A New Policy: “You Manage Yourself”

The other day, I wrote about about my experience with adopting a “One Life” policy.

It sparked a great discussion and I got a chance to meet some really amazing leaders who felt the same way.  Apparently we’re on to something.  It’s time to change!

However, I think it’s missing something.

In order for the “One Life” policy to work, it needs the “You Manage Yourself” policy to go with it.

Here’s how it looked:

“You will be led by strong leadership, but must manage yourself.

On our team it will be possible to get away with cutting corners, faking sick days, two hour lunches, stealing Post-it notes, and other activities that happen under poor management.  However as your manager, you will be responsible for what happens under your watch.  You must achieve your objectives and manage your talent to reach the success that is expected and required.

  • If you need help, lean on your leaders.
  • If you want advice, ask for it.
  • If you make mistakes, admit them.  Then move on.

It won’t be easy and this may be your first management position, but we believe in you.”

If leaders are going to find focus and time to lead, everyone on the team must manage themselves.

Here’s why:

1)  The “One Life” policy makes things too complicated

Once you let humanity into your organization, it gets complicated.  Imagine trying to track how much time people are doing “home life” activities vs. “work life”.  How do you quantify and measure what’s appropriate?  Humans are complicated.

Some leaders fear adding more “stuff” onto their already full plate and that’s why rigid rules were made in the first place.  Rules make things simple, but simple doesn’t work anymore.  So, when it finally gets complicated, it’s time to delegate the management.

2)  It’s impossible to manage another human

Unless you are in manufacturing or similar controlled environment, it is simply not possible to truly manage another human.  Human management is a myth.  Heck, half the time I can’t manage myself.  Good luck controlling the emotions, hormones, or motivations of someone else.

Since humans aren’t that easy to control, why wouldn’t you promote the person who knows your employee best?  They have more experience than you do.

3)  Empower your people and they will have the power to do amazing things

Most people want to do great things with their lives.  Only hire those type of people. If you find out that your team member doesn’t care to do much with their life, help them find a new job.  The old saying goes “Hire great people and get out of their way” and the “You Manage Yourself” policy is the most complete way to do that.

Also, the “You Manage Yourself” policy frees leaders to do the one thing they need to do most:  Lead.  No more excuses.  Leaders must lead and managers must manage. Collaborate with creating measurable goals, keep managers that win, and help the rest get new jobs.

Keep it nice and simple.

Have a great night!



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Time for a “One Life” Policy in the Workplace

There is no such thing as “Home Life” and “Work Life“.

We only have one life.

Traditional employers would like their team members to “leave your personal life at home”, while at the same time asking salaried team members to come in early, stay late, bring work home with them and check company email, read required books, or take phone calls outside of the office.

Now we’re asking our team members to help us engage in social media at all times (or at least we should be).

When does it end?

One Life Policy by Aaron Biebert

Obviously I don’t have a problem with taking work home, hence the 8pm Warrior concept. However, I do see a problem with the artificial line that some employers draw in the sand when you enter “their time.”

This often means:

  • Don’t take personal phone calls at work
  • Leave your troubles at the door
  • Don’t go on Facebook during work (unless we tell you to)
  • Don’t check your personal email at the office

…and other rules governing work life.

We only have one life, and ignoring that fact will cause problems for business leaders.

Here’s why:

  1. A “Caring Culture” is a more profitable one!
  2. Faking emotions causes major problems
  3. You can’t build a Culture of Caring if you don’t care about your team members first
  4. Caring about your team means caring about their whole life, not just work life

Yes, I practice what I preach.

In 2006 when I founded Clear Medical Solutions (Clear Medical Agency, HIM Circle, and the Clear Medical Network) we immediately implemented a “One Life” policy for our salaried office staff that stated:

“As a member of our team, we care about your whole life and recognize that we share a common journey.  Together, we have embarked on an exciting mission, and it will most definitely be a journey that goes home with you when you leave our office.

You only have one life, and even though we ask for a lot of it, we invite you to bring your home life with you to work.  Let us help carry the baggage.  One team, one dream. You are not alone.”

In practical terms this means:

  • Abolishing break time limits (i.e. one hour lunches, 15 minute breaks, etc.)
  • Flexibility with personal challenges (i.e. helping take car to auto shop, sick children, grieving, etc.)
  • Investing time to discuss home life
  • No restrictions on personal calls, checking personal email, or periodic personal use of social media.

In return, you should expect:

  • Your team will check their company emails, engage in company related social media channels, and take work related phone calls at home
  • Your team will be flexible for work challenges that arise (i.e. deadlines, crisis, product/service launches, etc.)
  • Your team will not abuse flexibility and take more than they give.

I know what some of my critics are thinking.  “What a circus!”  “I would love to see how many people abuse this type of policy.”  “How can you manage that?”

