Poking life..

Found this citation of Steve Jobs worth sharing with you!

“When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

“The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

“I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”   — Steve Jobs

You can change your life, there are no boundaries. Just listen to your heart and fo it. Reach inward and step forward!

Meet the ‘under’ achievers, meet Sandbox

Last night I was invited for drinks with a group of great ‘under’ achievers called Sandbox. I call them ‘under’ achievers because of their awesome mission: “Some organizations incubate companies – we incubate people. Our mission is to accelerate young leaders and help them have a global impact before they become 30.” These boys and girls are the living proof that you can accomplish great things before you are thirty years old. From selling ties to changing education, all these people have a unique drive to make a dent in the universe and contribute to something much bigger than themselves.

It felt really good to be among like minded people and once more I found living proof that the question shouldn’t be “how intelligent are you?” but “how are you intelligent?”. We all have different dreams and different skill-sets but if we find a way to align these two, amazing things happen. Sharing this spirit and learning from each other made my head spin so hard I couldn’t sleep last night but it was so worth it! Thanx to @tim_rutten for the invite and see you all soon!!




‘If Zappos would run your hospital’ or ‘Delivering happiness to patients’

One of the books I recommend to everybody is ‘Delivering Happiness‘ by Tony Hsieh. Tony is the CEO of Zappos.com, a remarkable american online shoes and clothing company. This might not sound interesting at first but when you take a closer a look at the remarkable philosophy that Zappos lives and works by, you’ll be amazed! In this blog I will dive into the unique Zappos company brand and culture and elaborate on what would happen if you would use this philosophy in a hospital (or any other company or institution).

Zappos: Company Culture
At Zappos, they belief that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff — like great customer service, or building a great long-term brand, or passionate employees and customers — will happen naturally on its own. They believe that your company culture and your company brand are really just two sides of the same coin. The brand may lag the culture at first, but eventually it will catch up.

Your culture is your brand. So how do you build and maintain the culture that you want?

It starts with the hiring process. At Zappos, they actually do two different sets of interviews. The hiring manager and his/her team will do the standard set of interviews looking for relevant experience, technical ability, fit within the team, etc. But then the HR department does a separate set of interviews, looking purely for culture fit. Candidates have to pass both sets of interviews in order to be hired.

They have actually said no to a lot of very talented people that they knew could make an immediate impact on their top or bottom line. But because these candidates weren’t culture fits, they were willing to sacrifice the short term benefits in order to protect the culture (and therefore the brand) for the long term.

A hospital is not a business?
Circque du Soleil is not in the circus business
You’re both in the experience and emotion business
You’re both in the stories and memories business
Think bigger!

In most cases healthcare is a completely different beast than the business world but where it is similar is in the people. This means, the experience a patient has can make or break how they view a hospital, which in turn changes how they talk about it with their friends and family.

People may not remember exactly what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel

As patients we would love healthcare institutions to make us happy, empower us and really feel welcomed. Any institution that doesn’t have clearly defined values or mission that everyone can undertand and stand by is going to have a hard time giving that patient the experience they are looking for.

Often hospital employees (and especially doctors) don’t know any better, they are not trained to think about the patient as a customer. I know a few of you will disagree with the statement but I believe it is true, patients can go anywhere they choose.

It’s time to break the fear of being human. The same accounts for the customer care center. I have seen it far too often, students working at the call center  reading off a script, following the steps and passing a patient off to some unknown department because their screen told them to. Zappos has a communication policy that states “Be real and use your best judgement”, they let their employees be human and trust they will do the right thing. Often the biggest fear is some sort of “incident” where the blame gets put on the employees, this paralyzes them and forces the, take the safest route possible which in turn produces a sub par experience for the patients. If Tony ran a hospital who knows what could happen. One thing I know for sure is that nobody would be able to turn a blind eye from the true culture and values of the institution.

Every business or service institution can learn a lot from this book and Zappos in general, it’s not all about numbers, it’s about doing what is right for the people.  Be real and embrace the potentially “ugly” side of your institution and don’t be afraid to take risks. As long as your intentions are good there is always something to learn from the experience.

More and more healthcare related issues can be found (and solved) online.  This means that an empathic reaction from a doctor or nurse has to take the overhand. As patients are interacting with your hospital at a younger age and words get spread instantly these days, be sure to always deliver happiness at every interaction. They will remember the experience and spread it to their friends and family.

By the way, if you work at a bank,  a school / university, a big telco or any other line of business…simply change the word hospital into your field and see if the same rules apply, you’ll be amazed! Delivering Happiness works everywhere!