Thursday, February 1, 2018

How to Transform Anything


Martin Luther King said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."   These are certainly "those times" of challenge and controversy: look in any direction and you can find one or the other, typically both. So what does this mean for me and you? The answer is essential to your success and well being.

If you are, in some way, involved in healthcare, get ready for a rough ride.  I'm not referring to the fact there is no longer an "individual mandate" to purchase insurance you cannot afford.  The President and Congress took care of that. I am writing about your obligation and need to be a transformer of society!  Not my job you say?  I do not know how to create transformation.  I'm too busy with my career; reasons all, as excuses these questions and stances are useless.  You can and must transform society.  Otherwise, our society is doomed. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also said: "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."  Let that sink in for a moment.  If our proverbial boat is taking on water ( I assert it is doing so quickly) we must all be transformers.   I want to share Five points to help you reach out and become a transformer of society.

     1)  Accept that society must change, Civil discourse must be a part of our organizations and communities.  

     2)  Suspend your assumptions and be willing to listen to the opinions and assumptions of others.  When doing so seek a civil discourse about the issue.

     3)  Learn to ask yourself this question: "Under what circumstances will this (idea, policy, change, program) work?  Ask it of yourself and others.

     4)  Be a leader (regardless of position)  Edward Hallowell's Book Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People addresses this subject and is a good read.  

          "I get up every morning, and I look forward to helping people get into the right frame of mind so they can shine, no matter where they go or what they do.  When I do that, I'm happy".  Read Dr. Hallowell's book to find out the person who revealed this simple, yet powerful, approach to life.  You won't regret it. 

5)     Be a life-long learner!  Every day, learn something new.  The Doctoral program in Education at Concordia University-Portland has this to say: " Transformation is continuous movement across static forms of daily life, so as to produce meaningful change in ones' self, community, and society" (EdD Handbook, Concordia University-Portland.

At some risk ( not because she will mind, but I know what she would say to me about the accolades), I mention my friend Dr. Carol Ratcliffe RN, FACHE, a Professor, leader, and transformer who is a founding member and nurse co-leader of the Alabama Health Action Coalition (  Or a hospital orderly ( I will not mention his name) who in a one-on-one conversation said to me, The SVP/COO, " You will be a great CEO someday".  The conversation was about him.  But his comment changed my life forever. 

Go for it. Commit and learn to be an influencer and transformative presence.  You will not regret it. If I can help or you just have comments about this article, email me:

All the Best,

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Majesty of Integrity!

There are so many problems and issues which one can write about, you might think it is difficult to choose a topic.  Quite simply it was not. I do not want to talk about philandering politicians, power-elites, or down fallen TV personalities: at least not directly.  It should suffice to note there are morons everywhere. But, I want to discuss a characteristic which seems to be lacking these days. That characteristic is Integrity and I am personally obsessive about it.

Integrity, as defined by Merriam - Webster, is "firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility".   Integrity means one does what one says they will do.  For me, this has always meant if I said I will call you tomorrow, then I will call you tomorrow: no ifs and or buts.

Lately, I have experienced a lack of the display of integrity from some people I know well, and others I know socially. It hasn't been anything life shattering, just irritating.  Simon Sinek lays it out beautifully in this short video.  I urge you to watch it, reflect on it, and seek to understand.  True integrity is a majestic thing!

I ask you to share this blog post with all your friends and acquaintances.  Not because I think they lack integrity, but because I have a goal to reach a certain readership with my blog. Thanks!

All the Best,

Friday, November 10, 2017

Innovation and Creativity

Innovation and Creativity in the workplace does not get enough attention: especially in healthcare.  It may the rigidity of an organization, history, or just plain old misunderstanding.  What is Innovation anyway and what does Creativity have to so with it?  Plenty!

The business dictionary defines Innovation as "the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers are willing to pay" (  Does this definition sound familiar?  If not you must ask, is my company innovating?  are we creating new value?  In many cases the answer is a big fat NO.

By Innovation, I do not mean process improvement.  Process improvement is a good thing.  However, improving a process is only incremental change.  It is not innovative at all.  The process itself may be the wrong one in the first place.

If you desire to be innovative you must be able to encourage creativity.  Most Hospital and many other businesses are not creative for one very simple reason.  They do not make it OK for workers to be creative.  Brown (2008, 2010), Csikszentmihalyi (2004), and  Seligman (2004),  all discuss positive psychology, play, and flow as necessary elements of creativity.  In fact, Innovation cannot take place without creativity!

 Mihaly Chikszentmihalyi (pronounced, Me-Hi-Cheek-sent-me-hi) (you thought my last name was difficult) discusses the element of flow: "the notion of "flow" --a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work" (2004).  You can see his talk on flow in his 2004 TED Talk.  I recommend it.   When I ask, "have you ever experienced flow"?, nine out of 10 people have a look on their face as if I asked them to pronounce 'Csikszentmihalyi'.  Most people in hospitals and business organizations have never heard of it, much less, being able to give an example!

Athletes experience flow.  We typically call this being "in the zone".  Let me ask, when was the last time you partook in art or play at your workplace?  I thought so. Never maybe? This is a concept that must be understood and ingrained in an organization which wants to creative and Innovative.  Visit Our Website for a few examples of Flow and Play in the workplace.

I am presenting a Webinar, April 10, 2018 via Wiederhold and Associates titled "Innovation and Creativity in the Workplace".  I hope you can attend. In the meantime, color a picture the next time you are vexed by a particularly tough problem.  The results may surprise you.

All the best

Thursday, November 2, 2017

You are a busy Healthcare Executive: Learn to Recharge!

I have been there.  Sitting in your seat wondering if I will ever get a break.  In fact, I served as President and CEO of a 600-bed Tertiary Trauma and teaching hospital.  That experience often felt as if I were an air traffic controller as opposed to President and CEO.  The demands are constant and unrelenting. So what should you do?  Learn to recharge.

As executives, you would think we would know this intuitively. However, we are not always good at doing the things we suggest for others. Recharging: taking time to clear the mind and recenter ourselves.  We should do it for ourselves, as well as, those we lead!

Most C-suite folks I talk with do not know how to recharge and many believe they do not have the time.  Well, it is not an option.  You can never be a High Performer in any sense of the concept if you can not recharge.  Guess what.  It is not that difficult.

I tend to block my days so I can be focused for a specific block of time to work on specific priorities.  At the end of each block, I take 10-minutes to recharge.  I may stand up and stretch, take a quick walk outside, or just sit in quiet and clear my mind.  TEn minutes, that is all it takes. You would be surprised at how you will approach your next time block.

Visit our webpage High Performance Solutions Group to see how we can help you perform better.  While there, "Opt-in" to our email list for updates and useful tidbits.  We will show you how to recharge for the Day, Week, Month, Year, and decade!

All the best,
                                          Michael L. McEachern, LFACHE
                                           President & Founder

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I'll Say it again

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of healthcare reform is the fact it has little to do with the delivery of healthcare.  read any article or proposed legislation and you will find plenty of information about Insurance, money, and the uninsured: almost nothing about delivering healthcare to the underserved.

In an October 13, 2017, Press Release, The AmericanPsychological Association  APA President Antonio E. Puente said, “This move, coming hours after the president issued an executive order to allow trade associations and other groups to offer their own health plans, will wreak havoc on the health insurance markets".  There it is; it is about the health insurance markets. 

I agree the availability of mental health services is atrocious, at best, for a highly developed nation like the United States.  My theory is no one wants to talk about it because: 1) it can be an uncomfortable subject, 2) It would add a great deal of expense to the healthcare basket, 3) It is misunderstood. I also understand the position of the Mental heal providers.  The service is vital and almost no one is paying for it.  

I am an advocate of improving the delivery and quality of healthcare.  As a nation, we just cannot seem to get past the money part. Population Health is in its infancy, although some providers have made great strides.  However, Population Health is often misunderstood: and who wants to deal with the "uninsured' population?   

Let me share a little-known secret about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  a family of 2 who does not make between 100 and 400 percent of the Federal poverty wage ($16,700) annually IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR A SUBSIDY!  That is correct, if you make $12,500.00 per year, the only thing you are eligible for is a tax waiver (thanks a lot) or an open market policy (which you could get anyway) which you cannot afford.  I looked and the least expensive policy available and It was around $1080 per month with a $12,000.00 deductible.  You do the math: it does not work. 

President Trump stopped subsidies to INsurance companies.  Lamar Alexander (R) and Patty Murry (D) worked together to thwart that effort.  When it comes to Healthcare, bottom-line is politicians have no idea what to do! Talk to you elected representatives. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Not so Fast: I Feel Your Pain!

      As I began this blog post, I had a certain theme in mind.  Then, as is often the case,  opened the October issue of a magazine which I read on a regular basis.  Everything changed. In the October 2017 issue of Fast Company magazine, there begins a theme on empathy.  Empathy in the corporate world, the executive suite, and the cafeteria (for those companies who still have cafeteria's).

     The editor began the discourse on empathy right up front.  Why was I drawn to this particular subject?  Why write about it?  Perhaps it is because I have been accused, long in the past, of not showing any!  This from the person who eventually became CEO of the company and promptly proceeded with a house cleaning of executives that rivaled The Great Purge of Stalinist Russia, but I digress a bit.   Empathy is a good thing and I wholeheartedly support it.  Even when it is espoused by those who have no earthly, or comic for that matter, idea how to practice it.  It is always easier to call out the other guy as non-empathetic.  Thus the 'Yield Sign'.  Hold on a minute.  Spoiler Alert, your new star galaxy enabled phone will not help you practice empathy.

  I know, you are shocked to hear this.  After all, you paid a small fortune for the latest techno gadget.  But it cannot do the one thing only humans can do: more specifically the human known as YOU.  Ok, you say, so how do I become more empathetic? Come to think of it why would I want to?  Well, like anything else written by the journalistic mash of "let us tell you how to be successful" individuals, it is useful.  Just be careful what you take for fact. 

     A High Performing leader must be able to connect.  It is that simple.  If you can not connect, you cannot lead, and you sure as heck cannot express empathy in a believable way.  Unfortunately, for decades business executives, hospital executives, and academics were taught, and have taught, to show empathy is a weakness.  'Au Contraire'!  In fact, I believe it shows courage and the ability to be a transformative leader. 

     As Fast Company points out, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has shown empathy to be a very effective tool. Expressing empathy is a skill which can be taught and learned by anyone.  To make it sincere is up to the individual.  Edward Hallowell, M.D. (2011) expressed, "Connected organizations thrive; disconnected ones perish" (p. 107).

     The team at High Performance Solutions Group can help you and your organization to express empathy and enhance both personal and organizational success.  Think about it.  How many companies can you name which no longer exist because they could not connect to employees?  The list is long: don't become a part of it!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Las Vegas Tragedy spawns wrong Public Discourse.

What should we be talking about after the Las Vegas Tragedy?

      The first tweets about the massacre in Las Vegas were ostensibly about the issue of Gun Control.  Often couched in terms of "gun violence", I must take issue and point out guns are inanimate objects: they cannot commit violence. Additionally, we have seen numerous news stories talk of the gunman when the conversation we should be having is one about Mental Health!  This man was not a "gunman", he was a "psychopath".  Yet we have heard very little about the state of mental health services.

     Anyone who has been around healthcare for any time is aware of the dismal state of mental health in our country.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) noted,  "Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental condition received mental health services within the past year.  Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year". (  Almost 40 % of adults with a serious mental illness went untreated!

    Catch the issues early experts say.  However, NAMI reports, "Seventy percent of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental condition and at least 20 percent live with a serious mental illness".  Let me say that again, Twenty percent of our YOUTH LIVE WITH A SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS!

    So we have yet another horrific wake-up call about the ugliness of our mental health system and politicians want to talk about guns.  Do we have our priorities straight?  I am not so sure.

Mental Health Stats