The Catalyst … accelerating business growth in healthcare

Michael Bomstad Joins EHM Team

Posted by Jessica Hartman DeVore on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 @12:56 PM


NOVEMBER 12, 2012 - Essential Healthcare Management (EHM) has announced that healthcare industry veteran Michael Bomstad has joined the EHM Team. Mike is a highly recognized innovator and leader with 20 years of healthcare industry experience.  His areas of expertise include GPO and IDN relationship development, complex contract negotiations, business and sales planning and implementation, innovative partnering and business start-ups.  As an industry consultant, Mike initiated and completed a first-of-its-kind partnership between a pharmaceutical company and a large hospital group, saving the hospital group $30 million while helping grow revenues for the pharmaceutical partner.  He has also developed an innovative and highly successful business model to introduce generic drugs to the US market.

Mike served as Senior Vice President for the $2B group purchasing program at Child Health Corporation of America (CHCA) where his team increased hospital savings in three years by more than 500%.  His team grew revenue by 20% annually for a ten-year period, and he personally negotiated more than $1B of group purchasing agreements during his tenure.  His demonstrated expertise includes working with senior level and operational management in the medical device, pharmaceutical, distribution and hospital industries, and he has been a member of the Association of Healthcare Materials and Resource Management (AHRMM), the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA), the Healthcare Industry Group Purchasing Industry Initiative (HGPII) and served on the Strategic Advisory Committee of CHCA’s GPO partner, Premier Purchasing Partners, Inc.

Prior to CHCA, Mike was a professional associate at the Center for Business Innovation, a business incubator, where he was responsible for business plan development, strategic partnering, and equity and debt financing assistance for start-up and early-stage technology companies.  Mike also served as a Member of the Kansas City Board of Trade where he traded commodities and stock-index futures for institutional clients.

Mike holds an MBA from the University of Kansas where he was a Graduate Business Scholar, and a BS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri

Tags: Essential Healthcare Management, hospitals, healthcare suppliers, gpos, IDNs, leader, GPO, business growth, business development

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


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

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

Tags: leadership, teamwork, leader, 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.


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


Posted by Stan Schroeder on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 @12:06 PM

Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on all of the things we are blessed with in our lives both professionally and personally. And quite often, those areas of our lives cross-over with the key mentors and true friends we have developed in our professions.

I have had a couple of key mentors in my career. The two that come to mind most are Don Paullin and my father, Bob Bahna. And hopefully one of the most important things I have learned from them is how to treat people. You can probably count on one hand the number of people in your career who you can really trust, and who truly have your best interests in mind.
How sad that is.

In today's world it is often so much about hitting numbers that the human side of business is lost. If you are in a leadership role - please try to remember that these are people's lives that you are dealing with. Hopes, dreams, plans, goals, futures, feelings and emotions.

Recently someone suggested that it was not poor performance that was the reason that they were being let go - and acted as if that made it ok. That person still has to go home and explain to their spouse, significant other, friends and family that they lost their job. And saying it was down sizing does not make that any easier.

If you don't understand that you can be a great leader that cares about people and does the right things, and drive outstanding results, then you don't really belong in a leadership position.

My mentors taught me many things. Among them are several key sayings that underline my philosophies, and I keep them with to try to help me make decisions.

Catch Them Doing Something Right
Lead From the Front
Managing is not Leading
Hard Data Drives out Soft
Differentiate Yourself and Your Company
Maximize Effectiveness - Move the Ball Forward on Every Interaction
Always be Willing to Learn and Change for a Better Way
Don't Expect What you Don't Inspect
Develop Your Sense of Urgency
Steps of the Sales Call are Critical - Every Time
Don't Do the Same Things and Expect Different Results
Know Your Cost Per Call and ROI (Including Opportunity Costs)
Set Expectations and Get Buy-in
The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results
The Hardest Part about Climbing the Ladder is Fighting Through the Crowd at the Bottom
Eagles are Like Leaders - They Don't Fly in Flocks, You Find Them One At a Time
WIIFMs (What is in it for me) are Critical
Do The Right Thing, and Fight For It If You Have To
Don't Ever Lose Because You Were Outworked
Be Fair, Conistent and Don't ask People to Do things You Are Not Willing or Able to Do

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving. And Thanks to those of you who take mentoring to heart.

Rob Bahna

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