Beware of These Career Transition Traps

Whether you’re changing positions, cubicles, locations or careers, transition can be rough if you’re not prepared. lists seven potential pitfalls new leaders must avoid:

Trap No. 1: Isolation

Leaders often rely heavily on reports and analysis rather than devoting time to meet and talk with new colleagues…

Trap No. 2: Always having “The Answer”

Too many leaders either come on the scene with “The Answer” (a predetermined fix for the company’s problems), or they reach conclusions too early in their tenure. Many fall into this trap through arrogance or insecurity…

Trap No. 3: Staying too long with the existing team

Some leaders believe the workers they inherit deserve a chance to prove themselves, but Watkins warns that it’s not recommended to retain team members with a record of mediocre performance…

Trap No. 4: Attempting too much

The theory goes, ‘If I get enough things going, something is bound to click…’

Trap No. 5: Captured by the wrong people

New leaders initiate competition between those who had influence in the old organization. Exercise great care in deciding who to listen to and to what degree…

Trap No. 6: Setting unrealistic expectations

It’s easy to set unrealistic expectations about what can be accomplished during transitions…

Trap No. 7: Failing to build coalitions

Devoting too much time during transitions to the vertical dimension of influence — upward to bosses and downward to direct reports.  Leaders don’t dedicate enough time to the horizontal dimension of peers…

Read: Pitfalls Ready Made for New Leaders

Wellpoint Insurance Teams with Zagat Survey So Patients Can Rate Their Doctors

When we need to find a new physician, most of us ask around; our friends, family, co-workers, etc. 

The web is taking “asking around” to a new level.  USA Today reports that Wellpoint, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, has teamed with Zagat Survey to let patients rate their doctors.

The ratings guide will consider trust, communication, availability and office environment. In addition to giving doctors a numerical score based on a 30-point scale, the site will include comments from patients.

WellPoint says its Zagat survey will not include information about medical expertise or other factors, such as malpractice settlements. At least 10 responses will be required before anything is posted.

Grand Rounds 4.6

Paul Levy hosts Grand Rounds 4.6 this week over at Running a Hospital.

"During my relatively brief blogging experience, I have noticed that people hardly ever comment on my posts that are related to broad policy issues or scientific advances. Instead, it is the highly personal stories that seem to generate the most interest. So I asked people to submit articles with the following theme: A personal experience I (or a loved one) had at a hospital and how it caused me to change my behavior or beliefs. We got lots of submissions, and I am very pleased to share many of these with you."


Ever Thought About Writing A Book?

Most bloggers love to write, so most of us have probably at least thought about writing a book.   Some of us  already have.

A professional colleague of mine is in the process of writing a book.  The effort has piqued my curiosity about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into getting a book published.  So what’s a potential author to do?  Read a book, of course.

If you’ve ever considered plunging into the murky, sometimes dangerous, waters of book publishing, you’ll want to read Self Publishing 101 by Debbie Elicksen

The book explains the differences between vanity, print on demand, e-publishing, and self-publishing.  It also goes into some detail about the myriad of steps necessary just to get a book ready for print.  There’s also advice regarding potential financial pitfalls, and all the marketing efforts that remain ahead for authors once a book is actually in print.

The only “down-side” and it’s a minor one, is that the book was published in 2005, so some of the technology advice may be slightly dated.  That caveat aside, this is an easy-to-read, highly educational book.  Recommended reading for the potential authors among us.

Eliminating Verbal Graffiti

“Thanks for, um, inviting me to speak.  I’m, you know, excited to be here.  Let’s get started, okay?” 

Have you ever found yourself thinking after a speaker’s first sentence, “This is going to be a l-o-n-g presentation!”

I’m reading a book called The Exceptional Presenter – A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room, by Timothy Koegel.  Whether you want to improve your already dazzling speaking skills, or are looking for ways to overcome a deep-seated dread of public speaking, this book will help.  You’ll also find that the principles apply whether you are speaking to one person or one hundred. 

For example, the topic of verbal graffiti; I figured I had this one pretty well under control.  I work hard not to utter the dreaded “um” and “you know” when speaking.  However, the author added a few additional examples to my list of filler words and phrases to carefully monitor. 

And, and, and… Be sure to end one sentence and start the next, don’t allow your presentation to be one long run-on sentence. 

To be honest with you…  This may cause your audience to wonder whether you’ve been lying up until now.

Actually… I actually think…  Used this way, words like actually and really are superfluous – they create no added value.

Okay, right, see…  Speakers that end nearly every sentence with “okay?” make me want to stick my fingers in my ears!

Another response that’s not mentioned in the book, but that I’ve heard repeatedly of late is “Gotcha.”  Gotcha, usually uttered as the first speaker nears the end of a sentence, is verbal shorthand for “I understand what you’re saying.”  I’m not sure if it’s the compression of an entire phrase into two syllables, or the fact that I always feel the need to speak faster when someone responds with “gotcha”, but it’s a word I’d like to see used sparingly, if at all.

So how does one overcome the use of verbal graffiti?  The author suggests making its elimination a 24/7 project.  Don’t just avoid ums and you knows when standing before a group, listen for them and eliminate them from every day speech.

Gotcha!  Thanks, that’s good advice.

Attention Entrepreneurs – Needed, A No-Touch Time Piece

In view of the UK’s January 1st dress code ruling of “bare below the elbows” for clinical practitioners, and the fact that the rest of the world will be watching closely to see whether the change improves patient infection rates, there is an obvious entrepreneurial opportunity for some clever soul.

How does one keep track of time without a wrist watch?  And how does one dutifully note times on patient charts without a time piece conveniently attached to one’s wrist?

My first thought was that pocket watches are about to make a major comeback, and perhaps they will, but is that the best answer? 

Okay all of you inventive thinkers out there, let’s come up with a clever no-touch method of keeping track of the time.  I foresee a big market for the right products. 


I told my sister about this post and she suggested a watch face that attaches securely to the upper sleeve.  Simple solution.  Now someone just needs to come up with a quick way to attach/detach the watch from the sleeve.

Megan Cohen is NAMSS New Executive Director

Just before the NAMSS conference in New York, Megan Cohen, MPA, CAE, joined Smith Bucklin and was appointed as the new Executive Director of the National Association Medical Staff Services.

Megan began her role amidst the whirlwind of a national conference.  She met a number of the members of her Washington D.C. staff for the first time at the conference, as well as many NAMSS leaders and members.  I had the opportunity to speak with her several times during the week, and found her to be unfailingly pleasant and always interested in the topic at hand. 

By the end of the week I suspect that A) Her feet were sore; B) Her brain was on overload and C) she was ready to settle in to her D.C. office and sort out the work at hand.  I also hope that she was energized and excited to find herself at the helm of a lively, growing association of healthcare leaders with a vital role and a vibrant spirit.

Welcome to NAMSS Megan!

Breast Cancer Awareness – Not Just in October

2.3 million women in the United States are living with a breast cancer diagnosis. You undoubtedly know some of them personally; you may be one of them.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  As with most other cancers, survival rates for breast cancer are quite high when the disease is detected and treated in its earliest stages. When it progresses undetected to later stages, the survival rates drop.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation web site offers downloadable pdf cards with “questions to ask your doctor” at every stage of your care.

Don’t put off taking care of your health.