Great food, blue jeans, cowboy boots and live honky-tonk music. My October ASHRM 2018 Annual Conference experience in Nashville was exceptional. Friendly people, charming Southern hospitality and Country and Western bands set the stage for another excellent ASHRM professional endeavor.
It would take a few chapters to discuss all the learning and sharing opportunities at ASHRM’s Annual Conference, but I’d like to highlight one — a keynote speaker. Each year, notable and entertaining experts give keynote addresses at the beginning and end of the conference.
This year, our opening keynote speaker was Major General Vincent E. Boles. Sharing leadership lessons gleaned from more than 33 years of Army experience, he spoke of providing the right support in the toughest conditions. He offered 10 battle-tested tools that teams can use to ensure their “best gets better.”
Boles began by asking and elaborating on questions such as: “What is your standard? What does it look like? Who is in charge? Do they know they are in charge? Finding excellence…that is what we are seeking, right?”
He brought up issues such as whether a team feels empowered to speak up safely. He pointed out being a leader is different than being a manager and asked if your team views you as a trusted member/leader? Is the team’s overriding goal to make health care better?
Through digging deeply and exploring such questions, Boles illustrated that how we connect with our teams means the difference between the status quo or taking things to the next level; the level of excellence. He stressed that a major portion of our work is about connecting while we are aiming for excellence.
Making timely decisions is also key for optimal results. Good decisions are based on facts and well-thought-out strategic planning. Team involvement is critical. Does your team participate and have a voice in strategic planning?
The heart of his presentation was revealing the 10 battle-tested tools that teams can use to ensure their “best gets better,” which are:
- The 4 Expectations teams have of their leaders,
- The 3 Questions to ask AND answer when leading others,
- The 2 Reasons for stress in an organization and
- The 1 Critical thing to focus on when leading.
The keynote speech kicked off another dynamic conference. We selected from multiple learning sessions every hour on the hour, Monday through Wednesday. Each evening featured sponsored events, which included A Taste of Nashville culinary experience, live music, tours of museums plus many other enjoyable activities. Without any doubt, member after member left enriched with new learning materials, questions to ask, innovative ideas, refreshed game plans, revised strategies and a wealth of networking connections.
For those unable to attend the 2018 ASHRM Conference, I hope this gives you a tiny taste of what a valuable and amazing event it can be.
As health care professionals, how we lead, how we learn, how we network and how we have fun is all part of how we take health care to the next level.
Leigh Ann Yates, AIC, MBA, CPHRM, FASHRM, is the director of Insurance and Risk Management for the George Washington Medical Faculty Associates, Washington, DC.