Part 3: How to Start Using Social Media

In my last couple posts, I hope I’ve done a decent job of convincing you that Social Media might be worth a try.  Now the question is “How?”

The first step is to join some of the free Social Networking sites available.  I’ll talk more in-depth about each one in following posts, but first we need to pick a couple to start with, visit their home page, and register. 

Which ones to join?

There are literally thousands of different social networks to choose from, but for starters, I recommend starting with these two:

facebook.com – Their stated goal is to recreate the human network, and they’ve done so quite successfully.  With active groups, helpful pages, and a system that allows you to focus on people you know, this social network of over 550,000,000 people is the gateway to the world of Social Media.  It’s not just for college kids anymore (you might be surprised how many of your friends are on it).

Linkedin.com – This network of more than 80,000,000 is primarily for leaders and professionals.  With excellent groups and many of your colleagues already on there, it’s a great place to share professional information and stay informed.  Every Fortune 500 company has members on it, and it’s a must for anyone looking to lead others during this digital age.

(Extra Credit)  

twitter.com – If you’ve already joined facebook and Linkedin and find yourself looking to try more, I recommend twitter.  Twitter is simple.  Twitter is easy.  160,000,000 people are using twitter to share bite sized (140 characters or less) messages with the world.  You can follow the “tweets” of industry leaders, colleagues, consultants, and friends as they share news, links, videos, and blog postings.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them as comments here on the blog site and my colleagues and I will attempt to answer them as best as we can.

What’s next? 

I’ll dive into the professional side of facebook.com and discuss how you can make it work for your work in the healthcare industry.  The following day, we’ll focus Linkedin.com.  If you’d like to get these sent to you via email, just subscribe on the upper right side of ClearMatters.com.

See you tomorrow!

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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. 

The Thing about Social Media

 

Do you remember when email was the “new thing”? 

How about the internet, word processors, or even computers?  It sounds funny now, but I remember people doubting if those tools would be anything more than just a passing fad.  Fast forward to 2010 and I earnestly believe that Social Media is the same sort of “new thing” that we’ll need to learn and embrace to be effective leaders in the coming years.

The only reason I bring this up now is that my last post about “Social Surgery” caused quit a stir.  However, despite all the publicity surrounding social networking, I still see a lot of healthcare leaders questioning the need to join and engage on any social networks at all (i.e. Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter).  They just don’t see the need. 

Maybe I can help by sharing some of my experiences and research.

All around the world, social media is helping build revolutionary communities that are impacting how people get their information.  Just recently, a study showed that 3 out of 4 Americans get their news from social media or email.  Never before has information or peer support been more available, and social media is playing a big role.

In addition to gathering information and finding free support from peers, social media also makes information about you and your organization (both good info and bad) easier to find and share.  If you’re a leader at a medical facility, this could potentially make your work life easier or more difficult, depending on your ability to recognize both the opportunities and threats facing your department or organization stemming from Social Media.

Learning about Social Media is key, just like learning how to use email was important years ago.

Next week on Tuesday, I’ll be doing a webinar for my HFMA chapter called “Making Social Media Work for You”, and I’ll be sharing some thoughts and research in a series of short morning blog posts until then.  Hopefully they’ll be good practice for my HFMA webinar and helpful for anyone wondering about the value and future of social media. 

If you’re interested in the discussion, comments are encouraged and you can subscribe to the blog postings on the upper right hand side of the ClearMatters.com blog website.

Have a great Sunday!

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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. 

Who would you rather work with?

 

Some of you may have already seen this story from Seth Godin, but it begs the question: “Who would you rather work with?”    

A small island grows sugar cane. Many people harvest it, and one guy owns the machine that can process the cane and turn it into juice.    

Who wins?   

Sugar Cane Machine

The guy with the machine, of course. It gives him leverage, and since he’s the only one, he can pay the pickers whatever he likes–people will either sell it to him or stop picking. No fun being the cane picker. He can also charge whatever he likes to the people who need the cane juice, because without him, there’s no juice. No fun being a baker or cook. But now, a second machine comes to the island, and then three more. There are five processors.    

Now who wins?    

