program summaries | most requested programs | keynote/motivational speeches | leadership and management development


Most Requested Programs

Motivation / Staff Moral / Retention Issues

Motivation and Morale - Beyond a Quick Fix

The Three R's -- Recognize, Reward and Retain

Staying Positive While Working With Pearl and Grumpy (dealing with negativity)

Managing Change / Conflict / Team Building

Pearl and Edith Take a Trip Over the Falls

Out of the Comfort Zone - Skill Sets for Generation 21

Learning from Conflict

Building a Sense of Community at Work

Leadership and Management Skills

Fostering Ownership and Accountability - Moving from Parent to Partner

Getting the Right People on the Bus

Management Skills for Clinical Leaders

New Managers Survival Kit

The Nitty Gritty of Culture Change

Emotional Intelligence... People Skills for the Workplace

Reflective Leadership

Personal Balance and Quality of Worklife

Put on YOUR Own Oxygen Mask First

Managing the Middle Manager Crunch

Nature's Wisdom in the Workplace

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Keynote / Motivational Speeches

While keynote presentations, after dinner speeches, and other short presentations are typically designed and tailored to fit the specific themes and interests of the organization being addressed, e.g., coping with change, meeting the challenges of the future, etc., the following is a list of some of the most frequently requested topics:

Pearl and Edith Take a Trip Over Falls (abbreviated version of the one day workshop by the same title dealing with coping with change)

Herding Cats, Pulling Donkeys and Pushing Elephants (staff motivation)

Gray Hairs and Lessons Learned (tips for managers)

Making the Most of Transitions ( managing organizational change)

Staying Positive While Working With Pearl and Grumpy (dealing with negativity)

Boosting Morale for Recruitment and Retention (fostering a positive work environment)

Staying Focused in the Frenzy (stress management and personal balance)

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Program Summaries

Motivation / Retention Issues

Becoming the "Employer of Choice" is a key strategy for the healthcare workplace. Having recognized that satisfied staff provide the best customer service, healthcare leaders are increasingly focused on creating a work environment to ensure retention of their best people. Key themes include changes in management styles to provide "different strokes for different folks" - Generation X'ers to Baby Boomers as well as system and structure changes rather than a quick fix. Ideas from business and industry are included as well as best practices in health care resulting in a people based strategy to improve retention, customer service and organizational performance.

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For too long the healthcare workplace has rewarded seniority over performance. This program highlights ways to "accentuate the positive" and "eliminate the negative" to improve staff morale and retention. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators are discussed as well as other factors that impact staff morale - ranging from environmental issues, non-stop change or "soap opera like" relationships. Using research from "magnet" hospitals and experience from a national perspective, practical approaches are offered to recognize and reward high performance and create a positive work climate for staff retention.

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One of the keys to staff retention is to improve the hiring process so that we “get the right people on the bus” – to quote author Jim Collins in his book Good is Great. This program offers a variety of ways to improve the hiring process with a particular focus on peer interviewing,accountability for behavioral standards, hiring screens, positive interviews and performance dashboards. Improving support for new hires and opportunities for mentoring are also discussed as well as best practices for the orientation process.

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This program is designed for healthcare providers who find themselves in a workplace with non-stop change, a less than productive team of co-workers and lagging staff morale. Creating a more positive work climate is the focus of this program. Tips, tools, and practical approaches are offered to recognize self-defeating patterns, shift from reactive to proactive thinking and improve teamwork and morale. Participants are encouraged to develop a plan for next day use of the content and sustain personal change over time.

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Managing Change / Conflict / Team Building

Pearl and Edith Take a Trip Over the Falls - The primary objective of this program is to make a "case for change," particularly for those who are reluctant or resistant. The focal points include relinquishing "victim" and "entitlement" attitudes or mind sets and shifting from "us and them" to teamwork. Taking stock of ones own personal development plan and developing new skill sets is a key theme of the program. Stressing "you either get it or you don't," next steps and behavioral outcomes necessary to survive the "ride over the falls" are identified.

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Out of the Comfort Zone - Moving from a hierarchical orientation to "teams" and interdisciplinary problem solving is a challenge at all levels in the organization. This program highlights not only the challenge to come out of our "comfort zone" but also how to take these first steps in a new direction. Participants review a variety of essential skills sets needed for Generation 21 and then develop their own individual development plans. This program makes coming out of one's comfort zone a reality for "mama managers" who know they need to change and for staff who want to foster teamwork and have more influence on clinical outcomes.

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Learning from Conflict - Workplace conflict can undermine the best of teams unless we re-frame conflict as a learning opportunity rather than the common pattern of conflict avoidance. Options to deal with difficult behavior are reviewed as well as ways to "talk out" rather than "act out" problems. Skills to de-escalate conflict and negotiate with others are also included. Letting go of old patterns and choosing different responses is the theme of this program.

