Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On Wednesday May 14, 2014, Community joined dozens of other companies in Fresno and thousands of companies across the United States who are encouraging employees to put on their biking shorts in the month of May for Bike To Work Day.

1960s English Racer

1960s English Racer

Cycling has it’s own language

Although I wouldn’t call myself an enthusiast yet, I’ve enjoyed the trails in Fresno thanks to my neighbor Carlos Ramirez, who part of the Fresno Cycling Club. In a couple of Saturday bike rides I learned a few things. Such as – to say you’ll ride a “ metric century” means that you’re riding 100 miles or 12 hours. Another piece of trivia I learned is that a pack of bikers is called a “pelaton”. One member of the pack may serve as the “domestique”, or “servant” because they sacrifice their individual performance to help their teammates by carrying extra supplies like food and water. I told Carlos that I’d like to simply claim that I was the domestique to explain my slow pace. He just smiled.

Is Cycling good for your Health, or Good for the Environment?

Both. We know that exercise that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time, helps control your weight, elevates your mood, and lowers your blood pressure. But cycling is also a “Green” thing to do.   The Silicon Valley Biking Coalition says that almost 40 percent of Bay Area commuters live within five miles of their workplace and that if all these people ditched their cars and biked to work instead, it would take 60,000 cars off the road that day, and reduce vehicle emissions by more than 150,000 pounds. Wow.

photo

John Kass, Interim COO and CNO

John and his English Racer

I decided to ask John Kass, avid cyclist and Chief Nursing Officer for Clovis Community Hospital, how he got into biking.   He said that his passion for cycling happened when his grandpa John Kohler, who was a world traveler, bought him an English Racer. At 5 years old, he wasn’t even tall enough to get on the bike himself, so his grandfather would hoist him up, and with a quick push, he’d was off – riding in circles to the amusement of the neighbors until one of them would catch him and help him down. “Riding a bike just came naturally to me”, John said.

Now instead of riding in circles around the neighborhood, John routinely rides 60-70 mile rides on a Saturday with an elevation of 4000 ft. When I asked him to take a bike-selfie, he texted me this photo.   I replied, and said “ Retake it! You need to smile”. His response was no-nonsense. “That’s what I look like after my heart rate reaches 150 and I’ve hit 90 watts per minute”, he texted back.  Only my light bulbs at home have watts, so having no idea what he was talking about, I simply replied with a smiley face emoticon and the note- “OK”.

Is Cycling about the Camaraderie, the Competition or the Challenge?

Yes. John says that when he’s cycling he watches his bike computer and tries to drive himself, but that he also likes the teamwork and fun of biking with a group.   Despite a little incident when a car pushed him off the road and he flew head first over the front of his bike suffering a fractured thumb, John is passionate about his sport of choice. When asked how old he thinks he’ll be when he stops biking, he said, – “I can’t imagine ever stopping. It’s a part of who I am”.

Congrats 

The same spirit of high performance that makes John a great long distance cyclist is a part of why he was just named the Interim Chief Operating Office at Clovis Hospital.  Congrats John.  You’re a rock star!

 

 

Read Full Post »

Image

 

In February, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman wrote an article that lit up the internet almost as much as when Ellen DeGeneres took down Twitter with her Oscar Night selfie. Its title was “How to Get a Job at Google“.

In it, Friedman interviews Laszlo Bock, Google’s Vice President of People Operations, about the kind of attributes (characteristics, traits or personal qualities), you need to get hired.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t all depend on your GPA or even your past experience.  As I read the article, it made sense to me that this recipe is one that hiring managers in healthcare should be paying more attention to, if we’re to weather the healthcare storm that’s at our doorstep.

Using the Google-Way to get hired (and promoted)

  • Fail Forward Fast: The phrase “fail forward fast” was popularized by management guru Tom Peters, but is explained most vividly by hockey great Wayne Gretsky who said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Bock is saying that Google wants people who take the shot, and when failure occurs demonstrate “intellectual humility”. Translation – Failure spurs learning which ignites success.  In it’s most productive form, if you’ve failed, you have a story to tell about what you learned.  You will have an edge against your competition because self-awareness is a rare commodity.  And even more rare is a quality called “learning agility”, which is the ability take the lessons from your past, and apply them to new and different challenges you are facing. Learning Agility is the new black.
  • Avoid the Genius-Idiot Syndrome:  Bock says Google looks for people who don’t blame their failures on other people but also rarely take sole credit for success.  Healthcare is a business so dependent upon a complex web of interrelationships that this advice could make or break your career if you are looking to move up.
  • Approach work with an equal balance of Big Ego and Small Ego:  At Google and in the new healthcare we’re trying to solve complex problems so this means that we’ve got a mix of people in the room when we collaborate.  At Google, it’s engineers and design people and finance wizards and marketing goddesses.   For us it’s physicians and nurses and operations experts and finance gurus, just to name a few.  Smart people often hold fiercely to their opinions but according to Bock, you also need to be able to step back and change your mind when presented with new facts.   Bock calls this emergent leadership. So if you have your eye on growing your career in healthcare, make a point to have a big enough ego to argue vehemently for your position, but be confidant enough to change it when someone makes a valid point.
  • Be a Dot-Connector:  Google hires people who have a skill in pulling together dissimilar pieces of information and creating something new.   In healthcare, we also need to fill our jobs with employees who can connect the dots between their own job and goals for quality, safety or financial outcomes.  People who are connectors, value and build relationships and think about things way above their pay grade.  When we encounter these people we need to protect and grow them.  If you want to be one of these highly valued and promotable people – be a dot-connector.
Image

