Do You Mind Mindfulness?

A story in our local on-line paper highlighted a new yoga studio that has integrated a formal mindfulness element to their program and details how the program is changing their student’s lives. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will be bringing Dr. Barry Kurzin back to town next month. Dr. Kurzin is a Buddhist Monk and is the personal physician to the Dalai Lama. He will be meeting and talking with nurses about burnout. UPMC’s Chief Nursing Officer, Holly Lorenz, hopes that the practice of mindfulness will become an essential and vital skill for her nursing corps. I’ve been doing mindfulness and mediation practice for years and I know it helps. It provides me a few minutes to quiet myself Read More

2018 Election: Next Steps

In preparation for the election yesterday, I had dinner with a friend who is on the opposite end of the political spectrum. We had such a good time. I listened to her. She listened to me. We didn’t interrupt each other…. Too much. I was surprised by some of her points of view and I expect she was surprised by some of my points of view; especially when we acknowledged that we could understand each other’s perspectives. After dinner she told me that she wasn’t able to talk to any of her other friends about her political positions, as they would get mad and angry with her. She told me that she appreciated our being able to talk about these Read More

Our Turn

It’s been a difficult week in Pittsburgh. The horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday has tested the steely resolve of this City and all of her inhabitants, Sheila and I included. I’ve told myself that it is just like the other tragedies that Las Vegas, Orlando, Parkland, Sandy Hook (and unfortunately others) experienced. Even though I am Jewish and this happened in my community, I saw this event as just another in the long string of what has become ridiculously normal for our country. I was wrong. When you know exactly where the building is located, know people who had their Bar or Bat Mitzvah in that sanctuary, have your own remembrances of religious experiences, and Read More

Burnout 2: Sales Men and Women

Last week’s RW on Physician and Nurse Burnout provided quite a bit of interest from several physician colleagues and other health care professionals. I was surprised, however, to hear from folks in other fields who felt their burnout levels were pretty high, although they all acknowledged that medical professional’s concerns took it to a higher level. Among the most vocal were sales professionals. They pointed out that their challenge to deliver is a daily battle that cannot be won but only played. “Delivered a big deal; Great, now what?” Like other successful professionals, burnout in the sales industry is a common problem and research from DePaul University showed that there is a 26% turnover rate for sales teams at an Read More

Concern, Aggravation, Grievance: Don’t Do This to Your Customers

I’m attending a high-end conference event at one of America’s finest resort hotels and if I shared the name of this property, most everyone would identify it as a place with a reputation for impeccable customer service. That is what I thought too, but a funny thing happened the other day. My room didn’t get cleaned the entire day. I was a bit surprised when I came back to my room for a little rest over lunch to find that the room hadn’t been made up. Understandable, but a bit concerning given the fact that the Hotel was not that crowded. I came back at 4 PM…still no service. Now, I was a bit aggravated and called the front desk. Read More

Physician and Nurse Burnout

I’ve been working with healthcare professionals for the past 30 years and when I talk to my healthcare colleagues, I hear the same things I’ve heard for all those years. “Healthcare is really crazy right now.” The truth is that healthcare professionals are smart, highly dedicated, and hard working. The challenge for them is all about the shifting business requirements and expectations that have happened as healthcare has become industrialized. A recent study in the Harvard Business Review, discussing physical and nurse burnout, pointed to two factors that contribute to whether or not a health care professional experience this phenomenon. The first is referred to as “activation” which is what motivates a physician or nurse to find their work meaningful. Read More

Leadership Endurance

I was scheduled to meet with the CEO of a billion dollar company last month when he sent me an email explaining that he had to cancel our meeting. He was overwhelmed with budget and operational issues and was not in a place where he could talk about his own leadership style. I suggested to him that he not worry about our meeting right now and that his emphasis was absolutely on the mark. After all, making sure that 2019 budgets were completed should be his highest priority. He appreciated my understanding and I know he was pleased that I affirmed the correctness of his decision. When we do get together, I want to share with him some of the Read More

The Problems of Democracy

It probably won’t surprise anyone to find out that in a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 57% of Americans reported that they were stressed by our current political landscape. Last week must have seen that number skyrocket. If you are an involved citizen, there is no way to avoid being concerned about all that is swirling about us. It’s more than politics, however. It is about your patriotism and belief in the values of our country. After all, as John Dewey once said, “the answer to the problems of democracy is more democracy.” That probably means more stress for all of us. In the Resilience Advantage, my co-author Alan Weiss and I write that stress is unavoidable and Read More

Why Complaining is Important For Workplace Success

I was having lunch with the CEO of a mid size company last week and he was telling me how stressful the workplace is for his team. Among the many challenges they have, perhaps the greatest is meeting the financial and operational demands put upon them by their venture funders. I asked him how he addresses the stress on the team and he told me that when he brings it up, he finds that it usually transitions into “complaining”. He knows that his team’s concerns are legitimate but he doesn’t see how he would be able to address them satisfactorily while maintaining the high demands of the workplace. I suggested to him that he should actually encourage the complaining. While Read More

The Power of the Personal

Everyone views his or her own life challenges in a highly personal way. What some people may say is an incredibly difficult work situation; others may say that those kinds of demanding circumstances get them juiced. That is a function of our DNA and life experiences. Resilience is a bit like politics; it is all local, and that locality usually begins with those 4 or 5 inches of matter between our ears. I was talking to a client a few days ago who was understandably upset about a report written about his business group’s poor operational effectiveness. He disputed the findings and did his best to explain away the identified problems. When I took a look at the report, jumped Read More