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Building a Sense of Community at Work - Building a sense of community in organizations can help refocus staff members and leaders on shared values and a sense of connection with each other. Creating an environment of support and belonging in which everyone has the opportunity to do their best can go a long way in improving retention, developing teamwork and increasing patient satisfaction. This program highlights the key issues to consider in building a sense of community as well as practical ideas for next day use for those who are ready to change their work culture. Ways to deal with those who don’t “buy in” to the community effort will also be discussed. Sustaining a sense of community over time as well as steps to get started complete this overview of “community at work.” If you are ready to make a positive difference in the quality of your work life, this program is for you.

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Five Essential Skill Sets for Teamwork - All too often in health care “team” has become a four letter word that evokes cynical responses and tales of dysfunction. At the same time, teamwork is essential in health care for good clinical outcomes, staff retention or becoming the “employer of choice.” Making the transition from past experience with teams that failed to principles that foster healthy teams is the focal point of this program. Dealing with key themes of trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results which apply to every level in the organization, this program is designed for staff, managers, and executives who recognize the real need for teamwork. While a clear picture of “healthy team” emerges with these five essential skill sets, the focus is on the “how to” of teamwork so that participants have steps for next day use to make the concept of teamwork a reality. A number of assessment tools are offered as well as systems and structure to get existing teams back on track.

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Leadership and Management Skills

Fostering Ownership and Accountability - How do I get the staff to “grow up?” This is an all too familiar question of managers in health care. The “victim” and “entitlement” mind sets which have become prevalent in health care negatively impact staff morale and retention of good managers. This program highlights best practices from magnet hospitals, lessons learned in business, and the latest research to focus on ways to promote staff ownership and accountability. Designed for middle managers in health care, the emphasis is on increasing staff involvement, problem solving, decision making, and relationship management. Key concepts include levels of authority, empowerment, staff action teams, performance management and dealing with difficult behaviors. Benchmarks to measure progress are also included.

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Management Skills for Clinical Leaders - Basic management skills are a prerequisite for success in a clinical leader role and this program is designed for those who are balancing the clinical-managerial role. Situational leadership, dealing with marginal employees, responding to difficult behavior and problem solving skills are highlighted in this program. Working with other departments as well as ways to anticipate problems and de-escalate issues are also reviewed. Many of these lessons learned from experience can smooth the transition for those balancing both clerical and managerial roles.

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New Manager Survival Kit - All too often, new managers buy in to the idea that they “have to land running” or “make up for lost time. These mind sets often create frustration and a sense of overload. This program highlights the typical learning curve for those who are new to the management role and offers experienced based, practical approaches to ensure success. Key points include the need for an assessment process, the value of ground rules or team agreements and tools to promote staff empowerment and group problem solving. Tips for dealing with marginal staff, constructive feedback and physician partnerships are also included. The program concludes with the need for self management and work-home life balance. Participants develop action plans and peer partnerships to augment integration of the content.

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The Nitty Gritty of Culture Change - Strategies for breakthrough improvements in patient satisfaction and staff retention are the focus of attention in health care as we move into this decade. With the growing distrust of hospitals among consumers, deterioration of morale, and chronic system problems, the need for culture change in healthcare has never been greater. The roadmap for culture change outlined in this program includes the development of an infra-structure for decision making, increasing staff involvement in problem solving, cross functional teams for service recovery, performance indicators and management accountability as well enhancements to the systems for evaluation and discipline issues. The focus is on the “how to” and the next steps so that participants not only are energized by these concepts but also have a clear sense of the process, pitfalls and ways to measure progress on the journey to real culture change.

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Emotional Intelligence - People Skills for the Work Place - For too long, the emphasis in health care has been on clinical competence and “getting the tasks done” with less importance placed on emotional maturity and people skills. Based on the work of Daniel Goleman and others, this program explains the concept of emotional intelligence and offers a variety of approaches to use the concept in hiring practices, staff development and team building. Self-assessment tools are reviewed with a focus on personal as well as team development. Ways for managers to increase their “EI” as well as the impact on team effectiveness and staff retention are also explored.

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Reflective Leadership - Do you need a time out? Across the country, we hear those in senior leadership positions lamenting the fact that they never have time to think and plan as they would like. To address this need I have been joined by a trusted colleague and friend, Lois Hybben-Stehr, who brings a wealth of knowledge from her 30 years experience in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis-St.Paul area. She has held several senior leadership positions and has a rich background in physician and board related issues, dealing with unions, interest based bargaining, horizontal integration and strategic planning.

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Personal Balance and Self Renewal

Put On YOUR Own Oxygen Mask First - Rapid change, financial concerns and staff shortages all lead to a more stressful work environment in healthcare than at any time in recent memory. All too often the quality of work life suffers with "imbalance" becoming the norm until illness or resignations serve as a wake-up call. This program is designed to add depth to the concept of "care for the care givers" and emphasizes ways to sustain personal change over time. Intentions are only as good as follow through. Rejuvenating and maintaining a balance between work and home life is essential for personal effectiveness. Using experienced-based real world approaches and peer partners designed to increase the likelihood of lasting change, the focal point of this program is "walking the talk."

