Ch-Ch-Ch Changes: Endings & New Beginnings by Consultant Bob Cooper

Managing Change by Bob Cooper

As we pass Labor Day I find myself thinking about the transition from summer to fall, even though the fall season doesn’t officially begin for a few more weeks. It seems as if the pace starts to pick up again. Vacations come to an end, students return to school, and business tends to accelerate.

Change is a constant. Why do some people embrace change and others struggle?

After all, we know that the seasons change, one ends and a new one begins. In business, projects come to an end, and new ones begin. Changes in expectations, new technologies, increased competition, reduced margins are just a few examples of the changes businesses face today.

As a leader, it is very important that you take a good look in the mirror and reflect on how you embrace change.  As a model for others, you set the tone for how your team will be able to demonstrate resilience when facing the business headwinds.

In order for you to assist others to move through the changing seasons, you need to understand what happens to others when facing change. Change is external to the individual. A new boss, revised policy, or a new role become understood once explained to staff.  However, individuals react to changes differently.  The reason for this is some team members psychologically struggle to come to terms with the change.  They find it difficult to make the internal transition.  In my experience, the number one reason for this is fear. Perhaps they are not confident in their ability to deliver on the change.  They may be hesitant to take a risk due to a fear of failure. They don’t feel as safe or secure.

Questions you should ask yourself during times of change.

What do my team members need to let go of?

What do they feel they are losing?

Transitions require endings. Great leaders understand that certain changes have a big impact on individuals. Some individual’s self-esteem is tied to the old process. They may have felt an enormous sense of pride in what they had accomplished.  Great leaders effectively assist others to work through these endings, and become comfortable with transition.

The following are a few suggestions to assist others through change and transition:

  1. Explain what is changing and why it is changing. Let others know what is not changing.
  2. Allow staff to express concern, and show empathy for anyone struggling to embrace the change. Be tolerant of mistakes. Mentor others to turn mistakes into opportunities for learning and growth.
  3. Maintain ongoing two-way communication throughout the change process.
  4. Engage others in making the change work.  Listen to staff ideas and incorporate suggestions that are beneficial for the business.
  5. Be positive and promote a feeling of optimism.

Great leaders assist team members to come to terms with their endings, and work hard to help others to find new beginnings. Things will not be the same, but as a leader you can help staff to develop the competence and confidence to move forward.

You will be able to assist most team members to move through the changing seasons and find comfort in new beginnings, if you move through the transition yourself.  If you are stuck in the summer, as we embark on the fall, how can you expect your team to turn the page?

Great leaders treat each and every team member as a unique individual who experiences change in their own way. Without judgment, great leaders meet staff wherever they need to be met.  Some staff become the champions of certain changes, and others need a lot more attention.

One of the most important lessons in leadership (and in life) is to treat every person you meet with total respect regardless of how they deal with the seasons of change. Not everyone can be the “A” student, but they all deserve to be in the classroom.  An individual may ultimately need to leave the room, but this should be handled with complete respect, understanding and compassion.

Bob Cooper: We are very pleased to announce that in collaboration with Consulting For A Cause, we will be providing another one day “Discovery Session” on Thursday, October 17 in Chappaqua, NY.  You will be provided with the opportunity to capture in your personal journal the following – how to turn talents into sustainable strengths, lead a life with purpose and passion, achieve quantum leaps in performance, brand yourself for future success, achieve a sense of work-life balance, and how to effectively execute your business strategies. Space is limited. To register, please go towww.consultingforacause.com

For a complete listing of our services, including our books “Huddle Up”, “Leadership Tips to Enhance Staff Satisfaction and Retention”, and “Heart and Soul in the Boardroom” please visit us at www.rlcooperassoc.com or call (845) 639-1741.

Bowie Photo Credit: Tim Yates via Compfightcc

If you would like to receive Manage My Practice article updates via email, click here to subscribe.

Guest Author Bob Cooper “Balancing Two Sides of Work”

Balancing Two Sides of BusinessI would like you to think about a great boss or mentor you had sometime in your career. What made them great? When I ask this question to seminar participants or during an executive coaching session I get responses such as “Gives me excellent ongoing feedback”, “Has a vision and knows how to execute the strategy”, “Builds an excellent and supportive team”, “Took the time to teach me the business”, and “Is supportive, respectful and compassionate.”

