Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leading with Vision in a Challenging Economy

As organizations everywhere deal with the changes demanded by a challenging economy, I find myself extremely focused on business strategy. This is especially true for me during budget development season! To live out its mission as an organization, it is clear that now more than ever its leadership must be disciplined and sensible. It is of utmost importance to identify a course and do everything to stay on that path.

While a wise business plan is essential, a potential side effect of that mentality is the tendency to become so calculated about our plan, so myopic as we pore over the details, that we forget about our ultimate mission. As I’ve been contemplating this, I came across an excerpt from Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers in an eBook by Seth Godin. Michael Hyatt says this about vision:

Vision is the lifeblood of any organization. It is what keeps it moving forward. It provides meaning to the day-to-day challenges and setbacks that make up the rumble and tumble of real life.

In a down economy—particularly one that has taken most of us by surprise—things get very tactical. We are just trying to survive. What worked yesterday does not necessarily work today. What works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. Decisions become pragmatic.

But after a while this wears on people. They don’t know why their efforts matter. They cannot connect their actions to a larger story. Their work becomes a matter of just going through the motions, living from weekend to weekend, paycheck to paycheck.

This is where great leadership makes all the difference. Leadership is more than influence. It is about reminding people of what it is we are trying to build—and why it matters. It is about painting a picture of a better future. It comes down to pointing the way and saying, “C’mon. We can do this!”

When times are tough, vision is the first causality. Before conditions can improve, it is the first thing we must recover.

Michael Hyatt is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He blogs on “Leading with Purpose” at MichaelHyatt.com and also Twitters @MichaelHyatt.

So, I guess it’s a good time to remind ourselves, and myself, about our corporate vision. So, here's Work Systems’ mission, vision, and promise:

MISSION – Empowering individuals with health solutions that enable them to get well and stay well.
VISION – Healthy people... body, mind, and spirit.
OUR PROMISE – Work Systems will consistently demonstrate dependability, trustworthiness, respect as we empower individuals with functional health solutions.

Here’s to a successful and healthy 2010! My prayer is that you will recognize the larger story that you’re writing by your daily efforts. I pray that you live out that vision, both individually and collectively. And I pray that you understand just how much you matter. To realize the mission, your organization needs you.

Get well! Stay well!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Benevolent or Malevolent?

I’ve recently just been introduced to a Brian Tracy's website. Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. His goal is to help individuals achieve personal and business goals faster and easier than they’ve ever imagined. While I don’t know him or his philosophies well, something he wrote resonated with me today:

“There are two ways to look at the world: the benevolent way or the malevolent way. People with a malevolent or negative worldview take a victim stance, seeing life as a continuous succession of problems and a process of unfairness and oppression. They don't expect a lot and they don't get much. When things go wrong, they shrug their shoulders and passively accept that this is the way life is and there isn't anything they can do to make it better.

On the other hand, people with a benevolent or positive worldview see the world around them as filled with opportunities and possibilities. They believe that everything happens as part of a great process designed to make them successful and happy. They approach their lives, their work, and their relationships with optimism, cheerfulness, and a general attitude of positive expectations. They expect a lot and they are seldom disappointed.”

I don't believe that the primary goal of all that happens is to make a person successful and happy. That is a pretty egocentric point of view. There are certainly many definitions of the words “successful” and “happy.” However, I do believe his statement is true in general. People that are benevolent are optimistic, cheerful, and positive.

I have been making a conscious effort to focus on being benevolent recently. Unfortunately, some days that requires more effort than others for me. However, when I can achieve a benevolent attitude, my days generally do go better.

As an organization, Work Systems is setting big one-year and three-year goals. At times, I find it easy to fall into the temptation of thinking (and believing) that, despite good intentions, things will not change. And to truly expect big changes by simply changing an attitude, by being benevolent, is foolish.

Changing the future from the trends of the present or recent past requires solutions, creativity in problem-solving. But to effectively implement these plans, an attitude of benevolence is critical.

I invite you to pursue benevolence. Will you shrug your shoulders and accept the status quo as inevitable? Are you prone to believe that the current situation is unchangeable? Do you have a victim mentality?

Or are you making yourself aware of the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead? Are you viewing today as a stepping-stone for a brighter tomorrow?

Join me in expecting a lot, and you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is Happiness Contentment?

Stolen directly from Dave Ramsey's newsletter (http://dr.daveramsey.com/etc/newsletters/company/113009.cfm) on his website, Dave reminds me, once again, that happiness and contentment are not synonymous.


