The Catalyst … accelerating business growth in healthcare

More Important to Be Kind Than Clever

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 @12:10 PM

One of the more heart-warming stories to zoom around the Internet lately involves a young man, his dying grandmother, and a bowl of clam chowder from Panera Bread. It's a little story that offers big lessons about service, brands, and the human side of business — a story that underscores why efficiency should never come at the expense of humanity.

The story, as told in AdWeek, goes like this: Brandon Cook, from Wilton, New Hampshire, was visiting his grandmother in the hospital. Terribly ill with cancer, she complained to her grandson that she desperately wanted a bowl of soup, and that the hospital's soup was inedible (she used saltier language). If only she could get a bowl of her favorite clam chowder from Panera Bread! Trouble was, Panera only sells clam chowder on Friday. So Brandon called the nearby Panera and talked to store manager Suzanne Fortier. Not only did Sue make clam chowder especially for Brandon's grandmother, she included a box of cookies as a gift from the staff.

It was a small act of kindness that would not normally make headlines. Except that Brandon told the story on his Facebook page, and Brandon's mother, Gail Cook, retold the story on Panera's fan page. The rest, as they say, is social-media history. Gail's post generated 500,000 (and counting) "likes" and more than 22,000 comments on Panera's Facebook page. Panera, meanwhile, got something that no amount of traditional advertising can buy — a genuine sense of affiliation and appreciation from customers around the world.

Marketing types have latched on to this story as an example of the power of social media and "virtual word-of-mouth" to boost a company's reputation. But I see the reaction to Sue Fortier's gesture as an example of something else — the hunger among customers, employees, and all of us to engage with companies on more than just dollars-and-cents terms. In a world that is being reshaped by the relentless advance of technology, what stands out are acts of compassion and connection that remind us what it means to be human.

As I read the story of Brandon and his grandmother, I thought back to a lecture delivered two years ago by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, to the graduating seniors of my alma mater, Princeton University. Bezos is nothing if not a master of technology — he has built his company, and his fortune, on the rise of the Internet and his own intellect. But he spoke that day not about computing power or brainpower, but about his grandmother — and what he learned when he made her cry.

Even as a 10-year-old boy, it turns out, Bezos had a steel-trap mind and a passion for crunching numbers. During a summer road trip with his grandparents, young Jeff got fed up with his grandmother's smoking in the car — and decided to do something about it. From the backseat, he calculated how many cigarettes per day his grandmother smoked, how many puffs she took per cigarette, the health risk of each puff, and announced to her with great fanfare, "You've taken nine years off your life!"

Bezos's calculations may have been accurate — but the reaction was not what he expected. His grandmother burst into tears. His grandfather pulled the car off to the side of the road and asked young Jeff to step out. And then his grandfather taught a lesson that this now-billionaire decided to share the with the Class of 2010: "My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence, he gently and calmly said, 'Jeff, one day you'll understand that it's harder to be kind than clever.'"

That's a lesson I wish more businesspeople understood — a lesson that is reinforced by the reaction to this simple act of kindness at Panera Bread. Indeed, I experienced something similar not so long ago, and found it striking enough to devote an HBR blog post to the experience. In my post, I told the story of my father, his search for a new car, a health emergency that took place in the middle of that search — and a couple of extraordinary (and truly human) gestures by an auto dealer that put him at ease and won his loyalty.

"What is it about business that makes it so hard to be kind?" I asked at the time. "And what kind of businesspeople have we become when small acts of kindness feel so rare?"

That's what's really striking about the Panera Bread story — not that Suzanne Fortier went out of her way to do something nice for a sick grandmother, but that her simple gesture attracted such global attention and acclaim.

So by all means, encourage your people to embrace technology, get great at business analytics, and otherwise ramp up the efficiency of everything they do. But just make sure all their efficiency doesn't come at the expense of their humanity. Small gestures can send big signals about who we are, what we care about, and why people should want to affiliate with us. It's harder (and more important) to be kind than clever.