As you look at the above responses, what comes to mind? In asking this question to hundreds of people in many settings it has led me to one conclusion – great leaders know how to drive business results, and inspire others to want to follow.

When teaching service excellence workshops I often discuss the two-sided service coin. One side represents the “technical” side of service, the other the “human” side. The technical side of service represents the day to day responsibilities of one’s job (e.g. assisting customers, completing reports, etc.). The human side involves building the relationship with all internal and external customers (e.g. acknowledging the customer, following-through on customer commitments, demonstrating kindness and respect, etc.)

Great organizations recognize that everyone needs to pay close attention to both the technical and human sides of the customer experience. So what does this have to do with leadership. In short – everything!

If you develop a sound business strategy, but fail to build the human experience, bad things can and will happen. Think about the restaurant which serves outstanding food, but delivers poor service. Will you return? I suspect you probably will not. Top performers will leave your organization if you fail to treat them with complete and total respect. Increased turnover means increased costs to your business. Performance and morale will suffer, and trust can erode.

The following are suggestions for all leaders to develop a culture that addresses both sides of the coin:

1) Look in the Mirror – Do you effectively balance the coin? If you focus only on the day to day technical side of the business, and fail to address the human side, you may fall short. For example, if you are running a meeting and do not engage others through effective collaboration, you may not attain true consensus. The group might not achieve the best decision for the business, and some team members might feel that you do not value them or their ideas. If you walk by the receptionist and do not say good morning, how might he or she feel? Acknowledging others and showing respect helps to keep your team’s head in the game. The last thing we want is a receptionist who feels under appreciated. After all, who makes the first impression for the business?

2) Teach Business Strategy & Customer Relations Skills – Starting with senior leadership, every executive must be on the same page relative to business strategy. If we are going left, everyone should know why we are going left and how this compares to our competitors, and grows market share. Every executive must model excellent interpersonal skills by showing respect at all times, thanking others for their contributions, acknowledging everyone they meet throughout the day (this means everyone – no exceptions). Great leaders also take the time to engage other members of their team in strategy development, and mentor others to think strategically. They see themselves as mentors, and take great pride in helping others to learn and grow. They are also patient with team members, recognizing that every individual is unique and learns differently. They turn mistakes into opportunities for learning and growth.

3) Lead with Your Heart – In writing “Heart and Soul in the Boardroom” – my objective was to get current and future leaders to test their assumptions about leadership. My goal is to create a dialogue about this most important issue – leaders who lead with integrity and compassion are models of excellence. Doing the small things such as showing a member of your staff that you are concerned about their sick spouse or their career aspirations forms a powerful bond. This facilitates the building of trust and mutual understanding. Your people want to know you care. They want to know that the project they just handed to you is as important as their personal struggle.

You see – we bring both our hearts and our minds to work every day. People don’t lock their hearts up in the car before they walk in the door. Authentic work cultures have individuals working hard to achieve excellence, and at the same time show caring toward their fellow colleagues.

The best leaders I have worked with understand this topic very well. They are the individuals who were my greatest mentors. People like Bill, Susan, Warren, and a few others whom I have discussed over many years with you. It’s been a long time since I have seen any of them, but I remember them like it was yesterday. The reason why I have such fond memories is because they were brilliant business people who achieved excellent results, and most important, they were and are great people!

I ask that you commit to balancing the two-sided coin. Bring your “A” game when it comes to leading the business and building outstanding business relationships. You will achieve great business results, and you will have a lasting impression on your most important asset – your loyal followers.

For a complete listing of our services, please visit us at www.rlcooperassoc.com or call (845) 639-1741.

RL Cooper Associates’ book Heart and Soul in the Boardroom outlines suggestions for leaders to develop highly respectful and ethical work cultures and is available in the Manage My Practice Store. For additional information about their services, please visit www.rlcooperassoc.com.

Bob Cooper on Giving Thanks as a Manager

During the holiday season we are reminded to give thanks and extend our best wishes to family, friends, and colleagues.  It’s a time to step back and reflect upon the accomplishments achieved in collaboration with your team, and feel a sense of gratitude for what you have.

Do you take the time to acknowledge the contributions of others? Do you have a full appreciation for the importance of giving praise?