Back to the Basics of Christmas

No matter what your budget is this Christmas, remember to be thankful. Take a deep breath in the middle of all this craziness.

You might have a lot. You might have a little. If you are driving a beater, be thankful for that beater. You would rather drive that than walk, wouldn't you? There is always something to be thankful for.

That's what contentment is all about. When you understand and really grasp contentment, it becomes easier to save money and invest. Stress slowly disappears. Budgeting is easier. Relationships improve.

Be happy with what you have. More than three billion people, almost half the world, live on $2.50 a day. Sometimes we need a little perspective to become content with our current situation.

Without contentment, it's easy to be bitter and apathetic. Happiness is sold to us, especially during this time of year. We think if we can just get one more piece of stuff that "true" happiness will be right around the corner.

We say things like, "I'll be happy when I get that house!" or "I'll be happy when I get that new car!" But happiness cannot be bought. Sure fun—in the form of a house, a car, a new LCD television—can be bought, but fun is temporary. True happiness, or contentment, is lasting.

You can get out of debt, save money, and get on a budget, but until you realize that stuff doesn’t bring contentment, you will always feel stressed and unhappy. Contentment brings peace. And isn’t this time of year about bringing "peace on earth and good will toward men"?

Remember what this deal is all about. It's not about trees, lights, gifts, baked hams, and shopping malls. It’s about a little child who was born in a manger and grew up to die on a cross. It’s about peace on earth and good will toward men.

So if the Christmas frenzy is wearing you out, you've missed the point of Christmas. Make a plan with your money, and make a plan to get back in touch with the true meaning of this special day.

You are invited to Dave's Give Like No One Else Christmas at DaveRamsey.com. Daily giveaways and great articles will make you want to check back every day to see what's new.


Peace and blessings to you as you prepare yourself for a contented Christmas!

Get well! Stay well!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Free eBook Giveaway: Exercising with Diabetes

As many of you have already heard, WSR&F is giving away free copies of our original eBook on "Exercising with Diabetes."

Most of you already know that diabetes is a serious disease that leads to potentially life threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation. It is a silent, progressive illness that sneaks up on individuals over the years, and is a leading cause of death across the world. Chances are that someone you know and love is suffering from diabetes.

It's time to take massive action to combat diabetes. It is our responsibility to take a bold, preventive approach, and that's exactly what WSR&F is doing. In recent years, the American Diabetes Association reports that:
  • 24 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes
  • 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes
  • 1 out of every 3 children born today will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue.
Let's face it, there's much to be done.

Like the child on the beach saving starfishes one at a time, WSR&F is reaching out to it's friends to help make a dent in this preventable disease. So, we're going all out over the next few weeks.

To get your free eBook with lots of critical information on preventing and managing diabetes through simple exercise, just follow these four simple steps:

1. Leave a comment on this post!

2. Add a comment on the WSR&F Facebook Group page!

Visit the WSR&F Facebook Group Page and leave a comment on the main thread I started specifically for the giveaway. It’s the one that starts with “I’m giving away a FREE copy of…” .

3. Tweet out the giveaway on Twitter!

Simply tweet out (copy and paste into Twitter) the following message:

Work Systems is giving away FREE copy of “Exercising with Diabetes” eBook over on @tvmolen – http://worksystems.blogspot.com.

4) Enlist in our Newsletter Updates!

Last, but certainly not least, just click on our latest newsletter link and click on the "Join Our Mailing List!" link.

There... that's all. Not only will you get important exercise information, but I've recently updated the eBook to include some excellent information on some simple nutritional changes that can also help prevent and manage this disease.

Get well! Stay well!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Growing Roots... Being a Peacemaker

Today I was again challenged by Pastor Kevin's series on Growing Roots. His emphasis today was on the Beatitudes and, in particular, being a peacemaker.

Be honest. When you think of peacemaking, what comes to mind? Over the past several decades, our cultural evolution has gradually turned the idea of peace into something passive. The pursuit of peace is now fundamentally equated with acceptance and tolerance with the goal of living in harmony. As a result, it is not as politically correct to use assertive means to pursue peace.

Ultimately, the root cause of this issue is the slippery slope that has been made out of absolute truth. Without absolute truth, no one can claim to have a better way, and, therefore, all ways are equal and deserving of respect.