Shared by Bill Taylor

Tags: leadership, marketing, teamwork, brand management, sales, business growth, strategic thinking, business development

EHM June 2012 Newsletter

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Mon, Jun 04, 2012 @01:49 PM

Essential Healthcare Management Newsletter June 2012
The EHM Family: Michael Pola

Mike Pola Here at Essential Healthcare Management, we value relationships.  To EHM, trusted partners and productive partnerships are not just a priority – they are a privilege.  We would like you to meet one of our people who is a proven expert at building and maintaining those types of relationships in healthcare, Senior Vice President, Michael Pola.

Mike is an experienced senior executive with 20+ years of broad-based expertise developing Sales Teams and National Account programs. He has an outstanding record of recognizing and creating new business opportunities and positioning companies to succeed.

Mike was most recently at SterilMed, a VC funded leader in the third party reprocessing industry, where he was hired to establish the west coast sales channels. During Mike’s tenure, SterilMed rapidly grew from $5M to $80M in annual revenue, and was subsequently acquired for $275M.  Prior to SterilMed, Mike founded Allergear, an allergy consumer products and consulting company. The company provided sales and marketing expertise to early-stage healthcare organizations. In 1998, Mike joined Influence Medical to introduce new products to the ENT market and to lead the company’s worldwide sales expansion. Influence was sold in 1999 to American Medical Systems. Prior to Influence Medical,  Mr. Pola held sales and sales management positions at Pentax Medical, Medtronic and Marion Laboratories.

Mike leverages his National Accounts and Sales background to help EHM clients gain access to provider networks and to build strong sales teams that create optimal hospital market penetration. Mike’s understanding of the healthcare market, and his experience working with medical industry decision makers give EHM’s clients access to incredible opportunities.

Pola Family Mike is an avid traveler who took a long-planned year off with his family in 2010.  They lived in Southern Spain, Israel, Peru, Argentina and Uruguay -  the trip of a lifetime!  When he’s not working, Mike likes to spend time with family and friends and loves to host dinner parties in his new home in San Francisco.  Mike is also involved in several non-profit organizations focused on helping at-risk youth.  Additionally, he serves as a board member and advisor to both his high school and college.  Mike likes to stay active by cycling the Marin Headlands a couple of times a week.  He loves to play golf but is resigned to the fact that he will never break an 18 handicap.  

In 2008 Mike went back to school to get a Master’s Degree in Health Administration.  This achievement has helped Mike to better understand the evolving and uncertain world of modern healthcare from a “bottom line” perspective. Mr. Pola received his Bachelor of Science degree from Santa Clara University.


A Level Playing Field?

By: Stan Schroeder, Managing Partner, EHM

I believe in fair play.  Give everyone the chance to compete, and to win.  I also believe that if today we all started over from scratch, that I would become successful again.  I base this on my work ethic, common sense, and an overinflated (probably unjustified) ego.

The “even playing field” theory should extend to all areas of business.  Whether one believes in the free market or not, it is hard to argue against the position that the incredible gains made by American companies since the industrial revolution began  would not have been acheived without the capitalist system, which is theoretically the epitome of fairness.

But there is an issue with that:  our form of capitalism has never been “unfettered”, like politicians and pundits often posit.  It has always been “fettered”, if you will, by many factors:  the influence of large companies, government involvement, cronyism, local vs. national contracting, various types of corruption, etc.

So what programs/ideas/concepts can make the playing field “fair”, specifically in the healthcare market, while still keeping competition and incentive/reward for innovation and achievement?

If is from the debates surrounding this question that diversity supplier programs arose.  People realized that traditionally overlooked companies (HUB –Historically Underutilized Businesses) were not being given a fair shot in the broader healthcare market.

There are many reasons that this happened/happens:

*Bundling of products by large, entrenched suppliers

*High level influencer relationships

*Perception of lack of capability

*Limited resources that result in limited visibility/viability

-And in some cases smaller and/or diverse suppliers are missing key components required for their success:

*Strong sales rep structure and talent level

*Administrative/operational structure and expertise/experience

*Access to decision makers

*General “bandwidth” to handle multiple simultaneous issues

EHM aligns with small businesses because we ARE a small business.  Frank started EHM specifically to assist these companies with inherent start-up/growth limitations by creating more enterprise agility, and more viability and visibility in the marketplace.