That’s the wrong way to think about it.

Bad people will always abuse things.  That’s why I don’t hire bad people.  If you adopt this policy, you have to be prepared to be better at recruiting and firing.  You will have to lead more, manage less.  Our “One Life Policy” went along with our “You Manage Yourself” policy.

At the end of the day it’s still about performance.  You shouldn’t hire or continue to employ people that don’t perform, and a one life policy only helps the responsible members of your team balance their life more successfully and openly.

Your employees have already implemented the policy on their own, they just are doing it secretly on their mobile devices, during “sick time”, and sneaking around to do what is natural.  Living one life.

It’s time you help them.

Have a great “one life”,



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Social Media Savvy

(This post is part 3 of a short series on 4 Skills for Healthcare Leaders)

Just like the nurse I mentioned that was tweeting about her boring meeting, your employees and patients are probably tweeting or facebooking about things they don’t like too (or maybe things they do like). 

I would suggest that in order to maximize success as a leader at your facility, you will want to not only listen, but engage your stakeholders in a social way in order to learn more about them and their needs.  Listening to their needs shouldn’t be a new idea, it’s just nowadays when someone is unhappy, 10,000 people hear about it within 5 minutes.

There is no more hiding the bad…or the good!

Don’t believe me?  Check out http://www.SocialMention.com and try searching “Clear Medical Network” or the name of your facility in parentheses. 


The key issue is that your reputation matters for recruiting and retaining hard to find:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Surgeons
  • Therapists
  • Executives
  • and others

In order to operate and flourish in an industry facing these shortages of skilled people, you (not just HR or Marketing) will need to find and engage your future doctors, executives, nurses, patients, and everyone else.  On top of that, you also have marketing to patients as well. 

That is why I believe that having Social Media Savvy will be a key skill.

We’ll see you tomorrow for the third skill topic: Caring.


Learn about Social Media:

  1. Guide to Twitter:  http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter/
  2. Guide to Facebook: http://mashable.com/guidebook/facebook/
  3. Social Media in Healthcare:  http://www.ClearMedicalNetwork.com


About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

Looking into the Eyes of the Future (of Healthcare)

This weekend, my youngest child (a one year-old son) and I spent time inserting different shaped blocks into the correct spots on one of his toys.  Half of the time my son was looking at me with this look of wonder and amazement as I showed him how to do it.  Simple stuff to me, but a big deal to my son.   

You could see it in his eyes.    

My son


As part of the leadership team in a healthcare organization, I see that same look from new graduates or interns I get to work with.  They know that they don’t have the experience, but they are grateful when someone shows them how to do difficult things that seem so simple to the veterans they work with.  (Big thanks to the many great preceptors and trainers out there!)    

However, with all the stress and staffing concerns in our industry, it is no wonder that we sometimes forget to remember that these rookies in our department are the future of healthcare. 

We are truly looking into the eyes of the future.   

What’s scary is that future might be more difficult than we imagine.  I’m sure the saying “Nurses eat their young” is not unique only to nursing, and with the baby boomers set to retire and healthcare reform now the law of the land, we’re going to need these unexperienced colleagues of ours to be confident, encouraged, and focused on a long-term career caring for patients.     

Unfortunately, with the economy where it’s at, finding graduates working in a hospital or clinic is not as easy as it was just a couple years ago.  Even new RN’s are having a hard time finding work in some areas that just a couple years ago were offering signing bonuses.     

I know RN’s that are volunteering to gain experience and relationships while they search and medical coders traveling across the country for their first job.  It’s crazy for high demand positions like those two (and many others) to have that sort of challenge to find work!  Especially since things were so different when they started school.    

Right now I see about 50 requests a week from new graduates with healthcare degrees looking for a place that will give them their first chance, despite the curse of the proverbial “no experience”.  With Spring graduation season coming up soon, that situation isn’t looking any brighter…    

One brighter spot is that I do see some places that are still hiring graduates if they have good attitudes and are willing to work hard, but those places are hard to find.  This was one of many reasons that we formed the Clear Medical Network to connect healthcare professionals for career guidance from their peers, as well as the fun stuff too (annual cruise, nights out, etc.).  We’re hoping to connect our industry to help share ideas and opportunities to make a difference.    

It’s not just for graduates, but that’s one group that needs it most this time of year.    

If you know anyone looking to hire new grads, we will gladly share the resumes we’re getting (for free).  Just have the hiring leader join the network or email me at Aaron@ClearMedicalSolutions.com.   Also, if you get a chance, please let me know what you think about the idea and help remind me and others of the important role that our young colleagues will play in our future.     

Have a great week!     


About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives at Clear Medical Solutions, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He enjoys teaching, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.