Thanksgiving Dinner


Many years ago I had an eye opening meeting with an engineering director named Pete.  The purpose of the meeting was to update Pete on the progress of my work with several members of his team.  I facilitated a process improvement initiative that ended up saving the company over one hundred thousand dollars. In spite of this outcome, the group had very low morale. One day I stopped one of our meetings and asked the team why they were so upset. They said “Pete doesn’t value us.” I asked “Why do you feel this way?” Their response was “He never shows appreciation for our work.”  I shared this story with Pete in an attempt to provide him with a valuable insight.  His response was “I don’t need to tell them how much I value them, they are engineers and should know how well they are doing.”  I said “Pete, everyone wants to be appreciated.  It’s not based on one’s position or degree. You need to express to your team how much you value them.”

To this day, I can still see Pete struggling to understand the importance of giving thanks.

The following are a few suggestions for leaders regarding expressing thanks:

  1.  Make it a priority to catch people doing things right, and let them know the importance of their work.  For example, if you see a staff member going the extra mile to serve a customer, express thanks. If you see a member of your team assisting a colleague with a difficult issue, give thanks.
  2. As you walk around ask others for feedback.  Ask staff to let you know about co-workers either within your department or from another section who did something special for them or a customer.  Take the time to let the individual deserving of the praise know how grateful you are for their efforts. It’s important to celebrate successes.
  3. In staff meetings, acknowledge the team for achieving certain goals, and praise examples of excellence.  Give each team member the opportunity to express thanks to a colleague for any support provided that they appreciate. This builds a sense of team and keeps the meeting positive.
  4. Thank a staff member who brings a mistake to you, and accepts full accountability for the error, and has a plan to fix the problem.  You might be thinking – why should I praise someone who is bringing me a mistake? If you criticize mistakes, you create a fear based environment, and thus, people might look to cover up the mistake. Of course, you are not praising a mistake, but rather acknowledging the individuals integrity.
  5. Engage staff in brainstorming ideas to improve departmental performance, and give thanks for their input.  You are encouraging creativity and innovation, and must not criticize an idea.  After the brainstorming is completed, you can take the time to engage the team in clarifying and prioritizing ideas.  What’s important to remember as a leader is this – if you judge every idea as either “good” or “bad”, how do you think the person who offered a “bad” idea is going to feel?  Every idea needs to be given fair consideration with an objective assessment relative to its potential impact on achieving a positive outcome.

What do you believe is more important – a good strategy or a highly engaged and motivated group of people? They are both very important. However, if you and your competitors have similar strategies, the organization that has done a better job of engaging both the hearts and minds of its employees will always win. Highly engaged and motivated employees will assist you to develop sound strategies, and help to revise strategies as required to maintain a competitive advantage. They will want to do everything possible to help you win.

One of your most important jobs is to let your team know how much you value them. They want to know you care.  They want to know that you do not take them for granted.  They want to know that you see them as unique individuals with unique talents. They want to know that you see their potential, and will do everything possible to assist them to reach their full potential.

Great leaders know that their employees are, and always will be, their most important asset. They want to know that you care about their careers and will serve as a trusted mentor focusing on their success.

I have emphasized this in many previous tips – you must serve your staff. If you serve them well, they will produce outstanding results. You help to remove barriers and provide the tools needed for success.

I encourage you throughout this holiday season and into the future to take the time to let your staff know how much you value them.

I have one more thing to add.  What makes this all work is not just giving praise, but really meaning it. If you fake it, you can cause more damage. When others know you really mean it – you will have loyal followers prepared to leave your competition in the dust.

RL Cooper Associates’ book Heart and Soul in the Boardroom outlines suggestions for leaders to develop highly respectful and ethical work cultures and is available in the Manage My Practice Store. For additional information about their services, please visit www.rlcooperassoc.com.

Bob Cooper, President
RL Cooper Associates
(845) 639-1741
Innovations in Organizational Management

Bob Cooper Asks: Did You Watch the Presidential Debates Looking for Authentic Communication?

Authentic CommunicationWe recently had the opportunity to observe three Presidential debates. Undecided voters watched the responses from both President Obama and Governor Romney to determine who they would like to vote for.  Some people were interested in learning more about each candidate’s policies on important issues. Others observed the poise shown when faced with the tough questions.  In the final analysis, most individuals want to vote for someone they believe in.I  In the final analysis, most individuals want to vote for someone they believe in. They want to develop a sense of trust. They want to believe.

