Integrity – Inward Orientation – Outward Manifestation

Integrity is an inward orientation that demands congruency between our closely held values and our thoughts, words and action. 

You can’t fake integrity.  We’ve all heard the breezy sayings that give us a sense of what integrity means behaviorally; “walk the talk,” “say what you mean, mean what you say,” “do what you say you are going to do,” and my personal favorite, “do the right thing even if no one is looking!” Having integrity is a positive attribute often associated with honesty, trustworthiness and soundness of moral character.

To live and lead with integrity is a choice.  Once integrity is chosen there is a cascade of other behaviors that will naturally follow such as accountability, transparency, and consistency.  So, it’s easy to see how having integrity is foundational to all your relationships and daily life transactions.

What may be a somewhat unexpected behavior is the willingness to be vulnerable.  When someone says, “I don’t know” or “I was wrong and don’t know how to make it right,” they are also exhibiting integrity.  They may have totally messed up or are afraid they are about to mess up and are raising their own red flag of distress.  There is a kind of courage found in vulnerability which is rooted in the virtue of integrity.

And because one of the hallmarks of integrity is consistency, it demands practice.  You can get better at it; here’s how.  Start with your primary relationship – the one you have with yourself.  Cultivate self-knowledge so you can create trust with yourself.  Question your own motivations, fears, aspirations and beliefs.  Be fearless in your self-interrogatory.  That said, also approach it with self-compassion.  Then take the next step.

Review your behavior.  Have you ever done or said something that didn’t align with your personal beliefs or values?  Let’s face it, most of us have at one time or another.  And when we do, we are, in that moment, lacking integrity.  We regain our integrity when we dig in and figure out why and then take steps to remediate the situation.

Sounds like a lot of work?  Maybe.  But over time you will find that you know yourself better and better.  You will learn what triggers cause you to behave without integrity and can create strategies to avoid them.

It is a choice to live and lead with integrity.  It is a choice not everyone makes.  Know that people of integrity contribute mightily to our society.  In an era, fraught with trust issues, living and leading with integrity is needed more than ever.

Need some help?  This is what I love to do!  I work to help people understand their core values and facilitate the necessary alignment to create integrity and ultimately… success.   My mission is to empower individuals and groups to work with joy and intention.  Let’s get started!


 

Striking a Balance: Technology & People

Big data.  Interoperability.  Integration strategies.  Organizational effectiveness.  Buzz words that can make your head spin.  Over the years, I have seen the rise of computer utilization in medical practices.  Yep, I just dated myself big time!  I have listened to the promises made by each new generation of software and I have witnessed the practical day-to-day challenges of implementation.  Just like in sports I have witnessed glorious victories and the agony of defeat.

Computers are really great at processing data and I think they should be utilized to do what they do best.  That said, the promised time savings for both provider and patient have not consistently yielded a better patient experience. The realities of flat reimbursement schedules and rising practice costs lead many practices to take whatever saved time they realize and reduce staff rather than returning any saved time to the patient.  This reality is understandable but it is not sustainable for the practice or for the patient.

People are really great at relationships and providing health care.   And I think they should be used to do what they do best. Your computer kiosk in your reception area may be efficient in checking in your patient but it does nothing to create relationship or foster trust between the provider and the patient.  It may well do the opposite.

As a master of the middle way, it is my recommendation to focus on balancing your strengths.  Have a robust computer system that enhances your communications and ability to process data.  At the same time, have a robust team of dedicated individuals who are present to the patients in all the right ways.  To welcome them, to listen to them, to educate them, and to treat them.  And like your computer system, your staff should also be provided the opportunity to upgrade their skills and abilities.

Creating good, clear and effective communications will save more time (and money) than just about anything else you can do in your practice.  Communications between the patient and the practice, between the practice and other practices, facilities and insurance plans, and let’s not forget about communications between staff members  – all of these communications affect your ability to render care effectively.  Good communications in all those areas will enhance the care and enhance your relationship with one another and all the stakeholders.  Ineffective communications will create a negative ripple effect that adversely impacts patient care.

If you are one of the lucky ones who have found a product that saves you and your staff time and energy – fantastic, keep it working for you!  Now take that time savings and invest in your relationship with one another and with your patients.  I have been consulting healthcare practices for over 25 years and it always comes down to communication.

Communication skills can be learned, they can be strengthened and they can be used to positively impact every interaction.  Do the math on that – every interaction made more positively impactful.  Imagine how that will change your day!

Ready to regain your balance? Contact me now!

Appreciation vs Valuing

Everyone appreciates being appreciated, it’s only natural.  And offering appreciation is easy and it needn’t cost a penny.  Valuing someone and their contribution is a higher level of appreciation.  It also doesn’t necessarily require a financial outlay – but it does require more thoughtfulness.  By that I mean you need to not only know what you value but what they value.

Move from simple appreciation to the deeper act of valuing by invoking the Platinum Rule, “do (give) unto others what they would like to be done unto (be given).”  Often appreciation comes under the guise of the Golden Rule and it bears the likeness of what we value and how we like to be valued.  Let’s be honest, that is just easier!  And that is why valuing someone may takes more time and thoughtfulness.  What motivates this person?  What do they need?  Want?  What can you do to tap into that motivation?

Perhaps it’s time for an example.  You have a staff member who has shown good judgment in a difficult situation and you really appreciate it.  In a staff meeting you state your appreciation of this person and feel good about praising in public.  What perhaps you didn’t know is that this person really wants to be included more than applauded.  What would really get them jazzed would be for their good judgment to be honored by asking for more of it – perhaps including them in a decision-making process, a special work group or task.

