Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

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

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January/February/March, 2009
The Power of Story

On February 27th I had the privilege of keynoting the Clarian Health Women's Conference in Indianapolis. I presented Creating Tomorrow's Opportunities out of Today's Changes to the dedicated nursing professionals of Clarian Health, and it is my pleasure to welcome all of you who signed up to receive my Newsletter. My hope is that you, and all of my readers, find this Newsletter and the ones to follow, to be of interest and value to you and your team.

As I travel across this country speaking and consulting with organizations and associations, the most frequently asked question I get is "How do I lift the morale of my team in these scary and nerve-wracking times, i.e., how do I counteract the news my team hears every day on TV, particularly the scope and scale of layoffs occurring across the board and across the country?" The thought of losing one's job can de-motivate any employee from giving his/her all. Leaders today have to be able to articulate the truth of a situation while still painting an optimistic picture of the future. No easy task, indeed. However, one powerful way to do this is to tell a story of a past success and an obstacle overcome that involved the team. Take them back to a time when they all worked together to achieve a goal, putting personal grievances and issues aside, for the good of the team. Everyone loves a good story, especially one with a happy ending. People internalize and remember stories.

"There have been great societies that did not
use the wheel, but there have been no societies
that did not tell stories."
                                        Ursula K. LeGuin

I know from my experience as a professional speaker that the most impact I can make on my audience is to clothe a fact in a story that puts a human face on the fact. If my audience can laugh with me or get emotional with me, that story and that fact will have a much greater impact. You can do the same. At your next staff meeting, allow time on the agenda for some "story telling" for the purpose of giving people hope and anticipation as an antidote to fear and inertia.

"Stories are the single most powerful weapon
 in a leader's arsenal."
                                        Howard Gardner
                                        Harvard University
1. Share your story.  After you have shared a team success, share your own story. As a team leader, you are a role model. Whether you want to be one or not, it comes with the territory. Your team looks up to you, and this would be the perfect time to share with them an obstacle you overcame in your life that they may not know about. Let them see you in a similar light as they see themselves. Share with them how you felt in the situation and what inner strengths you used to overcome that obstacle. If possible, equate your story to what your team is going through now, so that they have some "take-home" strategies to use from your story.

2. Have team members share their stories. Start asking team members who have worked a long time at your company/organization/hospital about their history. How was it when they were hired and why have they stayed here. What changes have they seen through the years, and what have they learned about being resilient and committed, even through the difficult times. What have they learned about the benefit of team spirit when going through difficult times. Give each person a chance to get a pat on the back individually, and give your team a chance to get recognition and appreciation as a cohesive, productive, positive team.

3. Write a new Vision Statement.  Compile all the success stories, including yours, and re-write your Vision Statement. Today's times call for far-reaching visions. Based on all the team has learned through these stories, how do they envision themselves as a team in one year, three, five?  What goals will you have to achieve now to attain your vision? How will you set out to achieve those goals, and does each team member know what his/her role is on the team? This team effort to re-write a Vision Statement will help assure buy-in for the vision. Post the Vision Statement where all can see as a reminder that this new vision came about as a result of individual and team successes, and this new vision will be the biggest success yet.

These difficult times may be with us for some time. You need to make the workplace a buffer from the outside as much as possible. By continually reminding your team of their value and worth, of the skills and talents they possess, of their resiliency to see things through, you create the climate for positive change.Once people get in touch with their own power, amazing things can happen!

We have had a lot to think about in this Newsletter. If you have any insights, feeback or experiences you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. If you would like to pass this Newsletter on to a colleague, feel free to do so. Please Note:  National Nurses Week is only two months away. If you do not have a program for your nursing professionals, I would be happy to customize a powerful, thought-provoking message for your event. Please call or e-mail me to discuss what we might do together.

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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