Topeka, Kansas stunned the world by announcing that his city was changing its name to Google. We’ve been wondering ever since how best to honor that moving gesture. Today we are pleased to announce that as of 1AM (Central Daylight Time) April 1st, Google has officially changed our name to Topeka.

We didn’t reach this decision lightly; after all, we had a fair amount of brand equity tied up in our old name. But the more we surfed around (the former) Topeka’s municipal website, the more kinship we felt with this fine city at the edge of the Great Plains.

In fact, Topeka Google Mayor Bill Bunten expressed it best: “Don’t be fooled. Even Google recognizes that all roads lead to Kansas, not just yellow brick ones...

This morning I had another Breakfast meeting with staff from across different departments. We discussed things we could to to advance our organization. But first, we started with a few April Fools person discussed making cupcakes out of ground beef with mashed potatoes as 'frosting'. Another discussed plans to set her son's alarm one hour ahead to ensure he would wake up on time. Then, the third prank...someone shared from a prior period in her life when they boxed up a person's office and the boss then called the 'targeted individual' into his office. Needless to say, the person with a boxed up office did not enjoy that April Fool's joke.

So many of us are extremely busy all day long with little time for pranks. But April 1st is a traditional time of year...I look forward to hearing any of the pranks you pulled off today.