Moving from being a good manager to being a great manager can hinge on these seemingly small differentiations.  It requires that you get to know your people, see them as individuals with strengths and preferences. Listen to them, get to know them, take note of conversations where they show excitement and energy and those where they discuss challenges and obstacles.  The next time you are amazed by their contribution and want to show that you not only appreciate it but value it – put that knowledge to use!  Gift them a long lunch, tickets to a comedy show, a gift certificate for a massage, or perhaps an invitation to participate in a leadership circle – it just depends on what you know about what they value.

Give it some thought.  Who in your life is doing a great job and probably needs some affirmation of their value?  What do you know about them and what they value?  Start valuing the good work you see in your life, at work and elsewhere, and see how it will motivate them to even greater heights.  Being truly seen, known and valued for who you are and your contributions is a tremendously powerful gift.  Be generous!

Are you and your team are struggling to be generous with one another and find your way to valuing one another? I am committed to helping you you find a pathway to greater generosity of spirit and positive regard for one another.

Contact me now!

The Gift of Time

Listen to any podcast that pulls the veil back on how a business got started and you will hear about the practice of iteration.  You’ll hear how these big brands that are now household names started on someone’s laptop, how they worked out of their garage for years, had doors shut in their faces, created countless prototypes before hitting on the design, the business plan the right combination of factors to trigger their success.  How I admire them and their tenacity.

I think many of us want to believe in the myth of the overnight success but it is just that a myth.  If we want to move forward and create something new or even simply re-engineer what we have it’s going to take some time… and iteration.

Iteration.  Oh, it may go by other names like persistence, resilience, tenacity and commitment but it speaks with the same voice.  And when the voice of iteration speaks it is telling us:

“Anything worth doing is worth doing over and over again until you get it right!”

              “What lesson did you just learn?  Use it!” 

                                “Don’t give up, try again”

                                             “What if we tweaked this a little bit? What if …” 

                                                “Give it time”

Let me re-iterate – we hear and read about iteration because it is an important practice for any practice.  Do it, do it again, and again… repeat as needed.  It is a cycle but not a circle.  I’d say it is more like a spiral.  With each iteration, you hope to progress towards your goal, spiraling upward.  It would be so nice if our progress had a more linear path like a nice little chart with all the arrows pointing in a positive direction.  In reality that rarely happens.  Reality can be a bummer sometimes!

As you practice, curiosity, audacity and discernment know that you will spiral back to curiosity, audacity and discernment again and again.  You will ask, you will act and then you will assess.  With each assessment, you will be encouraged to ask more questions which will spur more action and in turn, require more assessment.  With each iteration, each cycle, you will learn, deepen your understanding and increase your ability to respond successfully.  It just never ends, because just when you think you have arrived you need to get curious about sustainability!

Can these practices become overwhelming?  Yes, they can and that is why having a supportive community is so important.  As a Facilitative Consultant, I work with individuals and groups to empower them to work with intention and joy.  Let me know how I can help you move forward.

 

The Gift of Discernment – Taking Aim

Is it possible to have too many opportunities and ideas?  Absolutely, if you have more ideas and opportunities than you can handle. And this can happen when practicing curiosity and audacity.  These two behaviors are associated with one of my favorite Tom Peters’ concepts – “Ready, Fire, Aim!” 1   Curiosity gets you “ready” and then you “fire” with audacity.  The resulting plethora of ideas and opportunities is ready for you to curate and that requires the next practice, discernment.   Discernment is the “aim” piece. You become the Curator of your ideas so you can focus on the opportunities most likely to yield success.  Increased clarity and focus are the gifts that a good discernment process will bring.

When your mind is churning with ideas it can be quite a noisy place.  It is easy to get carried away and find yourself overwhelmed.  Remember, just because something is a good idea  doesn’t mean it is a good idea for you.  Find your way to a place of discernment, a place of silence, and give yourself the gift of clarity.  There are so many ways to practice discernment; alone, with a trusted friend or advisor, even in a group.  The critical elements of discernment are silence and openness. This process moves you out of your head and into your heart.  Not the emotional heart but the heart of your being, your core.

Journaling has been one of the most fruitful discernment practices for me.  The great thing about journaling is that it is for you and only you.  Poor grammar and spelling, ill-conceived ideas and rants are totally acceptable.  Just write.  And write some more.  Write at least three pages at a time to move yourself from your head into your heart.  Find a time in your day that works for you and try to journal daily; it takes as little as twenty minutes.  Follow the flow of your thoughts and allow them to speak – even if they sound ridiculous. Play around with “what if” scenarios to get a sense of where you have reservations or where you feel your energy rise.  See where you get stuck.  Pay attention and be compassionate with yourself!!

Your deeply held beliefs and values will speak to you out of the silence.  Listen and process what you hear.  Share what you are learning with a trusted friend or advisor.  Understand that when your closely-held values are honored in your work it naturally becomes more satisfying. Working outside of your values or in direct conflict with your values will leave you spiritually bankrupt and exhausted.  It is imperative that you walk your path with integrity and authenticity.  I’m not saying it is easier, I’m saying it is more life-giving to work in alignment with your deeply held values.

Working with individuals and groups in discernment is one of my favorite things to do.  It is a privilege to bear witness to the process of birthing and developing new dreams, ideas and processes.  Having a facilitator who is not a stakeholder in your dream can be extremely helpful.   Contact me and let’s talk about your process.

1 In Search of Excellence, Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies, Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.

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