The Six Letter Word Healthcare Solutions Providers are Coveting & How to Get It

If you’re like most people, you’re looking ahead to the New Year and thinking about what you would like to accomplish. With innovation being on the brink in healthcare the last several years, one thing has surely taken place: restricted access to the right people in order to talk about your solution.
It may sound very simple on the surface; however, navigating the murky waters of healthcare successfully towards gaining access to the decision maker is difficult. And if it’s your goal to gain “Access” in the New Year, it’s a highly coveted and ambitious one.

When the healthcare world was less commoditized, conveying trust was enough to make the sale. Today, there’s simply too much noise in the market place and erodes the ability to gain traction or trust. This leads to many solutions providers ending up swimming in the dreaded sea of similar.

3 Ways Trust Can Be Ruined In an Instant
Gaining access to a decision maker has a lot to do with compatibility and reputation. If you have a great reputation, they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say. Compatibility is not just about how well your personalities mesh. It has more to do with how the healthcare solutions provider sees you and whether or not they trust you.

Trust is vital in any relationship; especially, a sales relationship. It’s been said that trust is the foundation upon which salespeople will achieve success. It will keep your customers coming back and choosing you over your competitors. Unfortunately, trust can be lost in an instant. Here are three ways you can lose the trust of a healthcare solutions provider.

1. Having a Hidden Agenda
A lot of salespeople are focused solely on sales. While sales are important—after all, sales are the lifeline of any organization looking to survive and thrive—it shouldn’t be the only focus. A salesperson doesn’t necessarily have to blatantly show or tell the client that they’re focused solely on themselves. Subconsciously, clients can pick up on even the subtlest of signs. When they feel like they’re not as important as the sale, trust goes right out the window.
Here’s the cool thing, you can eliminate rejection forever simply by giving up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, be sure that everything you say and do aligns with basic mindset that you’re there to help identify and solve their issues.

2. Moving Too Quickly
Customers, especially one’s in healthcare, don’t like to be forced to do anything. In many situations, customers feel like they’re almost being bullied by a salesperson. Trying to move the relationship too quickly is detrimental to the trusted relationship between the customer and salesperson. Relationships are complex and multi-dimensional, which means that pressure leads to resistance and road blocks in your trust equity building efforts.
Contemplate letting go of trying to close the sale or get the appointment. What you’ll discover is that you don’t have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward.

Simply focus your conversation on the problems that you can help prospects solve. By not jumping the gun and trying to move the sales process forward, you’ll learn that your potential customers will give you the direction you need.

3. Having No Understanding or Empathy for the Customer
Everyone wants to feel understood; it’s a basic human essential. At the very least, they want those around them to feel some empathy for what they’re going through, even if they can’t completely understand the situation. Your Potential clients & customers feel the same way. They have bad days, they may be dealing with difficult life circumstances, or they may be overwhelmed by all of their responsibilities at work.
Trust will be lost if you or anyone on your sales team fails to acknowledge the challenges that your customers are going through. In essence, the customer will feel like their feelings, even their existence, have been belittled. And, when they feel this way there is no way they’re going to trust the person who is contributing to them feel this way.

How to Build Trust and Gain Continual Access to Potential Customers
What will it take for healthcare solutions provider to start gaining access to the decision makers during the New Year? There are three steps they can take.

1. Tell the Truth
There’s no better way to earn a client’s trust than with honesty. Clients want to know what you can and can’t provide for them. Stretching the truth to gain the sale will only lead to disappointment, both for them and for your wallet.

2. Embrace Transparency
This goes hand-in-hand with honesty. Keep your promises for sure, however, don’t start making promises that you can’t keep. A lack of honesty and authenticity will definitely have an adverse effect on your reputation with the decision-makers.

3. Replace “Selling” With “Caring”
Those in the healthcare field enter the field because they want to help other people. They’re constantly caring for others. They need to be cared for, too. This is where you come in. If you make your customers feel well cared for, they’re sure to become loyal customers.
Instead of burning a lead by asking “probing” questions to qualify a potential client, you might want to consider how you can add value through concrete insights and build trust beforehand.

Moving Ahead, Access Will Be Predicated Upon Building “Trust Equity”
In the world of quotas and benchmarks things have become watered down and sales conversations have somehow become surface level and NOT authentic.
The currency of the new economy is trust. And you need TRUST beforehand to even get ACCESS.

Building “trust equity” is a long-term, never-ending effort of communicating, listening, building trust and establishing credibility. My belief is that you’ll be more likely to win over customers’ trust over time and tap into a well of abundance that’ll never dry out.

Learn How You Measure Up on the “Trusted-Access” Scale
Like any business strategy, determine what measurements need to be in place to determine effectiveness. Have a strong grip on what those KPI’s are and manage towards those goals each month.


Caring for veterans: A privilege and a duty


Veterans Day had its start as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I hostilities. The holiday serves as an occasion to both honor those who have served in our armed forces and to ask whether we, as a nation, are doing right by them.

In recent years, that question has been directed most urgently at Veterans Affairs hospitals. Some critics are even calling for the dismantling of the whole huge system of hospitals and outpatient clinics.

