Tag Archives: management

Keeping Invisible Disabilities in Mind When Planning Company Events

By Tracy Stuckrath

It’s the first day of your company’s annual sales meeting for twenty-five people. While you ate a hearty breakfast at home before the meeting, you’re starving and ready for lunch. As you walk into the break room, you see that your boss’ administrative assistant ordered pizza for lunch.

Your stomach flips and your heart sinks. Pizza is not a safe or viable meal for you because you have celiac disease. What makes it worse is that despite the fact the pizza place she purchased from offers gluten-free pizza, she only ordered “regular” pizza and a large tossed “salad.” As you prepare to eat the salad, you read the ingredients on the salad dressing and find out it too, contains gluten. It will just be iceberg lettuce and a few tomatoes for lunch for you.

You felt very left out and overlooked—and now, even hungrier than before. You’ve worked here for a few years and the office is not that big. You thought she knew better.

Did you know that celiac disease, food allergies and intolerances are considered invisible disabilities? Did you know that people with celiac disease, diabetes and/or food allergies have the same protections afforded by the ADA as others with disabilities?

The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) defined a disability as any individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The 2008 extension of the Act was written to add additional terminology to major life activities—eating, digestive system, immune system, and cardiovascular system—and, in turn, providing civil rights protections for individuals with allergies, including food allergies, and other dietary needs, like celiac disease. In an essence, it was updated to better recognize invisible disabilities.

These invisible disabilities affect many of your employees, and it’s important to be mindful of them when planning office activities, meals, or outside functions. Below are some of the most commonly encountered food-related invisible disabilities, and some ways to keep them in mind when hosting meals at the office.

Food Allergies

Triggered by eating, touching or inhaling a food protein, reactions can range from mild (hives, coughing) to severe (throat closing, chest pain, fainting) and can be potentially fatal.

While more than 170 foods are known to cause allergic reactions, eight foods—wheat, egg, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish and soy—cause more than 90 percent of all allergic reactions.

Before food is served at work, ask employees if anyone has food allergies and what you need to avoid to keep them safe. Label all foods with the allergens they contain. Depending on the severity of the allergy and the trigger, inform all employees of the need to not bring that food in the workplace.

Diabetes

A life-long genetic disease requiring a person to closely manage their diet daily. A healthy meal for diabetic is generally the same as healthy eating for anyone—low in fat, moderate in salt and sugar, lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit. Avoid serving only heavily processed convenience foods—fried foods, food and beverages with added sugar and foods that have excess butter, cheese and/or oils—in the office.

When this discomfort or worse, life-threatening dangers, are ignored, you are not only ignoring your duty of care, you are endangering people with an invisible disability. Click To Tweet

Digestive Disorders, Such Celiac Disease

Disorders of the digestive system which cause a person’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract to not work properly or at all. Many triggers for these disorders—celiac disease, Crohn’s, diverticular diseases, colitis, colon polyps and even cancer—are food related and require people to avoid specific foods to avoid severe pain, missing work or going to the hospital.

Heart Conditions

Diet is an important risk factor in avoiding and possibly reversing heart diseases. Some medications for heart disease do not interact well with specific foods and can decrease the effectiveness and/or cause adverse effects—high blood pressure, heart failure and/or strokes. If an employee lets you know that they must avoid specific foods, they may be doing for an invisible medical disability.

These are just a few examples of the many diseases, conditions, dysfunctions, and alternative ways of experiencing the world that fall under the classification of invisible disabilities. Most who understand the world of invisible disabilities understand that the existence of ‘normal’ is an illusion.

The disability of extremely high importance is food allergies, food intolerances and other medically-necessary diets, like celiac disease. Yes, these are protected under the ADA. And because they don’t require an assistive device, like a wheelchair, cane, glasses, or hearing aid, food allergies and intolerances are an invisible disability.

In most cases, participating in meetings and events at work or while traveling for work makes it close to impossible to completely avoid allergens, either because they can’t avoid the ingredient or they can’t control for cross-contamination.