In business, others will only “want” to follow if they believe that you truly have their best interests at heart.  They want to know that you are moving the organization in the right direction. They wish to have the opportunity to be part of the solution. It’s up to you to convince them that they should believe in the message, and most important – they must believe in you.

The following are a few suggestions to communicate with authenticity:

1) Speak From Your Heart – If you only communicate on an intellectual level (for example – give lots of statistics, show many slides, etc.) you have missed the point. You must show passion for your message, and let everyone know that this comes from your core beliefs and values.  If you are scripted and robotic, others will not believe the message. You must be genuine. You must be real.

2) Focus On Others – Being seen as authentic involves having others recognize that you understand their pain.  You understand their passions.  You understand their wants and needs.  You will connect with others when they know that you care about them.  If they don’t believe you, the message will get lost.  In this Presidential election, one key issue is the unemployment rate which has been over 8% for a long time.  From a leadership perspective, the communication can’t simply be about whose policies will bring that rate down.  Part of the assessment being made by the American people is who do they believe really cares enough to make this happen – who understands and really cares about their pain.

3) Demonstrate Consistency – Not everyone will agree with every decision you make.  They will evaluate you relative to how consistent you are in your decision making process.  Do you communicate one message to one audience and another message to others?  Do you change your message to get buy-in, only to have your track record appear inconsistent? As author Tom Peters says – “There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.”

4) Be On Purpose – Do you know your purpose? Your purpose goes beyond just the achievement of specific business metrics.  It has more to do with your legacy. It involves the impact you have had on others.  A big part of authentic communication involves having other people understand your purpose, and know that it involves their well being.  In evaluating who we want to be President – some people are interested in each candidate’s motive.  Why do they want to be President? Is it for the power and prestige, or is it to make our lives better?  People do not want to follow others whose focus involves only their self interest (and believe me, most people can recognize the truth). They want to know that you are committed to making the world (or your organization) a better place for all. They want to know that they are included in the process, and that their voice matters.

5) Exhibit Confidence – Not only must you communicate with self-confidence and conviction, you must show confidence in others.  People want to know that you believe in them.  They want your communication to involve them.  They want you to capture their hearts.

Here’s a simple test that I would like you to think about.  If I were to ask each member of your team individually – would they like to go to lunch with you, how would they answer? If they were to say no, why not? If they believe in you, know that you care about them, why would they say no? I have often heard commentators on television discuss that some people ask the same question when deciding who to vote for President.  So, why do you think this is important? If someone can’t stand to go to lunch with you (or the President), are they really listening to the message? Authentic communication often takes place over a cup of coffee, where it’s just the two of you.

Great leaders know that authentic communication is felt in the heart, and everyone knows that they care.  They know that you have earned the right to be heard, not because of your title, but because of the depth of your character. If you communicate with integrity and authenticity, and let everyone know that their needs matter most – you will have loyal followers. If not, you might just lose the election.

RL Cooper Associates’ book Heart and Soul in the Boardroom outlines suggestions for leaders to develop highly respectful and ethical work cultures and is available in the Manage My Practice Store. For additional information about their services, please visit www.rlcooperassoc.com.

Bob Cooper, President
RL Cooper Associates
(845) 639-1741
Innovations in Organizational Management

Introducing Two New Products Now Available in Our Store: The Smart Manager’s Webcourse “Creating a Credit Card on File Program” and Bob Cooper’s “Heart and Soul in the Boardroom”!

We are very excited today to announce two new products available for purchase in the Manage My Practice store!

We have had a lot of requests for the recorded version of our Webcourse – Creating a Credit Card on File Program in Your Practice, and we are excited to say that it is now available! For $29.95 you will receive the 60 minute video recording of the course, as well as the course slide deck, and the action pack of handouts to get you started on the program including:

  1. Worksheet for Credit Card on File Program Return on Investment
  2. Staff Script & Role Playing Suggestions for Staff Training
  3. Sample Security Policy to Comply With PCI Guidelines
  4. Credit Card on File Program Timeline Worksheet
  5. Credit Card Program Comparison Worksheet
  6. Patient Handout #1: Information About Our Credit Card on File Program & Discontinuation of Statements
  7. Patient Handout #2: What is a Deductible and How Does It Affect Me?