On a more personal level, I have seen this play out in my relationships. In my younger years, I was a conflict avoider. When I experienced an interpersonal conflict, I found it easier and less stressful to ignore differences in opinion and personality. I played a passive role in my attempt to maintain the peace. Unfortunately, this strategy did not bring about peace and my relationships remained broken. And my end goal - harmony - was impossible to attain.

As I've matured, I have come to understand that peacemaking is an active process. I realize that unresolved conflict sabotages relationships, and broken relationships affect teamwork and unity. I recognize that it is impossible to foster peace by remaining passive when conflict arises, and it inevitably will arise! Relationships require work, and peace is an active process.

My encouragement to you when you experience conflict is this: Don't take the "easy" way out and passively avoid it. When you experience conflict, acknowledge it. Be intentional to voice its presence and vigilant in your efforts to alleviate it. That is the truly the only way to bring about harmony.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Aristotle and the Pursuit of Excellence

Back when Mark and I were making designs to build our fitness facility in Pella and dreaming about what that space would become, I ran across a quote that has stuck with me over the years. I believe I was onsite at Clow Valve when I read a statement about excellence from Aristotle:

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

It had such an impact on me that one of my visions was to paint motivational quotes on the walls of the fitness floor. This quote was at the top of my list. It has implications for all spheres of life – the physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual.

Growing a business gives me ample opportunity to put this truth to practice. However, that’s easier said than done. Certainly there is no shortage of things to do. I have an extreme passion for excellence, but I haven’t always been successful at marking my course. It's been said that a goal without a plan is only a wish. Developing excellence while attempting to manage what seems like a million tasks seems an impossible task at times. It’s easy to get lost in the forest of responsibilities. I find it easy to think big and see the big picture, but determining my individual, daily steps to get there can be a challenge. I wish...

To provide the structure I need, I have found that it is essential to make a map for each day. Sometimes mentally, sometime physically I jot down a priority list of things that must be accomplished today. I guess you could call this my “act rightly” list. If I want to achieve excellence and demonstrate virtue today, I must habituate myself – train myself – to accomplish these most important tasks.

You’ve heard it said that “the harder you work the, the luckier you are.” The gist of that adage is that luck really isn’t luck at all. Excellence is the same way. It’s not an accident or a coincidence that a person or an organization is successful. One fortunate break does not breed excellence. No, it’s all about acting rightly, training yourself (habituation) to repeatedly do what must be done.

Yes, it’s necessary to act rightly to achieve my desired outcome – excellence. My successes and yours – past, present, and future – are not at all a result of luck. Our healthy habits will bring about a predictable and desirable response – EXCELLENCE. Have you developed a plan to reach your goal, or are you only wishing? Have you prepared your map for today?

Fighting (and Winning) the Battle

As many of you know, I've been on the Take Shape For Life plan for two months now. While I've enjoyed great success so far, it has been a battle in many ways. Understanding my ultimate physical goal - optimal health - and continuously confirming that pursuit as my fundamental aim has been critical.

I was reminded of strategies for fighting the battle at church (Third, Pella, IA) yesteday when Pastor Kevin spoke on spiritual warfare. He emphasized that culture today is taken by the supernatural in part because we have ignored the reality of the spiritual world in our everday lives for so long.

The fact that we contrast the natural with the supernatural reveals that we have bought into a false dualism, that we consider these two worlds as entirely separate of each other. However, the reality of the supernatural in everyday life is obvious. Do you see evidence of sin? Do you battle temptation? Do you understand the daily war that is raging between the worlds of good and evil?

In a spiritual sense, Pastor Kevin encouraged us to "take out the garbage", "take daily showers", and "put on the armor of God." In essence, he was emphasizing how important it is in the material world to understand the temptations and deal with them in a strategic way.

As a Christian, it is my fundamental goal to be transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. I guess you could call that my pursuit for optimal spiritual health. If I do not make that a daily priority, I become complacent to the attacks against me that are counter to that fundamental goal. But if I continuously remind myself of that fundamental goal, I will be prepared to capture my thoughts and make them subservient to my fundamental goal. My daily actions will support my fundamental spiritual goal.

The same is true in my pursuit of optimal physical health. Every day I am faced with new temptations. If I allow myself to forget my fundamental goal, I create a foothold for my desire for instant gratification to get the best of me. I can easily rationalize one little piece of this or that until I've sabotaged my fundamental goal of optimal health.