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Managing the Middle Manager Crunch - It has often been said that the role of the middle manager” in health care is one of the most difficult in the organization. This program is designed for Nurse Managers or Department Directors who are feeling the pressure of staff retention, quarterly outcomes and financial issues and are ready to develop a personal game plan to sustain their own productivity and sense of balance in the midst of those pressures. Topics range from time management, getting organized, delegation skills and several ways to improve personal productivity. For middle managers willing to reflect, reorganize and re-energize their work life, this program offers practical advice and experience based on insights that help managers have a life and a role they enjoy.

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Nature's Wisdom in the Workplace - The Five Element Model of Chinese Medicine provides an easily understood framework for understanding ways to cope with stress, conserve energy, and promote balance of work and home life. These insights are also useful in fostering teamwork and managing organizational change. Adapted from the book Sharon is co-authoring, these ideas are memorable in their simplicity and designed for next day use. For those interested in maintaining a healthy outlook and managing workplace stress more effectively, the "Nature's Wisdom" framework discussed in this program offers rich insights.

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Leadership and Management Development

Leading and Managing Generation 21 - For those in senior leadership positions who are interested in an in-depth management development program for their middle managers this four part series is designed to foster culture change as well as provide a common set of management principles for the entire management team. Each module includes three day with the managers or Department Directors and a fourth day with the senior team to whom they report. Following each module a practicum is assigned to augment integration of the content. The four modules are typically scheduled over a 9-12 month time frame with summary reports and recommendations after each visit. This program can be designed for specifically Nurse Managers. However, experience has shown that the best return on this investment involves providing the training for the entire middle management team. Similarly, experience indicates that starting with Nursing and then training the other Directors allows time for positive changes to become apparent and increases the receptivity of the remaining peer group for this program Focal points in this training include recognizing the big picture in health care, developing people skills, problem solving skills and creating a healthy work environment for staff retention. The theme throughout the program is sustaining real culture change - beginning with ownership and accountability in the leadership team. The key elements of culture change include shifting:

  1. from hierarchy to teams;
  2. from managing as a parent to partnership with staff;
  3. from staff waiting to be told to staff owning their own professional practice;
  4. from "us and them" to "we";
  5. from staff viewed as worker bees to staff valued as problem solvers ;
  6. from those who show up having a job to those who contribute having a job.

Over a thousand middle managers and executive level administrators have participated in this program (known formerly as Managing the Workplace 2000) over the last eight years and many have said: "This is more than just another Manual on my bookcase." Participants in this series have indicated that the real world approach and the tools and techniques offered improve not only their relationship with staff but also their work and home life balance. Improvements in interdepartmental problem solving and clinical outcomes make this a popular program with widespread and lasting impact on the organization.

Course Assumptions - Six assumptions about preparing Generation 21 provide the fundamental principles in this course.

1. Change is the only constant. Managing effectively requires the ability to be flexible, to tolerate ambiguity and to constantly reinvent the role of manager.

2. The effectiveness of managers is measured by what happens in their absence --rather than the old paradigm of controlling staff. The manager for the future functions by empowering staff. In other words, the manager functions by "working up through" the staff rather than "talking down to" the staff.

3. Professional practice is fostered by adult-adult relationships rather than the parent child pattern. Generation 21 will be characterized by self-directed professionals who assume responsibility for their own clinical practice. This necessitates moving away from reactive parent-child behaviors and toward adult relationships which stress accountability. This shift may impact care delivery systems as well as the structure for decision making.

4. The manager is a linchpin in quality care and cost control. High performing managers must be able to coordinate the needs of patients, physicians, and employees and do this at a lower cost. There must be a consistent focus on management outcomes, process improvement, and the creation of a work climate which fosters a team effort and is patient-focused.

5. Work needs to make a life, not just a living. Individuals and organizations gain by creating a work environment which encourages personal and professional growth and balance. Principles of self-renewal including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions are key to our success in Generation 21.

6. Adult learners learn best by experience. It has been said, if you really want to learn something, teach it and practice it. For this reason, the course content is interwoven with ways in which next day use of the information and techniques are encouraged. Follow-up assignments ("practica") are offered at the end of each segment to foster this application to one's own work setting.

Expected Outcomes - For those in senior administrative positions who are interested in fostering culture change with this training, the expected results include:

• Formation of a staff action team for problem solving at the unit or departmental level;

• Development or strengthening of inter-departmental problem solving groups;

• Increased cohesiveness among managers/Directors as evidenced by greater consistency across departments, completion of action plans with measured outcomes;

• Streamlining of meeting structure, improved productivity in meetings; ? Visual tracking of outcomes, benchmarking within region;

• Increased productivity of managers and improved work-home life balance;

• Proactive response to issues - decrease in victim mentality and problem processing;

• Development of a "training package" to orient new managers to content presented in the Generation 21 program.

• Readiness of selected staff to assume manager positions as needed.

For additional information on the Generation 21 program including a proposal specific to the needs of your organization and references from former clients, contact:

Cox & Associates

call 615-371-0215 or fax 615-371-0577


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