Certainly not the guy with the first machine.  He has competitors for the cane. He can optimize and work on efficiency, but pretty soon he’s going to be in a price war for his raw materials (and a price war for the finished product).  Not so much fun to be the factory owner.  And then!  And then one cane processor starts creating a series of collectible containers, starts interacting with his customers and providing them with custom blends, starts offering long-term contracts and benefits to his biggest customers, and yes, even begins to pay his growers more if they’re willing to bring him particularly sweet and organic materials, on time.  In short, he becomes a master of the art of processing and marketing cane.  He earns permission, he treats different people differently and he refuses to act like a faceless factory…    

Who are you?  Who are we?      

Obviously we don’t work in the sugar industry, but we think the principle of treating people differently applies. We know there are many choices of who to work with, and we respect that and try to be different.  How can we be better?    

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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.

A Caring Attitude

The economy has eased our worker shortage temporarily, but I have no doubt it will be back very soon.  With healthcare reform to add 32,000,000 new patients to a system already facing a retiring baby boomer generation, this is going to get very interesting…and stressful.

In an industry with unlimited choices, where will all the talent go? 

I believe they will seek to work with servant leaders who are knowledgeable, engaged, and caring.  With burnout reaching epidemic proportions, and many medical professionals re-evaluating their career paths, caring will not only lead to your success as a leader, but to an increased quality of life for your people. 

If you want to compete and make a difference, you will need to have an attitude of caring…and mean it.

That’s why it made my top 4.

Does it make yours?

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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.

Graduation

With graduation just about 60 or so days away for seniors, I wanted to share some thoughts with any students with an eye towards working in healthcare leadership once they graduate. 

As part of the leadership team at Clear Medical Solutions, I get the opportunity to work with numerous interns that are in school.  Over the years, I’ve developed some thoughts on who will succeed under the pressure that our industry brings and who will not…and who will find a job or not. 

One of the key factors that I look for now when deciding who to mentor is their aversion to risk.  Yes, I believe that practitioners in a clinical setting should avoid risk when treating patients (unless in a research setting), however in the healthcare leadership setting, the same old strategies just aren’t going to work anymore.  Safe is now risky!

Leaders are going to have to try new things and chart new paths, and that will take a “risk neutral” approach versus “risk aversion” at all costs.

One of my favorite writers had this to say about some college students that he ran into, and I see the exact same thing from many students that I find as well:

Anyway, they asked for my advice in finding marketing jobs. When I shared my views (go to a small company, work for the CEO, get a job where you actually get to make mistakes and do something) one woman professed to agree with me, but then explained, “But those companies don’t interview on campus.”

Those companies don’t interview on campus. Hmmm. She has just spent $100,000 in cash and another $150,000 in opportunity cost to get an MBA, but…

The second occurred today at Yale. As I drove through the amazingly beautiful campus, I passed the center for Asian Studies. It reminded me of my days as an undergrad (at a lesser school, natch), browsing through the catalog, realizing I could learn whatever I wanted. That not only could I take classes but I could start a business, organize a protest movement, live in a garret off campus, whatever. It was a tremendous gift, this ability to choose.

Yet most of my classmates refused to choose. Instead, they treated college like an extension of high school. They took the most mainstream courses, did the minimum amount they needed to get an A, tried not to get into “trouble” with the professor or face the uncertainty of the unknowable. They were the ones who spent six hours a day in the library, reading their textbooks.

The best part of college is that you could become whatever you wanted to become, but most people just do what they think they must.

Is this a metaphor? Sure. But it’s a worthwhile one. You have more freedom at work than you think (hey, you’re reading this on company time!) but most people do nothing with that freedom but try to get an A.

Do you work with people who are still in high school? Job seekers only willing to interview with the folks who come on campus? Executives who are trying to make their boss happy above all else? It’s pretty clear that the thing that’s wrong with this system is high school, not the rest of the world.

Cut class. Take a seminar on french literature. Interview off campus. Safe is risky.”  (The Rest can be viewed at http://bit.ly/9uqTxQ)

I agree with Seth, and for all those students out there looking to get into healthcare leadership, you will need to take some risks.  Find a great leader, work an internship for free, build relationships, and think outside of the box…

The education system cannot completely prepare you for what you will need to be in our industry.  For that you will need mentors and experience, and you will probably only find that outside your comfort zone.

Think big.  Take calculated risks.  Be different!

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.