It happens that many Women, Minority, and Veteran - owned business enterprises are small, and struggling with the issues listed above.  Our solution therefore has become a very good fit for WMBE’s in the healthcare market place.

We are very pleased with the success of our WMBE and Veteran owned clients.  It is fun to watch a small company overcome obstacles and become successful.  It is a joy to be a part of it. 

This week Frank and I will be participating with Deborah Williams’ Premier SEEDS Diversity Supplier Forum in Nashville.  We are happy to be involved and hope that we can help.    We believe that diversity and inclusion, as business practices, are not just good social sense but can be very good for healthcare’s “bottom line”.

 

"Diverse suppliers often realize success by learning from others that have experienced achievements and disappointments. The team at Essential Healthcare Management has brought great value to their diverse partners mostly because of their collective healthcare background. We have seen tremendous growth with some of their clients, specifically Compression Therapy Concepts. Essential pro vided effective mentoring to CTC which has led to sustainable growth.”  - Lamont Robinson, Senior Director, Supplier Diversity, Novation

 

CTC earns the MedAssets, 2012 Diversity Supplier Award

Wish You Well!

By: Rob Bahna, Vice President of Sales, Resuscitation International

As an avid reader, I appreciate it when others share learning opportunities that they occasionally find from unique and outstanding books. Many of you may be familiar with David Baldacci, the best selling author of many books about politics, spies and intrigue. If not, his books are some of my favorite from the action based fiction category. However, it was one of his that I came across recently that is one that I hope you pick up - and give to your children if you have them.

The book, called Wish You Well, is actually required reading in school districts throughout the country. It tells the story of twelve year old Louisa Mae Cardinal and her transition from New York city of 1940, to living in the Virginia mountains with her great-grandmother on her farm.

My mother grew up on a farm with 9 siblings in Ohio. And some of this book and story relates to me in this way. But the other thing that Baldacci points out is that we really don't take the time to learn even about our families and take advantage of that history.

But, Baldacci says it much better than I can. Here are some quotes from various parts of the book:

“Unfortunately, we live in a time where everyone seems to be solely looking ahead, as though we deem nothing in the past worthy of our attention. The future is always fresh and exciting, and it has a pull on us that times past simply can never muster. Yet it may be our greatest wealth as human beings can be “discovered” by simply looking behind us.” David Baldacci in his author’s note for the book “Wish You Well”.

“One’s courage, hope and spirit can be severely tried by the happenstance of life. But as I learned on that Virginia mountain, as long as one never loses faith, it is impossible to ever truly be alone.”

“I hope that once you close the last page of Wish You Well, you will want to journey through the past of your own family, to learn the things you never knew before – stories of love, sadness, loss or happiness. These emotions are innately human, and they forge the bands of shared experiences that connect us all. In fact, these connections, both large and small, over time are what constitute our humanity.”

William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.”

As a business leader, one of my goals is to always really learn about the people I work with. But then I stop and think, how much can I still learn about from those people I have known for years?

My grandparents never had a computer or cell phone, let alone an Ipad. As a matter of fact they had a shared phone line that you had to wait for the neighbors to finish talking before you could make a call. I don't believe they ever flew on an airplane. Their home did not have central air or heat. We thought we would freeze when we were sleeping upstairs. They worked their farm for 15 plus hours each day and hoped the weather cooperated. By all accounts - they had a difficult life. It would be a shame not to learn from it.

But I have to put down my cell phone and Ipad to do it....

Pick up the book. You will not be sorry. 

 

Is Your Website a Lonely Island?

Cynthia Baker, Accolades Public Relations

There are few lonelier fates for a website than to remain isolated like an island on the Web.  

This happens when a website sits alone, unconnected to other websites in the vast digital sea of the internet. Instead of gaining exposure and connecting with other sites, an island website relies on chance discoveries for new business opportunities. This is no way to succeed in the highly competitive, and increasingly interconnected online market.

The key to preventing an isolated fate for your website is to establish links with other sites. In a marketing age where your brand is only as strong as your Google search results, it is important to have a basic understanding of the search engine’s ranking system. There are two methods for gaining ground on search results; the first is through paid advertising. The second is by allowing your search results to grow organically.

