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Kubica LaForest December 2011 News


Kubica LaForest Consulting

Newsletter: December 2011

Presentation Gravity: Presentation is a Package, Not an Event

So what’s the big deal about strengthening your presentation skills? A lot, if increasing your influence and creating a reputation as the “go to” person is important to you. And this requires an understanding of presentation that goes far beyond the old interpretation of “platform skills”: looking nice, poise, dress for success and effective speaking skills. While personal presentation, visual aids, use of space and effective speaking are important elements of a presentation, there are several other elements that are equally potent though less conventionally addressed. We find that presentation is critically important when working to increase your visibility, build your influence and bolster your reputation.

So what really is “presentation”? A closely related classic concept for first-time presentation is Erving Goffman’s (1959) “Impression Management (IM)”. IM is the goal-directed attempt to influence others’ perceptions about a person, a group, and/or an organization by providing self-assessed beneficial information in social interactions to gain an advantageous first impression. Yet, for us, it does not take into consideration the importance of one’s ongoing presentation—after you have made that first critical impression.

We find that presentation skills, or a person’s “presentation” is a package and it has often been misunderstood in terms of one’s platform skills when speaking in front of a group. Our definition of presentation skills is more montage; it’s a combination of tangible and intangible behaviors and skills, including:

  • How you consistently perform “on your feet”
  • Your appearance
  • Poise
  • Knowledge
  • Preparation

When commonly faced with superiors, colleagues and even subordinates who are busy (and some less interested than they should be); like it or not, how you present becomes as important (we would say more important) than what you present.

While brevity and fact-based presentation is key today, if what you present is solely a recitation of the facts - this is quite frankly, boring. How do you get the other person or persons to not only want to meet with you, but also to listen to you, seek your advice and respond to it? It’s in your presentation. For example, when you work with others and as the process continues:

  • Are you trepidatious about bothering them and approaching them with your concerns or questions?
  • How responsive are you? Are you slow because you are seeking the “perfect solution”?
  • How good are you at building relationships?
  • How focused are you on the person in front of you and their specific issues and needs? Have you inquired as to their key priorities?
  • Are you interesting to talk to and meet with? Do you bring energy, knowledge and value-added? ideas to discussions?
  • Do you conduct yourself like a peer or like a subordinate?

How are you known in your organization? Are you known as someone who:

  • Gets things done
  • Challenges others to think beyond the obvious and consider things they haven’t thought of
  • Is confident and behaves as a peer
  • Is as impressive “off-stage” as “on-stage”
  • Demonstrates emotional intelligence

These questions reflect the “intangible” elements of presentation. And strong presentation will help you accelerate and expand your value.

Start acting like a peer, bring distinctive and useful knowledge to the discussion, demonstrate beyond what is expected, look and be impressive, and you will be seen differently.

How you are known molds your influence and reputation, which we find, will promote and even drive opportunity. And how you establish and reinforce how you are known is through your presentation.

Presentation is a package, and the ole’ a la carte approach and treating it like an event, will only take you so far. Strengthening presentation starts with awareness: being aware that presentation is important and is larger than a one shot deal and being aware of what constitutes presentation. But change doesn’t happen with awareness alone. Change happens when awareness meets caring (enough to do something about it) and right action.

Take a personal inventory. Assess and inquire as to how you are seen in your organization or in your market if you are an entrepreneur. Understand that improving your presentation skills is a process, not an event. It starts with awareness and caring (a sincere desire and belief) that your presentation skills can be improved. The benefit will be more influence and a stronger reputation, which will enable greater results and increase your value to others, both inside and outside of your organization. And therein, lies opportunity. To yours!

Healthcare Corner

The Quest for Integrated Care: A Turning Point or a Fool's Journey

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on December 12, 2011:

The Future of U.S. Health Care. The article featured health care from five perspectives: the physician, the hospital, the insurer, the employer and the patient. In the subtitle, it mentioned that the lines are beginning to blur between insurance companies, hospitals and other health-care providers.

And blurring lines is exactly what we need. That shows progress. If you were driving in the mid-west and looked out at a field where silos punctuated the landscape, you would have a great example of what the health care system looks like today: a series of silos standing alone and proudly holding on to their piece of the field.

But the Journal also wrote a piece casting doubt on the viability of success, and rightfully so, as past initiatives for the most part fell far short of predictions (or should we say hopes): Managed Care, Hospital Systems, Integrated Delivery Networks, RHIOs (Regional Health Information Organizations), technology built on platforms that don’t integrate very well – and the list continues. Many attempts, many disappointments.

Will this one be different? Maybe.

But if the “new approach to healthcare” is to be based on structure, ownership, turf battles, and reimbursement models, we believe that the chance is high that the current attempt will end up on the junk pile of past attempts.

Of course structure is important, of course it matters how you get paid, and of course it matters who’s in charge, but our point is that’s not all that matters. And when we believe it does, we have interesting structure, but complicated reimbursement formulas, and virtually no success. Somehow, however, the turf battles fail to get sorted out.

We do have five major players in this continuing drama: physician, hospital, insurance company, employer and patient. Ironically all want the same thing – better healthcare – but they differ and argue strenuously about how to achieve it. We are now back to who’s in charge.

Eventually the patients and the employers will get fed up. And when they do they will look for and embrace other care models. We don’t think we are there yet, but we are certainly getting closer.

What’s it going to take to make this attempt different than past attempts? We believe five events need to converge:

  1. There needs to be agreement on the right care in the right place and a continuum of care that results in the best quality outcome for the patient.
  2. There needs to be trust among the participants (or at least detente); a trust that has eluded the healthcare system since the mid 1900’s.
  3. There needs to be true integration where a good outcome is the win and not each individual unit maximizing its role and return.
  4. Finances must be based on an integrated health model representing an effective continuum of care and not on events or transactions.
  5. The patient must assume personal responsibility for his or her health guided by the integrated system and extensive education, monitoring and follow-up (this is where technology will make an important contribution).

None of this says we need a single payer system. None of this says we will have socialized medicine. These arguments are distracting. They focus on who’s in charge, who wins/who loses – simply it’s just business as usual.

But what this does require, and what has been so elusive, is cooperation. We need truly vertically integrated care systems.

What will be interesting to watch, and we are beginning to see this develop now, is that should the health care system fail to deliver, should it fail to control health care cost, should it fail to improve quality, someone else will step in to do it. Why? As the population ages, as health care premiums become a more distortional expense for businesses, as patients tire of fragmented and uncoordinated care – someone (person, company, entrepreneur) will step in and make it better. Our economic history is replete with such examples. It is who we are as a nation.

So healthcare executives and policy makers have a choice. They can emulate members of Congress who pontificate, obfuscate and bloviate and get very little done, or they can make a difference.

We offer organizational and performance improvement services that result in:
  • Transition Management & Succession Planning
  • Leadership Strategy & Development
  • Business Growth & Performance Improvement
  • Improving Client & Business Relationships
  • Brand Building & Impression Management
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