October 9th, 2019 by Caregiving Kinetics
April 12th, 2019 by Caregiving Kinetics
Healthcare keynote speaker, caregiving consultant and healthcare business coach Dr. Aaron Blight is happy to answer questions on Quora about caregiving organizational development, healthcare consulting, senior care, and many other topics.
In this month’s post, we highlight his recent answer which deals with ways that can company culture can be improved on a limited budget.
Anthropologist Clifford Geertz said, “Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun.” I love Geertz’s definition of culture, which has been applied in organizational studies.
Culture is a reflection of the meaning we make from the world around us. Company culture does not require any budget, although how and where company money is spent says something about its culture.
If you want to improve company culture, to use the Geertz analogy, you will have to do some spinning. Here are a few tips.
1. Observe. Become a keen observer. Look for indications of culture throughout your organization, from the physical environment to the things employees say.
2. Ask. What values are reflected in the indications of culture you observe? What taken-for-granted assumptions are revealed? Why do such assumptions exist?
3. Think. Come up with a revised set of values and assumptions that you’d like to see reflected throughout the company.
4. Create. Create ways to explicitly and implicitly convey the values and assumptions you want in your company. This can be anything from break room modifications to employee recognition programs, from company tag lines to business process re-engineering, from storytelling to artistry. Incorporate symbolic meaning into some of your creations.
5. Reinforce. Continue to communicate, directly and indirectly, the elements of culture you wish to emphasize.
6. Repeat. Keep in mind that culture change takes time and cannot be forced. As you maintain focus and repeat steps 1–5, you will begin to see signs of progress.
We hope you learned something from this latest edition! Check back in over the coming weeks and months for more Q&A with Dr. Aaron Blight!
November 27th, 2018 by Caregiving Kinetics
The consumer population in the United States is aging, and businesses who want to continue to grow are being forced to adapt to that reality. In order to make sure they are remaining relevant to those who are now in an older age bracket, the idea of hiring a gerontologist is quickly becoming an appealing concept. Simply by hiring someone who understands how to target an older segment of the market, brands may be able to avoid making mistakes that could cost them dearly in the end.
It’s Not That Simple
An easy mistake to make, and one that has certainly been made by businesses in the past, is to think that all senior citizens can be lumped into the same consumer category. That is just as incorrect as trying to consider all buyers in their 30s to be similar in their wants and needs. Just because seniors happen to be the same age as each other does not mean they suddenly all have the same expectations as consumers. These people remain individuals as they age, and a gerontologist can help a brand sort out exactly what kinds of expectations their target market is going to possess.
Adapt or Die
For a long time, it seemed to be the case that brands would simply build their products with younger buyers in mind – and basically force older consumers to just deal with it. Now, however, with seniors making up such a sizable part of the market, it is necessary for brands to adapt to the needs of those in their retirement years. Since the market is so big, with so much buying power, businesses can no longer afford to basically ignore this segment. After all, if one business decides not to cater properly to the needs of their senior customers, one of their competitors will be more than happy to do so.
The Right Markets
Clearly, not every business is going to be able to benefit from bringing a gerontologist onto the staff. This is a valuable field of study, but it needs to be applicable to a business’ regular operations in order to make sense. Some of the markets which have been finding gerontology to be a useful addition to their office include financial services companies like investment companies and banks. Of course, that is in addition to the companies that have long sought out people trained in this area, such as senior living facilities.
Business is Business
At the end of the day, the idea behind hiring a gerontologist is the same as anything else a business does as part of its operations – it’s an attempt to serve customers. As those customers age, some of their expectations and needs will change, while others will stay the same. Having a person or people on staff who can analyze how those changes will intersect with a company’s offering of products or services can be huge.
November 13th, 2018 by Caregiving Kinetics
This week I had the opportunity to speak at the International Transformative Learning Conference at Columbia University in New York City. The event prompted me to think about transformative learning experiences that have occurred at various stages of my life.
Caregiving for my mother-in-law at a relatively young age presented a disorienting dilemma to our family that was totally unanticipated. Nobody imagines getting a brain tumor, so when one appears, it’s an existential shock to you and those who love you. Our family rallied around Mom, giving her as much support as possible as she invited a surgeon, skilled as he may be, to cut open her skull, remove the unwelcome mass, and staple her cranium back together. We did not know if she would survive the surgery, or if she survived, how long she would live afterwards. We didn’t know how our lives would be affected in the future. All we knew is that Mom needed help; she needed it now; and we had to be there for her. So she moved into our home.
As I reflect upon the ensuing five years of care that our family provided to my mother-in-law, I see this as the transformational pivot of my professional life. My career is punctuated by a defining transition of work “before” and “after” caregiving, even though the care for Mom was a personal family matter. Before Mom got sick, I had been working as a human resources professional and a healthcare policy wonk. After taking care of Mom, I became the owner of a home care company and a caregiving scholar.
When we were enveloped in the day-to-day care of Mom, we had no sense of perspective on what was happening to our family. We faced one day at a time. Only through subsequent experiences working with families in similar caregiving situations, employing professional caregivers who know how to transition through end-of-life stages, and exposing myself to rich insights born from research have I come to truly understand the quiet strain and heroic service that caregiving exacts from individuals, families, and society.
Now through Caregiving Kinetics, I have the privilege of helping organizations to raise awareness of the caregiving process and develop ways to effectively support those who care. When I was younger, I never envisioned myself involved in such work, but today I cannot see myself doing anything else.
Generally speaking, confidence is a good thing in business. You need to be confident in your ideas, and you need to believe in your abilities. However, as is the case with most things, too much confidence can be a problem. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is ask for help, or at least invite in another opinion to point you in the right direction. For many business professionals, especially in the caregiving and healthcare industries, that means turning to business coaching.
Some professionals turn away from business coaching because they think they already know the answers, they are afraid to hear the truth, or they simply don’t want to spend the money. Unfortunately, that means they miss out on the many benefits that are associated with quality business coaching, such as those listed below.
Hear the Honest Truth
It’s hard to get honest opinions in the business world, when only talking to those who work for or with you. That’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. In the workplace, many people are hesitant to say what they really think, as that means going out on a limb with their ideas and perspective. More frequently, employees will just toe the line, agreeing with what those above them have said.
When you decide to bring in some business coaching, you can put these worries to the side. A business coach is paid specifically to provide honest feedback and perspective, so that is exactly what he or she will do. Without having to think about long-term career implications like someone who works within the organization, a business coach is free from limitations and will be able to give it to you straight.
Open Up a New Perspective
It can be hard to see your business in new and creative ways when you work inside it day after day. The rhythm that comes along with a business is self-sustaining in many ways, and it’s easy to just ‘go with the flow’ and keep things as they are. But what if sticking with the status quo means missing out on big opportunities? That would be a shame. A business coach can open your mind to new perspectives and perhaps spot opportunities that you and your team have overlooked to this point.
Open Up to Risk
This point goes along with the previous one, but it takes it a step further. Once you see things from a new perspective, you may be encouraged by your business coach to take a risk that you would have otherwise shied away from pursuing. Again, this comes back to the idea of sticking with the status quo. If business is going okay, you might feel like playing it safe and avoiding the risks that need to be taken in order to reach a new level. Unfortunately, most businesses are not able to succeed without taking on some degree of risk. If a business coach can help you to accept and manage the risks that come along with a big opportunity, it’s possible that major growth will lie ahead.