President Obama signed a US$16 billion dollar bill to reduce wait times in 2014 to do things like hire more medical staff and open more facilities. And while progress has been made, much remains to be done. The system needs to improve access and timeliness of care, reduce often challenging bureaucratic hurdles and pay more attention to what front-line clinicians need to perform their duties well. There is no question that the VA health care system has to change, and it already has begun this process.

Over the past 25 years, I have been a medical student, chief resident, research fellow and practicing physician at four different VA hospitals. My research has led me to spend time in more than a dozen additional VA medical centers.

I know how VA hospitals work, and often have a hard time recognizing them as portrayed in today’s political and media environment. My experience is that the VA hospitals I know provide high-quality, compassionate care.

Treating nine million veterans a year

I don’t think most people have any sense of the size and scope of the VA system. Its 168 medical centers and more than one thousand outpatient clinics and other facilities serve almost nine million veterans a year, making it the largest integrated health care system in the country.

And many Americans may not know the role VA hospitals play in medical education. Two out of three medical doctors in practice in the U.S. today received some part of their training at a VA hospital.

The reason dates to the end of World War II. The VA faced a physician shortage, as almost 16 million Americans returned from war, many needing health care.

At the same time, many doctors returned from World War II and needed to complete their residency training. The VA and the nation’s medical schools thus became partners. In fact, the VA is the largest provider of health care training in the country, which increases the likelihood that trainees will consider working for the VA once they finish.

Specialized care for veterans

The VA network specializes in the treatment of such war-related problems as post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide prevention. It has, for example, pioneered the integration of primary care with mental health.

Many veterans live in rural parts of the U.S., are of advanced age and have chronic medical conditions that make travel challenging. So the VA is a national leader in telemedicine, with notable success in mental health care.

The VA’s research programs have made major breakthroughs in areas such as cardiac care, prosthetics and infection prevention.

I can vouch for the VA’s nationwide electronic medical records system, which for many years was at the cutting edge.

A case in point: Several years ago a veteran, in the middle of a cross-country trip, was driving through Michigan when he began feeling sick. Within minutes of his arrival at our VA hospital, we were able to access his records from a VA medical center over a thousand miles away, learn that he had a history of Addison disease, a rare condition, and provide prompt treatment.

I am therefore not surprised that the studies that have compared VA with non-VA care have found that the VA is, overall, as good as or better than the private sector. In fact, a recently published systematic review of 69 studies performed by RAND investigators concluded: “…the available data indicate overall comparable health care quality in VA facilities compared to non-VA facilities with regard to safety and effectiveness.”

The VA offers veterans more than health care

The most remarkable aspect of VA hospitals, though, is the patient population, the men and women who have sacrificed for their country. They have a common bond. A patient explained it this way:

“The VA is different because everyone has done something similar, whether you were in World War II or Korea or Nam, like me. You’re not thrown into a pot with other people, which would happen at another kind of hospital.”

The people who work at VA hospitals have a special attitude toward their patients. It takes the form of respect and gratitude, of empathy, of a level of caring that is nothing short of love. You can see it in the extra services provided for patients who are often alone in the world, or too far from home to be visited.

Take a familiar scene: a medical student taking a patient for a walk or wheelchair ride on the hospital grounds. It is common for nurses to say “our veteran” when discussing a patient’s care with me.

Volunteers and chaplains rotate through VA hospitals on a regular basis, to a degree unknown in most community hospitals. The social work department is also more active. The patients are not always so patient, but these visitors persevere. “They’re a good bunch of people,” one veteran said of the staff. “I know because I’m irritable most of the time and they all get along with me.”

Physicians everywhere are under heavy pressure these days, in part because of the increase in the number of complex patients they care for. Yet I have spent hours observing doctors in VA hospitals around the country as they sit with patients, inquiring about their families and their military service, treating the veterans with respect and without haste.

Earlier this year, I cared for a veteran in his 50’s, a house painter, whom we diagnosed with cancer that had metastasized widely. We offered him chemotherapy, which could have given him an extra few months, but he chose hospice. He told me he wanted to go home to be with his wife and play the guitar. One of the songs he wanted to sing was “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”

I was deeply moved. I liked and admired the man, and I was disturbed that we had been unable to save him. My medical student had the same feelings. Before the patient left, the student told me, “He shook my hand, looked me in the eyes, and said, ‘Thanks for being a warrior for me.’”

That’s the special kind of patient who shows up at a VA hospital. Every single one of them should have the special kind of care they deserve. And we must ensure that the care is superb on this and every day.


3 Prevailing Beliefs that Limit Leadership

What you believe about yourself, others, and events governs your attitudes and behaviors.

Limiting beliefs produce limited results.

3 prevailing beliefs that limit leadership:

#1. Leaders are tough.

Leaders do tough things. Successful leaders do tough things with openness, kindness, and empathy. Navigating tensions between doing tough things with a kind heart is one of the greatest accomplishments on the leader’s journey.

The soft side of toughness:

  1. Openness: Open leaders listen, seek input, and ask questions.
  2. Kindness: Kind leaders make it easier for others to achieve great results.
  3. Empathy – Empathetic leaders know how to take the perspective of others.