For those of you who've surrounded my on this journey with me, thanks for your support. For those of you who've been battling similar battles, let this be an encouragement to you. When faced with tempation, you have 10 seconds to win the battle in your mind. Make it a habit to remind yourself of your fundamental goal, and you're one step closer to winning the battle.

Do you have any garbage you need to take out? Get rid of the temptations! Have you taken your shower today? Don't let that past failure define you and continue to wreak havoc! Have you donned your armor? Keep developing strategies that allow you to fight the battle well!

Get well! Stay well!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Week 6 - Take Shape For Life

It's been a few weeks since I've updated you on my progress on Take Shape For Life, so here goes...

Log on to http://www.davidbushlive.com/ to get signed up for a free seminar we're holding to learn more about the Take Shape For Life plan. You may also leave a comment for me if you want me to share more information with you about my personal experiences on the plan.

Thanks for your continued interest and encouragement!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Take Shape For Life Journey - Day 4

Watch the newest installment of my Take Shape For Life Journey where I talk about the early challenges and quick results of the first few days on the plan. I also answer questions from people who've asked me about my physical symptoms and my past nutrition habits. If you are a breakfast skipper or don't drink enough water, you'll benefit from hearing this!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Take Shape For Life Journey - Day 0

After much contemplation, I've decided to take the plunge. Recently many around me have improved their health and well-being by losing weight through the Take Shape For Life program. So... I'm diving in.

Truth be told, I was hesitant to make this decision. I hadn't gotten on a scale in at least 3 years. It didn't matter. I knew I had gradually added pounds. Besides lacking energy, my clothes simply aren 't fitting the same. I can hide behind my ignorance no more. I got on the scale today. It is time.

So, I'm going to be doing the 5-and-1 plan - 5 meal replacements (shakes, oatmeal, soups, pudding, bars, etc.) and one "lean and green" meal daily. I'll eat these small meals throughout the day and take in plenty of water.

Though I'm not a picky eater, I'm not really a great fan of meal substitutes. I'd much rather eat "real" food. However, these replacements are physician-approved. In fact, it's the Medifast product, a weight-loss plan developed by a physician and recommended by thousands of physicians throughout the world.

The process is simple. But that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be easy. I guess I'm about to find out. Join me as I chronicle my experience on YouTube. In this first installment, you'll learn what I learned when I got on the scale, and you'll hear my weight loss goal. That ought to help with the accountability!

Friday, August 28, 2009

How Do You Define Physical Therapy?

Many people still are not familiar with the roles that physical therapists play. A co-worker of mine was discussing his line of work with an individual who, though he regularly visited his chiropracter, contended that he never really had a need for physical therapy.

I often explain that my primary job as a physical therapist is related to my expertise in movement science. When something doesn't function as it ought to, it affects neighboring areas of the body (remember my last post on the body of Christ and personal accountability?). Restoring normal movement is necessary for optimal health.

This video from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) does a pretty good job of explaining the role physical therapy plays in the health care field:

Move Forward: Physical Therapy Brings Motion to Life

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Ever Happened To Personal Accountability?

As I continue to accumulate years (sounds better than the word "age"), I am becoming more familiar with the adage about time speeding up. It is unbelievable that we moved from Iowa City to Pella, Iowa over 8 years ago. Since my family and I moved, life has been a whirlwind in many ways.

In the past 2 years in particular, I have changed. Thanks to the wisdom of Dave Ramsey, who I try to follow as much as I can on my XM Radio, our family has changed our spending habits and is nearly debt-free (except for the home mortgage). His constant and unwavering commitment to the "Baby Steps" have been an inspiration to me.

Through Dave's teaching, I have come to realize that I control my own destiny. As a Believer, of course, I know I have my limitations. I know that God ultimately has a specific and unique plan for my life. (On a tangential note, I've never understood the title of the 1940's book, "God Is My Co-Pilot." Shouldn't he be the pilot and I'll play the role of the co-pilot? I guess I should read the book before I comment.) However, Dave has taught (or constantly reminded me) that I am personally accountable for my own actions.

Personal accountability is a Biblical concept. Romans 14 tells us that someday we will present a personal account to God. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that we are members of a body, the body of Christ, which requires each person in the body to cooperate with the others. And Galatians 6 even tells us that we're accountable to others, our friends, and to encourage them when they waiver.

As a physical therapist, I have a unique view of personal accountability. Unfortunately, all to often it is the lack of personal accountability that stands out. I do not profess to have skills as a physical therapist that will provide the health benefit that each and every person desires. For those that do have a condition that would benefit from my physical therapy skills, though, the most common reason an individual does not achieve his potential is a lack of follow-through. These people do not hold themselves personally accountable to do what they must.