Check out the Webcourse!

We are also very excited to be adding a second book to our store: Heart and Soul in the Boardroom by Bob Cooper. We have been thrilled to reprint some of Bob’s great posts about leadership, and are now honored to sell his book. Heart and Soul in the Boardroom is a book that champions honesty, authenticity, and a management style based on a real assessment of success – both in the workplace, and in the workplace’s relationship to your life.

Heart and Soul in the Boardroom by Robert L. Cooper

Get Bob’s Book for $14.50 plus 2.95 shipping and handling. And if you are buying for a group (or department, or your staff!) Bob will ship them free with the purchase of three or more!

Check out Bob Cooper’s Book!

Guest Author and Consultant Bob Cooper: Respecting All Team Contributions

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 18:  A detail of a referee h...

The NCAA basketball final game is now set.  Kentucky and Kansas will meet on Monday evening to determine who will be the national champion.  What is so fascinating is to watch how different players contribute in key situations that make the difference in the ultimate outcome.

Like sports, business is about recognizing the contributions of every team member toward the common goal – to win. In sports, it’s all about winning the game. In business, it’s about executing on business strategies and providing value-added  products and services for our customers. We must maintain profitability (another way to view winning), and the question remains – how do we win? Winning in business has a clear similarity to sports – the players on the court (or dealing directly with your customers), are the ones who ultimately determine the final score. The coach develops strategy (and hopefully allows for input from the team), but the players must execute.

Do you value every member of your team?

Do you believe that every employee plays an important role in the organization’s success?

These are very important questions to reflect on. Enlightened leaders know that every employee is critical to success. The customer’s first encounter with your organization may be with a receptionist at the front desk, a security guard, or a telephone operator. We all know the importance of acknowledging the customer. We also know that you never get a second chance at a first impression.

Imagine an environment where the receptionist, security guard, or telephone operator are not given respect.  What if they are not engaged in the process of offering ideas to make the customer’s experience an even better one? What if they are made to feel like the last player on the bench who has little to do with team success?

The following are a few suggestions that demonstrate respect for every team member:

1) Acknowledge Team Members – Take the time to walk around and thank individuals for their contributions. Connect with individuals in a sincere way that demonstrates that you value them, and want the best for them. If you have 1,000 employees, then you will need to do a lot of walking – it’s well worth it.

2) Give Credit to Team Members – If you achieve great results, let team members recognize that “winning” took the efforts of every employee. Employees respect leaders who are comfortable acknowledging that the game is won or lost by those on the front lines.

3) Express Sincere Gratitude – I always enjoy watching a coach after winning a big game say – “I am so proud of the team and grateful to have such great players.”

 4) Respect Individuality – Learn about each individual’s strengths, and continue to build on those strengths. Don’t dwell on weaknesses, but help team members to use their strengths to achieve positive team results. We are all unique individuals with strengths, aspirations, and internal motivators. Great leaders take the time to really understand each team member and create an environment for the intrinsic motivation to flourish. They are committed to each team member’s continued growth and development. They care about every team member, and see them as a unique person contributing to team success.

 5) Model Respect – This is extremely critical. Every team member must see their leader treating every internal and external customer with total respect. Say “good morning”, “how can I help you”, “thank you”, “what’s your opinion on the best way to handle this issue”?, etc.

 Great leaders know that others are watching everything they say and do.

If you try to fool others into believing you care about them and their needs, and really don’t, you are only fooling yourself. Great organizations that build and sustain value in the long run are built by leaders who authentically engage the hearts and minds of their great employees.

If you follow the above suggestions, and really mean it – you will always be a winner. It might not be a national championship, but you will develop the foundation for greatness.