Google produces search results by ranking websites based on how helpful they are to users. One way to determine this is through links pointing to and leading away from a site. The rationale says the more links a site has, the more connected it is to other content that users might find useful when searching for a particular topic.

There are some easy steps any business can take to begin increasing their Google ranking organically. Posting links is essential for a useful website, and it is equally important to post quality links. Create links to relevant content related to key phrases in your blog posts; avoiding links on inactive phrases, such as ‘click here.’ By providing an informational source that attracts an audience by serving their needs the blog earns a higher Google ranking. For example, a healthcare company's site could be more useful and draw more traffic by starting a new blog about how their product or service will serve patients or reduce hospital costs.

There is so much more that businesses can do to help their customers find them online. Luckily the tools and techniques for connecting to the right people are not impossible to learn (or even that complicated if you have the right tools and resources). With all the different ways to connect, there is no reason a website should ever be an island.

Accolades PR is committed to helping businesses understand the best ways maximizing the effectiveness of their websites. Reach out to learn more about how to get your site found on the Web. Leave a comment and let us know how you have made your site useful to your target audience.


Client News: Compression Therapy Concepts Receives Champion for Change Award

Compression Therapy Concepts (CTC) (Eatontown, NJ), which markets the VasoPress DVT product line, was awarded the 2012 Practice Greenhealth (Reston, VA) Champion for Change Award at the annual CleanMed meeting. The award is for outstanding contributions to environmentally responsible healthcare suppliers, and recognizes businesses and organizations that demonstrate successful accomplishments in greening their own organization and have assisted their customers in improving their environmental performance. CTC, when moving to an additional warehouse, improved its property with solar power. For more information, contact CTC at 800-993-9013

 

EHM News: Family on the Go

Our founder, Frank Ripullo has been branching out into other ventures. He, and his wife Angie and daughter Rosalia, are currently being featured in Samsung's national TV campaign for the Galaxy Note! Click here to view in full!


 

EHM Upcoming Conference Schedule

 

We hope to see you soon!

You can always find us at www.essentialhm.net

Tags: leadership, Essential Healthcare Management, Frank Ripullo, galaxy note

Wish You Well

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Tue, May 15, 2012 @11:06 AM

As an avid reader, I appreciate it when others share learning opportunities that they occasionally find from unique and outstanding books. Many of you may be familiar with David Baldacci, the best selling author of many books about politics, spies and intrigue. If not, his books are some of my favorite from the action based fiction category. However, it was one of his that I came across recently that is one that I hope you pick up - and give to your children if you have them.

The book, called Wish You Well, is actually required reading in school districts throughout the country. It tells the story of twelve year old Louisa Mae Cardinal and her tranisition from New York city of 1940, to living in the Virginia mountains with her great-grandmother on her farm.

My mother grew up on a farm with 9 siblings in Ohio. And some of this book and story relates to me in this way. But the other thing that Baldacci points out is that we really don't take the time to learn even about our families and take advantage of that history.

But, Baldacci says it much better than I can. Here are some quotes from various parts of the book:

“Unfortunately, we live in a time where everyone seems to be solely looking ahead, as though we deem nothing in the past worthy of our attention. The future is always fresh and exciting, and it has a pull on us that times past simply can never muster. Yet it may be our greatest wealth as human beings can be “discovered” by simply looking behind us.” David Baldacci in his author’s note for the book “Wish You Well”.

“One’s courage, hope and spirit can be severely tried by the happenstance of life. But as I learned on that Virginia mountain, as long as one never loses faith, it is impossible to ever truly be alone.”

“I hope that once you close the last page of Wish You Well, you will want to journey through the past of your own family, to learn the things you never knew before – stories of love, sadness, loss or happiness. These emotions are innately human, and they forge the bands of shared experiences that connect us all. In fact, these connections, both large and small, over time are what constitute our humanity.”

William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.”

As a business leader, one of my goals is to always really learn about the people I work with. But then I stop and think, how much can I still learn about from those people I have known for years?

My grandparents never had a computer or cell phone, let alone an Ipad. As a matter of fact they had a shared phone line that you had to wait for the neighbors to finish talking before you could make a call. I don't believe they ever flew on an airplane. Their home did not have central air or heat. We thought we would freeze when we were sleeping upstairs. They worked their farm for 15 plus hours each day and hoped the weather cooperated. By all accounts - they had a difficult life. It would be a shame not to learn from it.

