“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” ―John Wooden
I had a milestone birthday last year and that milestone also marked my 30th year in the healthcare industry – Yikes! I obviously started in the business at 10 years old.
As I think back on my journey in healthcare so far, I have to admit there are cringeworthy moments over my lack of understanding and how many opportunities if given the chance I would have handled differently. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. I do however believe that I am now in a place where I add value on a daily basis and that is what gives me joy in my career. Whether you are in healthcare – or any business – this is what I would share with you so that the road you take might be a bit smoother:
Relationship building is critical to success in anything in life. When I joined Impact Advisors, I gained an entirely new perspective about the role consultants play within health care organizations. I’ll admit, it wasn’t until I became a consultant myself, that I truly understood the value they bring to the clients they serve. In my mind consultants were “temporary” employees who would one day leave and take their knowledge out the door with them. What I have come to understand is that our role is not just to work with the client, but also to build meaningful, trusted relationships with them. My clients become “my people” and I have their back. I work very hard and do my best to:
- Turnover any project with as much detail as possible, including documentation of what we did and next steps, etc.
- Check-in on my client after I leave, because I care about them as individuals and I want them to succeed.
- Share what I learn along my journey, even after I leave, to help them continue to grow.
- And finally, I look forward to the possibility that I may be fortunate enough to work with my previous clients again the future – an opportunity that is both personally and professionally satisfying.
Listening is hard (for me especially) but it may be the most important skill one can learn. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am very social. I always say I could talk to a tree. Because I’m so outgoing, I have to make a concerted effort to pause and listen. Even though it may be difficult for me to take the backseat in a conversation, I understand the value of truly listening to what those around me have to say. Listening allows us to:
- Gather critical information before making decisions. I know I become a better communicator when I stop worrying about what I will say or how I will respond to a particular question and focus on gathering as much insight as possible so I can provide value for my client.
- Focus on discovery. Discovery can impact the present and influence the future. Listen carefully to what someone is saying, how they are saying it, and what seems to be left out.
- Build relationships. People feel valued when they feel their ideas are heard. Ultimately, listening builds confidence and trust.
Communication is key. I know you have heard this statement before, but it is so true. One of the skills that I see lacking at so many organizations is the ability to effectively communicate with one another. I believe technology has played a large part in people losing this skill. In most cases, text messages, e-mails, etc. are not nearly as effective as a face-to-face meetings or phone calls. Where the written word leaves much of the conversation open to interpretation, an in-person discussion allows us to consider not just what the client is saying, but how they are saying it, based on their expression and body language. It may be surprising to hear that a major part of my role as a consultant is to help facilitate conversations among individuals and teams.
I would suggest that you should never be afraid to ask questions, seek clarification, or repeat yourself in order to make sure every detail is clear. A personal touch can go a long way. Organizations that embrace a culture of caring are far more successful than those who put the priority elsewhere. If you don’t believe me, look-up mine!
People need to feel appreciated. Our culture at Impact Advisors is pretty amazing. I can tell you that I work very hard, but I also know my hard work does not go unnoticed and that my contribution is a part of my firm’s success.
The simple act of being appreciative to those we work with goes a long way. It can boost productivity, improve work quality and creates a workplace where people want to gather.
In closing, I would say that learning is a lifelong journey. Through continuous learning, I hope to refine my craft so I can continue to make a positive impact in the years to come. My ultimate goal is that those I meet and work with along the way will view my time with them as valuable. As we age, we settle in and become better learners. Good luck on your journey and reach out if I can ever add value for you!