Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

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January / February 2008
What Are We Doing That No Longer Works?

These past two months have been very energizing and fulfilling, as I have traveled across the country taking my message of visionary leadership into hospitals, corporations and association conferences. I had the privilege of addressing a wonderful group of visionaries last month right in my own home town of Santa Barbara, CA. This group of dedicated professionals was the Board of Directors of  Postpartum Support International (PSI) an organization that is dedicated to seeing that every new mother and family worldwide have access to information, appropriate professional care, and social support to deal with mental health issues related to childbearing. As I was facilitating a visioning session with the Board, I was reminded of the following quote:

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world.
For, indeed, that's all who ever have."
                                                            Margaret Mead

A few caring people CAN change the world, if they are willing to take an honest look at what is working and what is not. The questions leaders in healthcare, business, associations and non-profits should be asking their people are "What are we doing around here that we shouldn't be doing anymore?" and "What no longer works for us?" The ability to take a critical look at the processes, procedures, policies and parameters you work under is crucial to staying competitive and on top of your industry.

Years ago no company ever had a policy of flex time for employees. The job description read "8 to 5, five days a week" and that was that. However, today many companies are using flex time as an incentive to get the best possible people (particularly women) to work for them. The rigid one-type-fits-all job description has gone by the wayside as the lifestyles of people are changing, and companies are having to accommodate these lifestyles to recruit and retain good people. Re-visit the policies your people work under. Do they no longer reflect the needs of your workforce? If they are old and restrictive, have a meeting with your department heads to discuss ways of updating or discontinuing policies that are no longer appropriate.

The procedure by which you evaluate your employee's job performance is changing. It used to be standard that you fill out the form, put down the increase in pay you thought your employee deserved (if any), pointed out where the employee needed to improve, signed the form, and a copy was given to the employee. If the employee wanted to rebut something written or discuss anything else on the form, an appointment was made to see you. Often that appointment was uncomfortable and/or confrontational, and rarely would you change anything that was already written down and signed. Now things are changing. The younger generation entering the workplace want to know where they stand, and they want face-to-face feedback, and not once a year. The annual performance evaluation is being replaced by monthly or quarterly meetings face-to-face to discuss how the employee is doing, go over any questions or concerns, and the manager must be more involved with his/her staff.

Look at the parameters you have set up for your relationships with those who work for you and with you. What boundaries or limits have you imposed on the way people should interact with you that need to be changed? Nobody really works in a vacuum; we all need others to help us achieve our goals. How do you expect people to treat you? Have you pushed aside all appropriate boundaries or limits because you want to be seen as everyone's friend, then get resentful when you feel put upon?  Are you uncomfortable getting close to people, and is all your communication via e-mail? Does that really serve you or the person trying to communicate with you? If it is not working for you, stop doing it. If you don't know whether it is working or not, ask.

A benchmark of an effective leader is the ability to ask the tough questions and then act on the answers if they make sense. Have a meeting with your staff for the sole purpose of ascertaining what isn't working anymore. Then have a brainstorming session for ideas to replace what isn't working with something that will move you closer to your vision. You and your team CAN change the world one small, pragmatic step at a time.

NOTE:  If you have not yet decided on a program for Nurses Week 2008, please contact me. I would love to work with you to tailor a presentation that will be informative, entertaining, with a lot of take-home value. This program will be customized to reflect the opportunities and challenges YOUR nursing professionals are dealing with in their work environments today.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and healthcare. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables and can be a master of ceremonies for your event...a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

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