James McCurley, Financial Analyst
Community Medical Centers

James

Here’s a case study at Community Medical Centers in Fresno that shows Google is right.  James McCurley is a Facility Financial Analyst at Community Regional medical Center.  He had no healthcare experience when he was hired two years ago but he did have something that a lot of candidates don’t – a degree in physics, an MBA and an insatiable curiosity.  The way James explains it, the combination of science and business has really helped him in his job. “Both physics and math are just about problem solving”, he says.  “You have to lay out the problem in an organized fashion to figure out how to solve it.”  In his quest to improve his problem solving ability James taught himself to computer program.  He’s currently working on a project to create patient “stories” that help physicians do problem oriented charting.  The project that James is most of fond of though, is one where he is working with Dr. Michael Mellenthin to identify ways to increase the utilization of the surgery suites.   He says it’s fun and that he loves working with people who have, “way more expertise than I do”.  Where does James see himself in the future?  If you asked him 2 years ago he would have said- I don’t know, but today he says, he’d like to be a Chief Operating Officer or Chief Executive Officer.

All I have to say is  – leave him alone Google!  He’s ours.

Read Full Post »

Image

I recently met with new employee Melissa Phelps to hear why she joined Community Medical Centers, and what she loves the most about her work as an office assistant and scheduler in the radiology department. By the time we had finished lunch I ended up hearing not only how much she loves her job, but also learning about her personal love story with her husband Josh.  See the blog post “Love Letters“.

Valentines Day is a time to celebrate love for our husbands, wives, partners, children, parents, pets and yes, …our jobs.  This feeling of attachment and connection is so important, it deserved a poem of sorts, so I wrote a knock off of 1 Corinthians in celebration of Valentines Day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Done well, work is Love.  Work is kind. It allows us to accomplish things in service to others, it allows our hearts to swell with pride and our voices to sing praise of goals met.  Work done well does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, it praises in public and criticizes in private, it is slow to anger and it keeps no record of wrong doings (except of course those that violate policy).  Work delights in excellence and rejoices in customer satisfaction. Work done well always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.  Work done well –  is Love.

Read Full Post »

Image

The holidays are a perfect time to catch up on reading just for fun.  This Christmas you won’t catch me knee deep in a James Michener novel.   Instead I look for lighthearted tales, with a tinge of sarcasm.   So if that’s your cup of tea as well, I recommend heating up a nice cup of hot chocolate and sitting down to read Tina Fey’s book “Bossy Pants.”

In Bossy Pants, Tina describes what she learned at Second City, an improvisation and sketch comedy theater in Chicago.  She says the rules of improvisation will change your life and reduce belly fat. And, maybe these rules can also improve the engagement on your team or the relationship with your significant other.  You be the judge.

Rule#1- Always agree and say yes.

In a business sense this doesn’t mean that we simply run with any idea no matter how bad.  Instead, as Fey puts it, the rule reminds you to “respect what your partner has created and at least start from an open-minded place.”  Fey points out that in improv, this takes the form of saying, “Freeze, I have a gun,” to which your partner should avoid saying, “No you don’t, that’s your finger.”  See.  That’s not funny.  In business when employees say, “This new software stinks,” we should avoid reviewing the three competitive bids and 20-page document that shows why it does not stink, because this kills employee engagement.  An alternative might be to say, “Yes, it sounds like we have some bugs to work through. Let’s see if IT can help us through this.”  In both comedy and business, saying “yes,” validates the other person and shows you trust what they are talking about.

Rule #2 – Say Yes, And. 

In improv, Fey says that it’s all about adding something of your own.  When your partner lays out a line like “Boy it’s hot in here,” you could respond with, “Yes, and that can’t be good for the wax figures.”  The point is relationships are positively impacted when you respect what the other person has presented and add something to it.  Fey says this rule is about not being afraid to contribute.  So as leaders we want to encourage contribution to make a little bit of magic happen.  That magic, according to Professor Fey, is the result of showing people that their initiative is worthwhile.  As employees we need to take a risk and speak up, ask for that assignment and stretch a little bit.