But I have to put down my cell phone and Ipad to do it....

Pick up the book. You will not be sorry.

Have a great week.

Rob Bahna

Tags: selling, leadership, leader, sales, Management, business development

Winning

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 @12:14 PM

I have been involved in hiring hundreds of sales people and managers in my career. Not once during the interviews for these jobs did any candidate say, "I want to lose" or "I don't care about winning".
 
Every one of us says we want to win - and I believe that is true. So why do we have people who continually succeed despite the challenges that are put in front of them and others who effectively give up the day the goal or quota is assigned?
 
In some ways I believe it is about really having the Will to win. Coach Bobby Knight once said that "the will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win."
 
Let's use presentations as an example. When you give a presentation to a customer, your own team or even in public, you know going in how well prepared you are and how much work you have done to be ready. If you are completely confident because your preparation has been flawless, it is apparent to everyone who hears you.
 
We have all been on the other end of a presentation where someone was not prepared because they did not own the material. I certainly don't want someone reading slides to me instead of having an engaged conversation whenever possible.
 
When I started selling very few people had cell phones, email was just starting and people actually didn't answer their phones or text during the meetings. And unless it was a doctor, very rarely did anyone interrupt a meeting that was taking place.
 
But just as those thing change - so has our ability to prepare with the data and knowledge that is readily available on companies and people. Can you imagine asking the president of a company "what does your organization do"? Yet - many people are not prepared to ask intelligent questions and show that they have done their homework. Every person we deal with wants us to be prepared and show them that we value their time.
 
If you watch cooking shows, it is easy to see the finished meal and say - wow, that is great. But it doesn't happen without practice and repetition, preparation and hard work.
 
It's not what you want, but what you do that matters. Everyone wants to win. Some people choose to.

Have a great week.
 
Rob Bahna

Vice President of Sales
Rescuscitation International

Tags: selling, leadership, determination, teamwork, leader, sales, business growth, strategic thinking, business development

The Relationship Curve

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 @01:23 PM



Amy Hardin

SELLect Sales

www.sellectsales.com

Tags: selling, leadership, sales, business growth, Management, strategic thinking, business development

Spring Training

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Thu, Mar 08, 2012 @12:29 PM

Here we are getting ready to start the 2012 Major League Baseball season with another Spring Training under way. You can almost smell the fresh cut grass, hot dogs, peanuts and taste the cold beer as the warm sun hits your face.


Each year these elite players spend weeks getting ready to do the one thing that they have been doing all their lives - playing baseball. And then the regular season lasts for 162 games followed by the playoffs.

The following numbers are provided by the NCAA about the chances of being drafted by a major league baseball team (this is not making the majors - but just being drafted so the real odds are worse).

--High school senior players who go on to play NCAA men`s baseball: Less than three in 50, or 5.6 percent

-- NCAA senior players drafted by a Major League Baseball (MLB) team: Less than eleven in 100, or 10.5 percent.

-- High school senior players eventually drafted by an MLB team: About one in 200, or 0.5 percent. Drafted baseball players almost always go to a minor league team. These teams abound; there are over 150 of them, compared to 30 in the majors. The big leagues have 750 players, yet the 2004 draft alone took 1,500. Hence some estimate that only one in 33 minor leaguers ever makes it to the pros. If that's correct, the chance of a high school player making the big leagues is one in 6,600, or 0.015 percent. That's roughly the chance of a thief guessing your PIN number on the first try

Why then do these elite players - the millionaires, the best of the best, who have been doing this their entire life focus on the fundamentals and basics in Spring Training? The answer is, of course, that to make that elite team it takes tremendous talent and skill. But at that level it also takes hard work and effort to be the best of the best - just like in any field.

How often are you practicing, evaluating and working on your skills and that of your team? How much do you spend making your team better?

In today's major leagues, players spend countless hours studying videotapes to try to gain a competitive advantage on the competition in any way that they can. That includes video of themselves and what they are doing well and need to improve upon. Do you? Are you studying what your competition is doing?