Our new program “Essentials of Leadership” prepares leaders at all levels to accomplish excellent business results in a highly engaged, energized, and motivating environment.  We tailor the sessions to specific client needs. Topics such as Transformational Leadership, Building Emotional Intelligence, Staff Engagement Strategies, Leadership Rounding, Developing a Culture of Execution, Leading During Times of Change and Transition, and much more are covered. For additional information on our services, including our acclaimed Organizational Huddle (TM) model, please visit us at www.rlcooperassoc.com

Bob Cooper, President
RL Cooper Associates
(845) 639-1741
Innovations in Organizational Management

Getty Images via @daylife
Enhanced by Zemanta

Guest Author Bob Cooper: Leading with Emotional Intelligence WILL Drive Bottom-Line Results

Rotten Pumpkins

Image by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

In the book “Primal Leadership ”“ Realizing The Power Of Emotional Intelligence”, the authors Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee discuss the importance of both personal competence (how we manage ourselves), and social competence (how we manage relationships), relative to achieving long-term success. Personal competence involves both self-awareness and self-management. Social competence deals with social awareness and relationship management.

Many people reading this may be wondering how these concepts link to business success. What does this have to do with achieving a positive bottom-line? Aren’t these the “soft skills” that are nice to have, but not essential to build profitability?

I recognize that many people want good hard data to back up the idea that leading with emotional intelligence is critical to build and sustain a business. Rather than present you with productivity and turnover data, employee satisfaction statistics, etc. I ask that you reflect on the following questions and come up with your own conclusion:

1.    What happens when a leader yells and bangs the table when something goes wrong? What impact does this have on others? Who wants to do business with them?
2.    What happens when a top performer is taken for granted, and not sincerely acknowledged?
3.    What happens when a member of your team is going through a difficult personal situation and you don’t take the time to listen and show empathy?
4.    What happens when a leader says his/her employees are the most important asset, but rarely shows it?
5.    What happens when the boss asks a direct report to get him/her a cup of coffee and never reciprocates?
6.    What happens when a leader does not build team unity, but allows conflict amongst team members to grow?
7.    What happens when a leader fails to build the competence and confidence of team members?
8.    What happens when the leader is not aware of his/her strengths and limitations?
9.    What happens when the leader is not able to handle adversity and change?
10.    What happens when the leader is not transparent in communications, giving
others the feeling that the truth is being withheld?

The following are a few suggestions to enhance your emotional intelligence:

1.    Keep disruptive emotions and impulses under control.
2.    Show all employees that you value their contributions and respect them as individuals. Find ways to recognize and reward outstanding performance.
3.    Pay attention to other’s emotions, understand their perspective, and show an interest in helping them whenever possible.
4.    Recognize and meet other’s needs ”“ be willing to serve them.
5.    Model what it means to be a good team player.  Develop team standards and hold yourself and others accountable for “living” these behaviors.
6.    Know your strengths and limits, and surround yourself with individuals with complimentary strengths. Great leaders know they are only as good as the team they surround themselves with.
7.    Develop team members by giving honest and timely feedback, and offering guidance to help them to reach their full potential.
8.    Demonstrate the ability to be flexible in handling changing situations. Help others to work with you to overcome obstacles, and move in a new direction when necessary.
9.    Display transparency through communications and behaviors that demonstrate honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness.
10.    Be optimistic, and help others to see both organizational and individual potential.

These are just a few issues to reflect on. These are important to employees, especially top performers. When I am asked about what I believe to be an acceptable turnover rate I always answer, “It depends on who’s leaving, and why they are leaving.”

If you truly believe that employees make the difference, then you will want to make sure that all the above questions are addressed in a positive way.

The price an organization pays when it loses the heart and soul of its employees is beyond measure. Leaders who don’t take these questions seriously, and violate the underlying principles, will lose their followers.  Without followers, no real leadership exists.  Without followers, your business becomes a house of cards ”“ ready to crumble. It’s only a matter of time before you see an erosion of market share. If your competitors embrace these principles, and thus have loyal followers, they will deliver exceptional service, and develop more innovative products and services. I have witnessed CEOs and other executives removed because of a lack of emotional intelligence.

Creativity and innovation are unleashed by leaders who demonstrate high integrity, compassion, and show they truly care about their employees.

Leading with emotional intelligence makes good business sense. It is not a “soft skill” it’s the real truth.

Bob Cooper is the founder and president of RL Cooper Associates, an innovative healthcare organizational and management consulting firm. With over twenty-five years experience in people and organizational development, Mr. Cooper’s focus is placed on identifying strategies that maximize organizational effectiveness and fundamental transformation by enabling individuals and groups to reach their full potential.  In addition to “Heart and Soul in the Boardroom”, Mr. Cooper is the author of “Huddle Up ”“ Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Service Excellence”, and “Leadership Tips To Enhance Staff Satisfaction and Retention.” Mr. Cooper holds an MS in Human Resource Management and a BA in Economics. He is also a member of Strathmore’s Who’s Who.  Bob can be contacted at rlcooperassoc@aol.com.