I often consult with industries to provide optimal health solutions. It is sad, even maddeningly frustrating, to observe a corporate culture that is permeated with a "blame them" mentality. When some refers the "them" when describing the source of the problem and that person has the same employer as he who is speaking, there's a problem with personal accountability.

Let's not even get into politics! In the wake of Ted Kennedy's passing, I find myself longing again for the message made popular by his brother, JFK, as he poignantly expressed, "Ask not what your country can do for you..." to be politically correct once again. What can we do about blame, complaining, and procrastination? Look inward.

It is Dave Ramsey who introduced me to John Miller and his book (and philosophy) "QBQ!: The Question Behind the Question." It is a short, easy-to-read book dedicated to blowing the horn of personal accountability. A simple attitude shift ("How can I make a difference?) brings about amazing results: problems get solved, internal barriers come down, service improves, teamwork grows, and people adapt more quickly to change.

Do you have any personal accounts of examples of personal accountability you can share?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is Profit Ruining Health Care?

I am a semi-avid reader of the Evidence in Motion/ MyPhysicalTherapySpace blog. In a recent entry, this blog referenced an article by columnist and surgeon Atul Gawande in The New Yorker from June 1, 2009 (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande?currentPage=all) that discusses in length the debate in health care about rising prices, quality of service, and referral for profit.

It’s a long and interesting article, but the section I’ve included below has some poignant points as it compares a system (like Grand Junction and Mayo) that has focused their efforts on quality care first and foremost and primarily pay their health care providers a salary to a system (like McAllen, Texas) that has created a “shopping center”, profit-driven medical system that often pays based upon revenue generated.

When you look across the spectrum from Grand Junction to McAllen—and the almost threefold difference in the costs of care—you come to realize that we are witnessing a battle for the soul of American medicine. Somewhere in the United States at this moment, a patient with chest pain, or a tumor, or a cough is seeing a doctor. And the damning question we have to ask is whether the doctor is set up to meet the needs of the patient, first and foremost, or to maximize revenue.

There is no insurance system that will make the two aims match perfectly. But having a system that does so much to misalign them has proved disastrous. As economists have often pointed out, we pay doctors for quantity, not quality. As they point out less often, we also pay them as individuals, rather than as members of a team working together for their patients. Both practices have made for serious problems.

Providing health care is like building a house. The task requires experts, expensive equipment and materials, and a huge amount of coordination. Imagine that, instead of paying a contractor to pull a team together and keep them on track, you paid an electrician for every outlet he recommends, a plumber for every faucet, and a carpenter for every cabinet. Would you be surprised if you got a house with a thousand outlets, faucets, and cabinets, at three times the cost you expected, and the whole thing fell apart a couple of years later? Getting the country’s best electrician on the job (he trained at Harvard, somebody tells you) isn’t going to solve this problem. Nor will changing the person who writes him the check.

This last point is vital. Activists and policymakers spend an inordinate amount of time arguing about whether the solution to high medical costs is to have government or private insurance companies write the checks. Here’s how this whole debate goes. Advocates of a public option say government financing would save the most money by having leaner administrative costs and forcing doctors and hospitals to take lower payments than they get from private insurance. Opponents say doctors would skimp, quit, or game the system, and make us wait in line for our care; they maintain that private insurers are better at policing doctors. No, the skeptics say: all insurance companies do is reject applicants who need health care and stall on paying their bills. Then we have the economists who say that the people who should pay the doctors are the ones who use them. Have consumers pay with their own dollars, make sure that they have some “skin in the game,” and then they’ll get the care they deserve. These arguments miss the main issue. When it comes to making care better and cheaper, changing who pays the doctor will make no more difference than changing who pays the electrician. The lesson of the high-quality, low-cost communities is that someone has to be accountable for the totality of care. Otherwise, you get a system that has no brakes. You get McAllen.

Work Systems has long believed that autonomous, independent physical therapy and occupational therapy practices dedicated to providing quality services with integrity is what is best for the public. Unfortunately, we are struggling to maintain market share while competing against providers that partner with physicians who are currently capable of taking advantage of loopholes that exist in the Stark regulations. Loopholes that create a financial incentive for self-referral.

I agree with the columnist. The need for a general contractor does exist. I personally do not believe the government should play that role, but someone definitely should. What do you think?