Show me a person who knows it all, and I will show you someone who I don't want on my team. Show me someone who has had success, and wants to continue improving and working to continue that success - and always find a better way, and I will show you a superstar.

Have a great week.

Rob Bahna

Vice President of Sales
Rescuscitation International

Tags: selling, leadership, teamwork, leader, sales, business growth, Management, business development

The #1 Skill of Effective Communicators

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Thu, Mar 01, 2012 @12:35 PM

Randall was my boss at IBM. He brought me into his organization early in my career as a first-line manager. As great leaders do, he saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I’m glad, because in my first few months as a manager, I made a lot of mistakes. I first tried being a super-contributor, a manager who relies on his own contributions rather than working through his people. Then I tried to manage my team instead of lead them. I focused on controlling my employees and enforcing company policies rather than coaching and enabling them. All the time, Randall was patient.
 
Randall’s office door was always open. I could come to him with my questions, frustrations, or need for encouragement. He would always hear me out without interrupting or redirecting. Rather than change the conversation to something he would rather talk about, he would stay on my topic. He would probe, reflect, and show empathy.
 
When you talked to Randall, you knew he was listening and not merely formulating his response. When you left Randall’s presence, you felt understood. He had a way of making you feel good about yourself. He made you feel important. It was even therapeutic at times. Depending on your need, Randall could be a proxy for your counselor, pastor, friend, and even your parent.

 
Great leaders are great listeners. They are not merely great speakers or talkers. They leverage the power of both their mouth and ears. They provide information when appropriate, but equally well receive it. They make themselves available to their constituents. They are open-minded. They seek to understand before being understood.
 
Talking to someone is not a conversation. At best, talking is half of a conversation. The other half of a conversation is listening. If you are talking to someone who is distracted and not understanding, your talking is more a vocal cord exercise than a conversation. For effective communications to take place, there needs to be effective listening.
 
Counter intuitively for many people, people who focus more on speaking than listening are not as effective in their ability to influence. They don’t garner the trust of others. They don’t endear themselves to others. They don’t have as deep and meaningful a dialog. Nor do they understand or learn as well.
 
There is no joy in being with someone that wants to do all the talking. They constantly redirect the conversation back to themselves. They don’t care about what others have to say. They want to be the center of attention. You think, “Why don’t they just talk to a mirror? It’s obvious they don’t really need anyone else in their conversation.”
 
Listening enables understanding and builds relationships. It makes people feel important, valued, and respected. It satisfies people’s basic need to feel understood. There are many situations where people don’t need you to solve their problems or do anything other than empathize and listen.
 
The ability to influence, collaborate, encourage, coach, gain trust, and learn is more dependent on a well-developed ability to listen than to speak. As Stephen R. Covey, author of The 8th Habit, said “The most important skill in life is communications. And the most important communication skill is listening.”
 
Regardless of your role or level, develop the #1 skill of effective communicators – listening - and watch your performance dramatically increase.

 

Mike Hawkins

Alpine Link Corporation

www.alpinelink.com

Tags: leadership, teamwork, leader, business growth, Management, business development

Overcoming Stalls and Objections

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 @01:35 PM



A SELLect Sales Tip from Amy Hardin

Tags: selling, leadership, Essential Healthcare Management, determination, web video, sales, business growth, Management, business development

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Posted by Stan Schroeder on Wed, Jan 04, 2012 @01:16 PM

The old axiom "Practice Makes Perfect" has been around for a long time. Anyone who has seen my golf game knows that Practice Does Not Make Perfect. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. If I go to the driving range, what I do is practice my imperfect golf swing, to make it more consistently bad.

If we talk about my softball swing - it is another story. From years of baseball from little league through college, and 25 years of softball, I know the fundamentals of the swing and what it should be. The more I practice, the more confident I become and the more muscle memory kicks in so I don't have to think about it.

Have you made any New Years Resolutions for 2012? Why do so many resolutions fail? Most resolutions (assuming they are reasonable, achievable and important to the person making them) fail because we don't make them habits. You have probably seen different opinions on how long we have to do something to make it a habit. I have often heard it takes 21 days (or 28 days) of consistently doing something before something becomes a habit.