Rule #3 – Make Statements

This rule is Fey’s shorthand for something we often try to teach in our leadership development training curriculum.  I’m simply going to quote Fey because I don’t want to ruin the humor while making the point.  She says:   “Be a part of the solution, don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.  We’ve all worked with that person.  That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like, “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up? Or, “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.”  As leaders we sometimes need a reminder to stop raising obstacles and get out of our employee’s way.   As employees we need to think positively and act with positive intent.

Rule #4 – The Best Rule:  There are no Mistakes, only Opportunities.

Employees won’t believe this if they are chastised when they try something new and it doesn’t work out.  So, while this saying is great, employees want to know they can use a little bit of trial and error.  Obviously trial and error is not a recommended practice in the surgery suite or for the employees who manufacture your car.  Fey’s words are an encouragement to create engagement by letting people takes risks.  Why?  Because, in her words, “Many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident – I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup or Botox.” 

What are you reading over the holidays?

*A big hearty thank you to Garth Wade at Regional and Tom Minas at Clovis for mocking their supervisors on camera. Directors Drenda Montgomery and Brenda Diel – you both are role models of supervisory wisdom!  Thanks for helping me illustrate this tale.  Happy Holidays!

Image

*This blog was originally posted on Community Medical Center’s Blog – It Takes Community.  Follow Peg on Twitter @peg_breen

Read Full Post »

There are a lot of adjectives that could describe Truong Nguyen (pronounced Joon Win).  He is a clinical systems analyst at Community Regional, a former Asian vegetable farmer, a great father to daughter Jessica and twin boys Justin and Travis, an avid boating enthusiast, a cancer survivor and an expert in the eco system of salt-water aquariums.  So, in one all encompassing word – Truong is an entrepreneur. Image

He credits his work ethic and drive to his father Tho Van and his mother Quan.   “My mom is my hero,” he said as we sipped iced green tea at the Starbucks at Cedar and Shepherd.  She owned restaurants in Vietnam, but in 1980 when a new communist constitution was being adopted, the family decided to leave for the United States.  He arrived at the age of five along with his six brothers and sisters and his parents, who were expecting another child.  No one spoke English.  Shortly after arriving in San Francisco, they moved to Clovis and into a small three-bedroom house  near DeWitt and Sierra to be close to family.  “We had nine people sharing one bathroom,” Truong said with a smile.  “I remember being really happy there.”

To pay the bills, everybody worked.  “We were the Fresno Bee family,” Truong joked.  “At 4 a.m. everyone would get up to fold newspapers and then we’d all deliver.”  But the newspaper business didn’t provide enough cash to care for a large family, so his mother, whose keen eye saw a market niche, started growing Asian vegetables in their garage.  Veggies like bitter melon, which Truong said is ‘really really bitter,’ bok choy, Chinese okra, daikon, long beans, moqua, singua, Thai chili, and lemon grass.  Demand was so great; they outgrew the garage and built a greenhouse.  Then they outgrew the greenhouse and leased some land.  Until one day the Nguyen’s purchased a farm.

At the age of 17, Truong was managing the operation. At 19 he bought 15 acres from his parents and took over all the financial and operational duties, including daily and sometimes twice daily deliveries to Sacramento.  You’d think that this would keep him busy enough.  But in the winter, when things slowed down, Truong decided to take computer science classes.  As I listened to his story, I was awed by his humility, sense of humor, resilience and willingness to tackle big challenges.

“How did you get interested in tropical fish?” I asked.   Around the age of sixteen he fell in love with fishing when he accompanied his uncle to the pond at Woodward Park.  He also became mesmerized by salt-water aquariums, and explained, “This is an expensive hobby.”  So, in what seems to be a normal pattern of inventiveness, Truong discovered that he could buy used aquariums and then sell the parts for enough money to cover the cost of outfitting his entire tank.  “The ability to hammer a nickel into ten cents – I get that from my mom,” he said with a smile.

“I’ve heard it’s pretty tough to keep a salt water tank going”, I commented.   “Not really,” Truong responded.   What he explained next seems like a playbook for keeping clown fish and corals, but also to building healthy teams.