When this discomfort or worse, life-threatening dangers, are ignored by those hosting meetings in the office, you are not only ignoring your duty of care, you are endangering people with an invisible disability.

Food allergies, celiac disease, heart disease and diabetes are not choices your employees make. They are invisible diseases—and disabilities—that require managing their diet very closely and specifically so they can maintain their health, their life and their job.

As founder and chief connecting officer of thrive!, Tracy Stuckrath helps organizations worldwide understand how food and beverage (F&B) affects risk, employee/guest experience, company culture and the bottom line. As a speaker, consultant, author and event planner, she is passionate about safe and inclusive F&B that satisfies everyone’s needs. She has presented to audiences on five continents and believes that food and beverage provide a powerful opportunity to engage audiences on multiple levels. For more information about Tracy, please visit: www.thrivemeetings.com.

1+1=7: Leveraging Value-Based Healthcare for Positive ROI

By Gregory T. Reinecke

Gregory T. Reinecke-healthcareChange is about change! In the healthcare industry, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 included another definition for clinical success. The government determined success to mean a patient does not return to the clinic within thirty days of original discharge. This is now old news. Yet a survey in 2017 showed that 59 percent of healthcare organizations (up from 33 percent in 2016) still had concerns about the Affordable Care Act. The consensus was that dealing with this move from a volume-based care requirement to a value-based one is still of concern.

The shift from fee-for-service to a value-based model is driving change and a rethinking of doctor/clinic and patient relationships. With change you are forced to review allocation of resources, investment strategies, and even to do more with less. In this changed landscape—in a value-based environment—how do you define ROI? Where do you invest?

With a greater awareness and focus that past practices in treating and releasing patients will need to be revamped, new consideration on non-clinical patient information has become important. In the current approach, the doctor is concerned with the patient in a one-on-one relationship. In the new environment, the interaction with the patient goes beyond the clinic and into non-clinical areas.

What is in the patient’s home environment that supports or does not support healing and wholeness? What external factors are detrimental to a patient’s ideal recovery? These factors have been noted to include social and physical determinants. How does one sort these new factors and determine where to invest?

Value-based healthcare clearly shifts the practice to include more people-side intangible factors—into areas not as comfortable for the medical practitioner. The practice of medicine deals mostly with specifics, not with non-specifics such as feelings and emotions. The new practice of medicine is moving into a full partnership with intangible factors, especially social determinants that affect success of healing and wholeness for a patient.

A 2018 report of data collected from 300,000 Americans identified factors that create healthy living environments. They reported that only twelve factors contributed to 90 percent of the variations in the well-being of people across the country. These factors were related to demographics, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment.

It is clear the welfare of patients is no longer focused in the clinic, but has broadened into a holistic, community enterprise. You have heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child; now it takes a community to help people heal! No doubt this recognition of the broadening healthcare enterprise may be part of the reason 59 percent of health providers find the new healthcare expectations challenging.

As a means to begin to understand how to peel back this onion, we have looked at what options healthcare organizations have in making change. A good place to start is to follow where we currently spend money and use resources and then decide where we need to reallocate funding for the new healthcare needs. So which investments might lead to a more applicable and responsive patient care program?

In every organization, there are seven types of investments available. In the outline below, we view each of the seven investments from the perspective of the current Fee-for-service focus to the Value-based focus. For each investment, we have imagined what change result might be desired. The first five capitals followed with asterisks are people or people-derived investments.Understanding the patients’ demographics as well as well as geography will be important in characterizing diverse subgroups in communities under consideration. Click To Tweet

HUMAN CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Patient is a number
  • Value-based: Patient is a person
  • Change desired: Consider a clinical team focused on what an ideal (people focused) value-based healthcare system could be

RELATIONSHIP CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Transactional: buyer (patient) and Seller (doctor)
  • Value-based: Familial: cooperative solutions, especially post-clinic
  • Change desired: Need to better engage patient in their community; build relationships, understand subgroups

SPIRITUAL CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Formal (culture, satisfaction, norms)
  • Value-based: Informal (family-like: culture, satisfaction, personal, relationships)
  • Change desired: Need a support network for patient: partner and co-fund with community groups for health and wellness; environmental integration

CUSTOMER CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Cordial formal service
  • Value-based: Collegial informal service; partnering together for health
  • Change desired: Need a new mindset to think health and wellness, holistically; see patient in their environment.

ORGANIZATIONAL CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Clinic and equipment support
  • Value-based: Invest to support patient beyond the clinic
  • Change desired: Need to imagine ways to connect/build wellness infrastructure to include community partners and ancillary health groups

PHYSICAL CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Focus on clinical needs and technology
  • Value-based: Invest in post-clinical and discharge needs
  • Change desired: Need to fund ongoing support, such as with out- patient wellness support to include wellness integration aides

FINANCIAL CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Revenue generation first
  • Value-based: Patient satisfaction followed by Revenue generations
  • Change desired: Need to fund ongoing support, such as with an out- patient ‘wellness’ aide

We have previously shown that an investment on either the task or people sides requires an investment on the opposite side to reap optimal ROI.  For example, an investment of new technology requires an investment in people to maximally exploit the technology. Or if one invests in people to do work, look for ways to invest in materials or technology to help people optimally perform. Since 71 percent (five of seven) of the investment opportunities are on people or people-derived assets, investment opportunities are mostly on the intangible, soft side.

Value-based healthcare investments are thus people-side ones. Understanding the patients’ demographics as well as well as geography will be important in characterizing diverse subgroups in communities under consideration. In order to plan for investments, a strategic approach is needed to tactically allocate resources. We believe that what underpins an effective tactical response is knowledge and understanding of situations and challenges on the ground. They directly affect why people get sick but also can expose the environmental factors that will slow their recovery and adversely affect ROI. Proactively responding to complex challenges at the core must fundamentally go beyond traditional 1+1=2 solutions and embrace a broader range of intangibles into the equation. Depending on the desired change result, one invests accordingly. With this mindset, we are certain that the ROI will be better than 1+1=2, and more like 1+1=7!

Gregory T. Reinecke, President, GeoDimensional Decision Group LLC has over three decades of experience delivering powerful value-driven solutions focused on ROI to healthcare, public safety and government agencies. GeoDD creates solutions that help clients manage risk and solve difficult problems, utilizing big data, geography, geospatial engineering, plus social science and demography to reveal new solution possibilities. For more on Gregory T. Reinecke, please visit www.geoddgroup.com.

Three Simple Training Tips to Dramatically Boost Company Performance

By Cordell Riley

Company Perfomance-Cordell RileyMany companies view training as a “nice to have.” They think it is important to create an attractive, engaging training program for new hires, and that it might be good to have a focused course that teaches employees how to perform certain tasks or use certain pieces of company technology. Once those companies cover the bases by offering training in just a few areas like those, they turn the page and start to think about other realities of doing business.

But what if . . .

What if those companies thought about employing training in a larger, more strategic way to improve performance in a wider range of business activities? What, for example, if they stopped to consider that a 10,000 dollars  investment in training could net a 10 percent increase in the sales made by each salesperson, resulting in an additional 10 dollars million in annual sales revenue? What if they stopped to think that a similar investment in training could result in a 10 percent increase in the accuracy of order filling, and would save 1 million dollar a year?

In short, what if companies made the connection between training, performance, and the bottom line?

And what if your company did? You see, training offers you the potential to dramatically increase profits and performance. Here are three tips to get that to happen for you.

1. Start with the End in Mind

Chances are you know where you would like to see improved performance or profits in your organization. But specifically what would those improvements look like? Would there be fewer defective products, better company reviews online, a 15 percent increase in the sales of one of your product lines—specifically, what?

Specific goals begin to emerge when you consider questions like those. They help you define the specific business challenges and goals you need to address. And once you have defined those issues and goals, you can begin to determine if there is training that will assist in reaching them.If you don’t measure and adjust, your training will never deliver the results it is capable of. Click To Tweet

2. Develop an Appropriate Curriculum

Your curriculum should be designed to teach people the skills they need to learn or improve in their specific role. But developing an effective curriculum is a bit more complex than simply defining skills. It should be right for the people in the roles who are performing the tasks and jobs that your training addresses. And it should be designed to have a focused, specific impact on the business items where you are trying to “move the needle” and bring about change.

An appropriate curriculum is also about more than just a list of skills and behaviors. It should consider how those lessons will be delivered—by a live training presenter, on phones or tablets, enlivened with games and exercises, in short “chunks” or longer lessons, for example. Creating an effective curriculum depends on considering who your learners are, where they are, and how they would prefer to learn.

3. Measure Results, then Tweak and Adjust Your Training Accordingly

At this point, you loop back to the decisions you made in the first step, when you started with the end in mind. The difference is that you are now going to develop ways to measure the change you have brought about through training.

You might decide to measure how much more each of your retail salespeople is selling on an average sale, whether fewer of your products are being returned, whether your rates of repeat business are improving, whether your online reviews are more positive, or other hard or soft metrics that tell you how effective your training has been.

Once you are measuring, you can tweak, modify your training, and find ways to improve results. But one thing for certain? If you don’t measure and adjust, your training will never deliver the results it is capable of.

In Summary

Start with the end in mind, develop an appropriate curriculum, then measure results and adjust your training. That is a simple, yet powerful, approach to improve company performance. And you can use it to improve more company performance that you have probably stopped to consider.

Cordell Riley is sought-after keynote speaker, and the Owner and President of Tortal Training, a leading training development company he founded in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tortal uses strategic engagement methodologies and specializes in developing mobile training platforms for organizations with distributed workforces. A recognized training expert with extensive experience in the service, automotive and franchising sectors, Cordell has spent more than twenty years helping thousands of companies achieve outstanding success through training. For more information about Cordell Riley, please visit: www.Tortal.net.

You Want Your Family Business to Last?

Five Tips for Getting There!

By Mitzi Perdue

You may be familiar with the statistic that 70 percent of family businesses don’t make it to the second generation. The big question is: how can you beat these odds?

Family members need to learn some basic cultural attitudes. They need to know that they’re part of something bigger than themselves. They need to know that they can’t always be right. They need to learn that being a member of a family business sometimes requires sacrifice.

The biggest reason that business families fall apart is that the family hasn’t developed the kind of culture that supports keeping the family business in the family. Families that leave this to chance rarely make it to the next generation.

So, how do you create this kind of culture?

1. Know Your Family Stories. We are the stories we tell ourselves, and high-functioning families have heard their family stories over and over again. How much does your extended family know about where the family business came from and what made it what it is today? How much do they understand the sacrifices, efforts and tenacity that went into making family business you have today? Do they know stories about family members putting the good of the family ahead of their own interests? Be intentional about telling these stories. The more stories, legends, myths, and parables, the stronger your family’s culture and the more likely your family business is to endure.

2. Have Family Vacations. Your family vacation could be five people or 100 people, but whether it’s a large group or a small one, having aunts and uncles and cousins spending time together greatly increases the chances of building a family business that lasts. A vacation means time set aside to share experiences and to get to know and appreciate each other and to embed the family’s values. It’s a time for all branches and all generations to build the shared stories and memories that lead to trust and caring. This is especially important if family members are geographically dispersed, because it allows extended members to get to know each other.Family harmony is so important, that anything you can do to nurture it is a wise investment. Click To Tweet

3. Subsidize a family vacation after you’re gone. All too often when the patriarch or matriarch passes on, family members stop seeing each other. Maybe for the first few years they’re together at major holidays, such as Thanksgiving. And later on, maybe they get together for weddings. But gradually, there’s nothing left and family members have superficial relationships—or no relationship at all. A highly effective antidote to this is, leave money in your will to pay for a yearly get-together. Some families subsidize an annual dinner while others pay for a nice vacation. Either way, having an endowed yearly meal or vacation can keep families together across the centuries. Ideally, there’s even money budgeted for baby-sitters and child-friendly activities. ­­Endowed family get-togethers can be a highly-effective tool for helping the family continue across the generations.

4. Write a family newsletter. In a geographically dispersed family, a newsletter can play a huge role in helping the family to maintain a strong and vibrant culture. Include in it interviews with the older family members or employees about the early days and some of the company’s struggles. Maybe interview the matriarch or patriarch on such issues as why it’s good to be public, or why our family should never wash its dirty linen in public, or why it’s a terrible thing to be “addicted to being right.” The newsletter can also help people catch up on family news— maybe someone became an Eagle Scout, got into the college of his or her choice, or got a promotion. It’s also excellent for recording weddings, births, or in the case of an engaged couple, telling the story of how they met. Other topics for your newsletter can include what’s going on in the company, including company milestones. Make it short, ideally no longer than one or two pages. You want people to read it, and unfortunately, there’s an inverse connection between how long it is and how many people will read it. If it’s limited to one page, your family members are more likely to read it when they get it, as opposed to putting it aside for later and then never getting to it.

5. Get help if you need it. Fortunately, there’s a whole new ecosystem of family advisors who can help. There’s no such thing as a family business that doesn’t have conflict, and when there’s a serious family conflict, the pain from it can permeate every hour of every day. Not to mention that it can blow up the whole family, and with it the family business. So just as you’d get medical help if you if you had alarming chest pains, don’t put off getting professional help if a conflict in the family is getting out of hand. If you Google “family business advisors” you’ll get more than 45,000 hits in half of a second. Or if you have a financial advisor, he or she is likely to be able to refer you to a professional trained in family business relationships.

Family harmony is so important, that anything you can do to nurture it is a wise investment. Many families don’t stay intact over the generations. This is likely to happen when a family leaves its culture to chance. The good news is, planning is something you can do, and even better, the implementation can be enjoyable and fulfilling.

Mitzi Perdue is a celebrated speaker, businesswoman, and author of How to Make Your Family Business Last. A cum laude graduate from Harvard University and holder of an MPA from George Washington University, Mitzi draws from her direct experiences in two long-lasting family enterprises to assist businesses in preparing for lifelong success. She is a past president of the 35,000-member American Agri-Women, a former syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard, and the founder of CERES Farms. For more information on Mitzi Perdue, please visit www.MitziPerdue.com.

Eight Elements That Comprise a High Performance Enterprise

By Sue Bingham

Wake Up

It’s no secret that the workforce and the nature of work itself are rapidly changing. Many organizations, particularly large ones, are like an ocean liner that can’t turn on a dime. If an organization is not actively promoting and integrating the following eight elements, that organization is already behind and will experience negative impacts as the workforce shrinks and traditional management practices continue.

The root cause is that traditional management practices and H.R. policies have been created to catch the “bad apple”.  Let’s start with the premise that the vast majority of employees are good people—we might even say 95% fall in this category.  That leaves the small minority of five-percenters or bad apples.  Often this group occupies a much larger percentage of managements’ time and attention.  To try to rid the organization of these people, penalizing and insulting policies are created that often catch good people in their net. When treated the same as a five-percenter, ninety-five percenters feel embarrassed and de-valued.  What’s worse, they create a bureaucratic system that makes it nearly impossible to get rid of those for whom the policies were created.

The following eight elements are common sense and uncomplicated; and, the absence of them will seriously hurt organizations in the near future.

#1—Positive Assumptions about People

Dealing with the five-percent unconsciously taints your assumptions about people.  If leaders have spent time dealing with someone who lies, lays out, does the minimum required and tries to get away with as much as possible, that experience can create a distrust and desire to micromanage and control everyone.  Evidence of these assumptions is seen when there is restricted access to specific areas for certain groups; doors, cabinets and tool cribs are locked; managers accept performance minimums vs. maximums; information is guarded; and self-management is a distant concept.  It becomes irrational for employees to feel like valued adults and in return, the organization receives compliance, a lack of passion and a check the box performance.

Leading with positive assumptions about the quality and integrity of the majority of the workforce promotes pride, passion and accountability.It’s valuing employees and doing the right thing that leads to exceptional performance. Click To Tweet

#2—Identification and Elimination of Negatives

A negative is defined as “anything that minimizes vs. maximizes a person’s feeling of VALUE to the organization”.  Many of these are almost invisible to the people who have the power to eliminate them.  Examples include:  free water or coffee in some areas and not in others, reserved parking for executives, punitive policies that apply to one group of employees but not another, differences in holiday and vacation schedules, late performance appraisals and wage increases, etc.

Most of these negatives are easy to eliminate.  Leaders only need to put themselves in the shoes of their hourly-paid employees to see and feel them—and then get rid of them.

#3—Mutual Trust and Respect

Major headway in creating an environment of mutual trust and respect can be achieved by doing the first two elements.  And, if a company wants to be able to unlock supplies and equipment and treat people as responsible adults, there must be recognition that there will probably be some theft and deceit until the five-percenters are gone. However, it will be worth it to have created a high trust environment for the rest of the workforce.  In addition, create the standard that trust is a required attribute in order to receive a job offer.  Clearly communicate trust as a core value and treat any violation of trust as a dischargeable offense.

#4—Open, Two-Way, Adult-to-Adult Communication

In essence, share information, be open, and avoid secrets.  Speak to everyone at every level as you would a neighbor you like.  Remember that people, regardless of the type of work they perform, have the same desire for involvement and respect as managers and senior leaders do.

#5—Employee Engagement

Visionary experts in areas of organizational development predict the end of hierarchies—at least as you know them today. If it can be agreed that the people doing the jobs are the ones who know the jobs the best, why aren’t leaders empowering employees to solve problems and create continuous improvement in every organization?

#6—Training

A company’s investment in training reflects its value for people and a clear belief that good people only get better and produce greater results with an investment in their development.  Manufacturing companies often have a substantial budget for preventative maintenance on equipment, but limit (or even reduce if revenue is low) the necessary dollars for maintaining each person’s potential capacity.

#7—Competitive Wages and Benefits

In a high performance culture, the objective is to make wages and benefits a “non-issue”.  If people are challenged, valued and fairly compensated, they are reluctant to take another job for more money.  Fairness is perceived and achieved by regularly checking the market value for all jobs and paying competitively (meaning around and often somewhat above the market midpoint), sharing the survey data if someone is interested and being transparent about ranges and the compensation structure.  If a company is providing competitive pay and benefits, there shouldn’t be any mystery around this topic.

#8—High Expectations

Many leaders will admit that they have employees who are only doing the “minimum”.  In most traditional companies, job descriptions are specific with regard to the tasks to be performed.  Instead, write job profiles that set high expectations for the results versus the tasks involved.  And replace that common phrase at the bottom of those descriptions that says, “All other duties as assigned” with “Proactively support the team and company in achieving its objectives”.  Now the person who just waits to be told what to do is no longer meeting the minimum.

When leaders don’t set high expectations, they shouldn’t be surprised when average results are achieved.  Further, high expectations give people a purpose for their work along especially when their leaders’ believe they will be successful.

Start Now

There are many applications under each of these elements that convert the words to tangible actions and practices.  If any of these eight elements is missing within an organization, it’s time to take action.

It’s valuing employees and doing the right thing that leads to exceptional performance.  It really isn’t complicated.

Sue Bingham is the founder of the HPWP Group, a master coach, speaker, and author of the forthcoming book, Creating The High Performance Work Place: It’s Not Complicated to Develop a Culture of Commitment. At the forefront of the positive business movement, Sue supports leaders as they achieve their vision of success, and designs common-sense systems that make people and organizations more effective. For more information about Sue Bingham, please visit: www.HPWPGroup.com.