Psychological research on this question in a paper was recently published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. Phillippa Lally and colleagues from University College London recruited 96 people who were interested in forming a new habit such as eating a piece of fruit with lunch or doing a 15 minute run each day Lally et al. (2009). Participants were then asked daily how automatic their chosen behaviours felt. These questions included things like whether the behaviour was 'hard not to do' and could be done 'without thinking'.

When the researchers examined the different habits, many of the participants showed a curved relationship between practice and the automaticity of it. On average a plateau in automaticity was reached after 66 days. In other words it had become as much of a habit as it was ever going to become.

Although the average was 66 days, there was marked variation in how long habits took to form, anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days in the habits examined in this study. As you'd imagine, drinking a daily glass of water became automatic very quickly but doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast required more dedication.

The researchers also noted that:

Missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit.
A sub-group took much longer than the others to form their habits, perhaps suggesting some people are 'habit-resistant'.
Other types of habits may well take much longer.

66 days is a considerable amount of time and requires strong commitment. And remember that this applies to business habits as well.

If you want call on 2 new prospects each day in addition to your current customers, track your progress each day for 66 days.

If you want to do a better job of asking for referalls, track your progress for 66 days.

If you want to lose weight, track your calorie intake, or your calories burned during excercise , check out the free App Lose It! for the iIPad or IPhone. It will give you a good example of tracking and how motivating that can be.

And practicing bad habits will not get you the results you are looking for, don't hesitate to ask for help to make sure you are practicing correctly.

Have a great 2012.

Sincerely,

Rob Bahna

Tags: selling, leadership, determination, leader, priorities, referrals, business growth, business development

Behavioral Based Interviewing

Posted by Stan Schroeder on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 @12:58 PM

Any one of us who have been in positions to interview and hire people over the last 10 years are probably familiar with "Behavior Based Interviewing".


Behavioral Based Interviewing is interviewing based on discovering how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. The logic is that how you behaved in the past will predict how you will behave in the future i.e. past performance predicts future performance.

Like most trends in business, I believe it has some merit based on the level of person you are interviewing, what their experiences have been, and what you are really looking for in an employee.

One of the values of the technique when it first came out - was that it forced "professional interviewers" to think differently and give real answers that they had not rehearsed or prepared  in advance. Whether you are a sales person questioning customers, a manager questioning employees or even personally, stop and think about the value of that for a minute.

Here are a few examples of Behavioral Based Interviewing Questions:

•Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.
•Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.
•Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.
•Have you gone above and beyond the call of duty? If so, how?
•What do you do when your schedule is interrupted? Give an example of how you handle it.
•Have you had to convince a team to work on a project they weren't thrilled about? How did you do it?
•Have you handled a difficult situation with a co-worker? How?
•Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure?

And in this style of interviewing - the follow-up question is also planned out based on which way you answer. You are generally asking questions by category trying to figure out someone’s resilience, persuasiveness, negotiation skills, adaptability, ambition, integrity, analytical thinking, sales ability, management style...

Do you have a list of questions like this that you ask based on what you are trying to accomplish with the person/people you are questioning? Whether it is interviewing a potential candidate, learning about a customer, motivating a team or understanding an assignment given to you - the quality of the questions you ask will help determine your success.

The more prepared you are; the better listener you will be able to be. If you don't know the questions cold, you will not be able to listen as effectively as someone who is really prepared.


Think of the top 3 objections you expect from any situation and be prepared to deal with them with good questions up front to remove them as obstacles whenever possible.

If you anticipate that they will resist your proposal because of people in their facility fighting "change" you might ask, "Can you give me an example of a time when you helped a staff member accept change and make the necessary adjustments to move forward?"

Can you tell me about a time when you had to convince someone in authority about your ideas? How did it work out?

Describe a project or idea that was implemented primarily because of your efforts. What was your role? What was the outcome?

Spend the time to develop your questions. It will help differentiate you and your understanding of the people you are working with. It will also save you time and frustration in learning that the person you are working with might not know how to do something because they have never been asked to do it before.

Have a productive week. And that includes taking time to stop and think about your plan and further develop your process.

Rob Bahna

Tags: selling, leadership, leader, sales, business growth, Management, business development