Interview With Bob Cooper: Bringing Heart and Soul into Healthcare Boardrooms

Bob Cooper and I connected on LinkedIn when he responded to a question in a way that I thought was quite different from all the other answers.  That inspired me to view his profile, see his book and contact him about answering some questions about his book for MMP readers.

1. How did you get started working in the healthcare field?

I was recruited by an executive search firm to work for an academic medical center in the fields of Human Resources and Organizational Development.

2. How much of your business is in the healthcare market?

Approximately 80% of my clients are in the healthcare field.

3. What are the types of issues you are called upon to help resolve for healthcare clients?

I am frequently called upon to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration on patient care units and other departments using my Organizational Huddle Process„¢, improve patient satisfaction, enhance staff satisfaction and retention, develop leadership competency, executive coaching, and strategic planning.

4. What is the most common issue you see healthcare entities struggling with?

The most common issue I see healthcare entities struggling with is maintaining effective staffing ratios in an environment of shrinking reimbursements.

5. If you use your crystal ball, what types of issues do you see healthcare entities facing with the full impact of healthcare reform hitting in 2014?

The greatest issue I see is how to effectively run the business during a time of great uncertainty. Healthcare leaders will need to be great change agents. They will need to engage staff at all levels to understand and embrace the changes as they evolve, and incorporate recommended strategies that will continue to grow the business. Healthcare organizations will need to stick with business strategies that are viable, and know when to get out of businesses that are not going to be profitable.

6. You say your new book “Heart and Soul in the Boardroom” helps leaders to inspire employees to new heights of engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.  We know that healthcare employees (providers, administration, nurses, clerical staff) are all struggling with burnout, change, and economic issues. Give us advice on leading employees in a very difficult time in healthcare,

My advice is to engage staff in running the business, show concern for their career aspirations and development, and work hard to serve their needs. It’s true that many people are working harder to just keep up with the pace of change. Our job as leaders is to show every member of our team how much we truly value them ”“ and really mean it!

7. What is the secret to managers taking care of themselves when they are responsible for keeping the business going, keeping the physicians happy, keeping the staff happy and keeping the patients happy?

Managers must seek to keep themselves happy. This means that they find joy and meaning in their work. Learn to appreciate every interaction with every internal and external customer. For example, find joy in looking at the smile on an employee’s face after you give a sincere compliment. Find happiness in everything you do, including drinking your favorite cup of coffee. Say good morning and thank you to all. Show concern for everyone you deal with. And perhaps the most important thing you could do is to learn to detach. This means that you give everything you have to achieve a positive outcome, but you also recognize that you do not “control” the outcome. Be grateful for what you have ”“ make a gratitude list every day.

8. You and I talked about living an authentic and integrated life.  What does that mean to you and how can managers achieve this?

An authentic and integrated life means that you live your values everyday, and at all times. You understand that who you are at work is no different from who you are outside of work. Your values should come from a place of service, always exhibiting behaviors that are kind and considerate to others. You “brand” yourself as someone who is consistent, reliable, and everyone knows what you stand for at all times. Others know that your intentions are pure and good.

9. When can we expect your next book and what will it be about?

Heart and Soul in the Boardroom is my third book, and I don’t know when I will write my next one. What I can say for sure is this ”“ the next book will be a result of my being inspired to be of service others.

Bob Cooper is the founder and president of RL Cooper Associates, an innovative healthcare organizational and management consulting firm. With over twenty-five years experience in people and organizational development, Mr. Cooper’s focus is placed on identifying strategies that maximize organizational effectiveness and fundamental transformation by enabling individuals and groups to reach their full potential.  In addition to “Heart and Soul in the Boardroom”, Mr. Cooper is the author of “Huddle Up ”“ Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Service Excellence”, and “Leadership Tips To Enhance Staff Satisfaction and Retention.” Mr. Cooper holds an MS in Human Resource Management and a BA in Economics. He is also a member of Strathmore’s Who’s Who.  Bob can be contacted at rlcooperassoc@aol.com.