Steps to keeping your Eco-System healthy:

  • Keep it simple & create a consistent environment: “Consistent environments help fish thrive,” Truong said.  “Inconsistent environments wreak havoc.”  Teams also thrive in environments that are fair and consistent.
  • In a crisis, take it slow: “When a mistake happens, make small changes slowly versus big changes quickly,” counseled Truong.  That way the fish don’t get shocked and sickened by big chemical changes.  Coming from the Midwest, this advice also mirrors what my father told me to do if my car started to slide on ice.
  • Promote Diversity:  Truong said it’s best to keep multiple species with multiple colors and shapes together.  The more diversity, the less fighting over territory!  How true.  We all want to be valued for what we bring to the table.
  • Create a community of symbiotic relationships:  An eco system thrives when organisms depend on one another, Truong said.  As evidence of this he refers to his cleaner shrimp.  The other fish in the tank just instinctively sidle up to the cleaner shrimp when they get the disease called “ick”, so that the shrimp can scrub them clean.  Teams can also get “ick.”  We’ve all been there!  So we need to identify and stick close to the people in our groups who can rub off the bad stuff and get everyone smiling and engaged.

How healthy is your eco-system?  If you love the team you are on, share some of what makes your environment healthy and fun.  If you have suggestions about how to make teamwork better, let us know.  If you know Truong and just want to recognize him for his support of your team, you can add that too.  Add a reply with your name and you’ll receive a package of yummy goldfish crackers.Image

Thanks Truong for sharing your story!

(This post originally appeared on the Community Medical Centers website in a blog titled “It Takes Community”.  Follow Peg on Twitter @peg_breen

Read Full Post »

All of us will be faced with a decision at some point– Where do we want to relocate?   And thus today’s reflection….

I had coffee with a well-read friend and he recommended that I should read a new book by Peter Kilborn, a former reporter for the NY Times called, “Next Stop, Reloville: Life Inside America’s New Rootless Professional Class”.   I read an excerpt, a couple of reviews from major newspapers and also watched a video clip of an interview with Kilborn on Fox Business.  Click “Fox Business” to link to this video.  I am hoping that having really read the entire book, Mark will post a comment providing some additional revelations, but here’s the theme:

Kilborn coins a word “Relos” (REE-los) to describe the corporate gypsies, or middle class professionals who relocate every few years.   At their core, he says, “is a faith in open horizons and a willingness to risk losing ground to gain ground. ( ) They are an affluent, hard-striving class. They inflate the American Dream and put it on wheels.” In the Fox video interview with Kilborn the interviewers even make the point that many “reloville” communities thrive because of this professional migration.

The thing that has me thinking though are comments like these:  A Minneapolis Star Tribune writer comments:  “In pursuit of power and influence, they lose the simple staples that generations of human beings have leaned on for meaning”. Another reviewer says – “A fascinating account of a new type of transient worker in America, affluent in their material lives but impoverished in their community ties.” The most depressing reviewer commented,  “In this sympathetic and arresting portrait, Kilborn takes the Willy Lomans of the present age and weeps for them.” The Willy Lomans?  Ouch.  I’ve read “Death of a Salesman” and seen it on stages several times but never in my life figured I’d be him.  Did you?

For some of you, you’ll transport your family to the new location, and develop a best-friends-at-work network, and continue to keep in contact with your colleagues across the U.S. and will probably be able to keep everyone including yourself from feeling isolated, adrift, disconnected, lost, and disassociated. For me – it’s just me.  My son is in college and my parents are finally doing well in a retirement home so I’m free to “seek open horizons”.  But I do need to figure out the cost-benefit equation.   How do I make sure that what I’m doing doesn’t sacrifice creating a greater meaning for my life.  I’m going to take a stab at answering this but your suggestions are welcome.

How Relos can lead a fulfilled life during their season of migration:

  • Pick an employer who truly has a Mission you believe in and work that makes you feel energized and passionate
  • Stay connected to your virtual family – for members of TS, just a quick nudge,  that means all of you
  • Make time to contribute your talents in the new city.
  • Once per year, spend the money to join former colleagues at a spa (I’m sort of into this experience now), or an education seminar so you can reconnect.

Tell me what you you’ll do to create a smooth transition and make the new place feel like home….

Read Full Post »

One of the gifts I’ve discovered in the past couple of weeks is that I have time to read.  I picked up a book called “The Happiness Hypothesis” written by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt.  I  promise I’ll be done with my “brain science” phase soon, but right now I’m gathering crumbs of wisdom.

Haidt discusses what the ancient texts say about finding happiness and meaning. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the section where he discusses what he calls the “Adversity Hypothesis”.  We all know the Nietzsche quote – “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”.   What this hypothesis proposes is that adversity can lead to “growth, strength, joy and personal improvement”.The more far-reaching (and less believable) modifications to this hypothesis say that adversity is actually a necessity for people to learn and grow and that without it we are stunted, beige versions of ourselves.  At a minimum, adversity does give each of us an interesting material for our life-story.

So, is the stress of searching for meaningful work a growth experience?  Does having to “sell” yourself to the entrepreneur across the table, or the junior executive search consultant from Virginia making you a better leader for the future?  I know that having time to contemplate my life is helping me grow and gain clarity.  I know it has made me value even more, the people who are truly my friends.

How has your life-story or your psyche been changed by this experience?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »