Saturday, July 28, 2012

It’s Business and Personal: The Value of Peer Relationships

Yesterday I attended the Business Clubs America (BCA) Philadelphia breakfast with special guest speaker Kyle Maynard -- world-class athlete, New York Times best seller, Wounded Warrior volunteer and, recently, the first quadruple amputee to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro unassisted.  Kyle shared with us his extraordinary story of never letting being born without arms or legs get in the way of what he’s wanted to do.  This is someone who truly leads by example; his grit, determination and personal strength are inspirational.
Kyle told us there are no worthy excuses, and that no matter how challenging an obstacle may seem, everyone has the ability to overcome it. Words to live by – personally as well as professionally, especially for companies hard hit by the economy these last few years. Decline in sales, rise in competitors and increased costs are issues many business leaders face. For the health care industry in particular, change has been continuous. But as  we learned from Kyle, it doesn’t matter what the complication is, it’s how you deal with it.
One of Kyle’s main messages was that very few things happen in life without a period of time, some delay, where we can process the meaning of what just happened. He calls this the source of our power. For example, after Kyle’s birth, doctors whisked him away before his parents could see him. They were given time to process this situation, which ultimately has shaped his deeply positive outlook on life. By creating a separation of time and physical space, we gain perspective, just as Kyle’s parents did.
I’ve utilized the delay strategy when confronted with a big decision that I know will have a large, lasting impact by reaching out to peers who have “been there” at one time or another.  That’s why my membership in BCA has been such a blessing for me.
BCA is a community of business leaders who truly want to help each other succeed. At the core of its mission is relationship marketing. The organization is strategically designed to help top executives develop the relationships integral to growing and maintaining a business. As Keith Baldwin, president of Spikes’ Trophies and BCA member says, “You cannot microwave a relationship.”  It’s not about finding a new audience to sell to or consult only when challenges arise, but about connecting with people living in your professional shoes -- – helping each other and leading with generosity. My BCA colleagues provide me with a source of inspiration, a sounding board and role models to follow.
The BCA mission of connecting with fellow business leaders to foster a community of mutual advice and mentoring translates to all industries, especially health care. As I’ve mentioned many times before, the key to improving health care is strong relationships. We’re all on the same team – the patient’s team, and we’re all in it for the same outcome – better health of those we care for.

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