Openness, kindness, and empathy are expressions of curiosity.

#2. Leaders tell people what to do.

When the house is on fire, command and control is appropriate. But command and control as a daily practice limits potential and marginalizes the talent.

One of the toughest transitions of leadership is the transformation from giving solutions to asking questions. Early in your career you earned promotions by providing solutions. But the leader’s job is building relationships and creating environments where others provide solutions.

#3. Leaders get things done.

The thing leaders really do is help others get things done.

In many organizations you are both leader and doer. You don’t have the luxury of focusing exclusively on the performance of others. For example, you implement the new initiative and you lead the team to implement the new initiative. You have to execute and help others execute.

Shifting hats from doer to leader means facing the challenge of stepping back so others can step in.

3 tips:

  1. Ask open questions in meetings.
  2. Pat people on the back. Do this literally and frequently.
  3. Remember that the orchestra makes the music. The conductor doesn’t make a sound. (Thanks to Ben Zander for this insight.)

What prevailing beliefs limit leadership?

How might leaders overcome limiting beliefs?


7 Questions that Answer the Ultimate Opportunity of Leadership

The easiest thing leaders do is get things done. The hard part is the people.

Leaders are ineffective if all they do is get things done.

The true focus of leadership:

Leaders focus on people while getting things done.

The greatest opportunity of leadership is developing other leaders.

If you don’t get things done, you won’t be a leader very long. But ultimately leaders enable others to get things done. Now the question is, “What things?”

Leaders advance the welfare of others.

You earn the right to lead by advancing the welfare of others. But serving the greater good is only the first level of leadership. The hard part is next.

Leadership expands when the people you serve become leaders who enable others to serve.

The 3 Levels of Leadership:

Level 1: Advance the welfare of others.

Level 2: Influence others to advance the welfare of others.

Level 3: Influence others who influence others to advance the welfare of others.

How to serve those who serve others:

  1. Honor humility. Won’t honoring humility inspire pride? Not if you think of humility as behaviors and practices.
  2. Break isolation. Establish and strengthen connections.
  3. Clarify ‘good’. People must know what ‘good’ is, if they plan to advance it.
  4. Recognize service.
  5. Celebrate openness.
  6. Show enthusiasm, more than criticism, for others.
  7. Address tough issues with candor, empathy, and compassion.

7 Questions that develop leadership in others:

  1. If you were to exemplify humility today, what might you do?
  2. How might you help others establish and strengthen connections today?
  3. How might you advance the welfare of others today?
  4. Who might you recognize today?
  5. How might you be open to the suggestions and ideas of others today?
  6. How might you pass your enthusism on to others today?
  7. How will you acknowledge emotions and deal with tough issues at the same time?

How might leaders focus on people while getting things done at the same time?


Related image

You’ve probably heard the term “emotional intelligence.” It’s come into vogue in recent years, with numerous books being written about the subject. Businesses are increasingly focusing on emotional intelligence and researchers are increasingly learning its importance.

But what exactly is emotional intelligence? How can you determine if you have those characteristics? And why is it so important?


The term “emotional intelligence” (EI or EQ) was coined by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer. Author Dan Goleman made the term mainstream in his book “Emotional Intelligence.”

Typically, EQ includes two related, but distinct items:

  • The ability to recognize, understand and manage your own emotions
  • The ability to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others

Those who have a high EQ are highly in tune with both their own emotions and the emotions of those around them. They can recognize and understand the various feelings that sweep through them and are able to appropriately manage them.

Those with a low EQ find themselves unable to understand why they feel a certain way and unable to process the emotions they’re feeling.

David Caruso distinguished between EQ and IQ this way:

It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head—it is the unique intersection of both.

Emotional intelligence is hugely important in terms of success. Those who want to excel in life and work need a high EQ. If you can’t understand yourself or others, you simply won’t be able to improve in specific, important areas.

Discussing the interplay between IQ and EQ, Michael Akers and Grover Porter write:

How well you do in your life and career is determined by both. IQ alone is not enough; EQ also matters. In fact, psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else—including EQ.

Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?


There are many models of emotional intelligence, each with its own set of abilities; they are often lumped together as “EQ” in the popular vernacular. We prefer “EI,” which we define as comprising four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Nested within each domain are twelve EI competencies, learned and learnable capabilities that allow outstanding performance at work or as a leader (see the image below). These include areas in which Esther is clearly strong: empathy, positive outlook, and self-control. But they also include crucial abilities such as achievement, influence, conflict management, teamwork and inspirational leadership. These skills require just as much engagement with emotions as the first set, and should be just as much a part of any aspiring leader’s development priorities.

How I Hire: My Guiding Principles

Experience and age are great gifts when it comes to effectively and successfully hiring and retaining great talent. Below are my guiding principles of hiring gleaned from 34 years of learnings — the four areas I focus candidates on and the questions I typically use as my filter in the first hour we have together.

3 Benefits of Military-Style Leadership Training

Mark Hertling, training, healthcare, leadership

A retired lieutenant general in the US Army is teaching healthcare workers how to be better leaders and says the training is having “an unbelievable team-building effect.”