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Tips on How to Identify Strengths, Maximize Potential and Advance Your Career [PODCAST]

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In this episode, we’re pleased to welcome Teresa Rand, Former President and CEO of YMCA and Founder of Teresa Rand Consulting, to discuss tips on how to identify strengths, maximize potential, and advance your career.

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Highlights of this episode include:

  • Hard decisions as a leader
  • Training employees to reach their maximum potential
  • Best way to approach leaders to ask for change and advancement
  • What it takes to keep employees happy and help avoid burnout
  • Overcoming obstacles and creating growth opportunities
  • Good ways of determining your strengths and weaknesses

Kelly Wisness: Hi, this is Kelly Wisness. Welcome back to the award-winning Hospital Finance Podcast. We’re pleased to welcome Teresa Rand, former president and CEO of the YMCA and founder of Teresa Rand Consulting. With a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Jacksonville University and years of experience as a former CEO, Teresa understands the challenges of being in business and is passionate about helping employees achieve their dreams of climbing the career ladder, earning seats in the C-suite, and working in an inclusive organization. As a certified Gallup Strengths and DISC coach, and a national speaker’s academy graduate and member, Teresa inspires people to be their best selves and surround themselves with other successful people. In addition, Teresa also holds a certificate in women’s leadership from E-Cornell University, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business. She is the founder of the Boss Lady Community and the Boss Lady Podcast. She uses lessons from the last 29 years in her career to teach others how to avoid mistakes along the way and how to propel themselves towards the career of their dreams. In this episode, we’re discussing tips on how to identify strengths, maximize potential, and advance your career. Thank you for joining us today, Teresa.

Teresa Rand: Thank you for having me, Kelly. This is one of my favorite topics, so I’m glad to be here.

Kelly: I’m glad to have you. So, let’s jump in. So, leadership can be hard. Can you explain a time when you had to make a hard decision as a leader?

Teresa: Whew, there are so many. [laughter] I think one of our biggest challenges is learning how to intentionally speak up. There’s a difference between just speaking up and intentionally speaking up. Because very often, not as much as it was, but still a great deal of the time, we’re one of very few females around a leadership table where decisions are made. And we have to be very intentional about what we say and how we say it with a lot of confidence and not letting other people interrupt us. It’s been proven that men have a tendency, whether intentional or not, to interrupt us a lot. And we actually should practice with others on how to speak up, when to talk, when not to, and how to be full of confidence and not back down when we have something of importance to say.

Kelly: I completely agree with that. What can leaders do to ensure that they are training their employees to reach their maximum potential?

Teresa: This is one of my favorite topics. So often when we’re in difficult times in an organization, whether it’s just within the organization or it’s the economy, whatever the case may be, the first thing to go is a training budget. And I would challenge any leader to say that’s the last thing that needs to go. When you spend dollars on training your employees, they feel more appreciated. And one of the number one reasons – and it has been the same for over 30 years – that employees leave an organization, it is because of a direct relationship with their supervisor, which translates into meaning they do not feel appreciated. And investing in them. And sometimes it doesn’t cost a lot of money. It can be having an off-site. It can be taking everybody to a lunch, which doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. But it’s investing in them. Helping them grow and develop. And you’d be amazed at how many leaders say, “Well, I’m going to grow and develop them, and then they’re going to leave.” And yes, that’s a risk we take. But if you don’t invest in them, they’re going to leave anyway.

Kelly: That is very, very true. And it’s so important. When an employee feels stuck in the same place and isn’t seeing growth or advancement, what is the best way to approach their leader to ask for change and advancement?

Teresa: Again, I’ve already used the word intentional, but that’s one of my favorite words. I think you have to, first of all, be very honest with yourself. What is it you want? What is it you’re not getting? I call it, “What is your current reality, and what do you want to change about your current reality?” And first, write out what are the things you need to do to make those changes. Now, obviously, if we’re looking for a promotion or growth within an organization, we often need other people to help us grow or to offer us those promotions. But we have to speak up about that. If we’ve set a goal to be the next executive or the next market director, whatever it is, and we don’t tell anyone, people can’t read our mind. So, we do have to speak up. Often, the best time to do that is at your evaluation. Hopefully, you’re within an organization that’s not just doing those once a year and checking off the boxes. That there’s ongoing dialog throughout the year. But if a boss or supervisor doesn’t ask you about your goals, you can still tell them. You can say, “I’d like to take a moment,” or, “I’d like to set up a meeting to talk about my goals within the organization.” And then if your goals aren’t met in a timely manner that you think they should be, you have a decision to make. Do you want to continue to work there, or do you want to leave and try to find something else?

But the biggest piece of advice I give you is surround yourself with a couple of other people outside of your industry probably, not always, but often. I call these my personal board of directors. These are people that you can go to and ask their advice that are not your mother or your best friend that agree with everything you say. Because you may be being unreasonable in the amount of time you want to get promoted or the amount of work you’re doing versus what needs to be done. And the only way you’re going to do that is to bounce it off of other people before you go in with that game plan to ask for what you want.

Kelly: That is great advice. What does it take to keep employees happy and help avoid burnout?

Teresa: In my opinion, two things. One, we just talked about, training and/or appreciation. And it’s simple things. It’s not treating everybody the same way. You’ll find out what motivates a particular employee. It may be a $50 gift card. It may be an hour off early to attend a child’s soccer game or just an hour off early. Who doesn’t like to get off work an hour early? It may be more flexible, working from home and working in the office. We have to talk to each other is the number one thing. Appreciating employees does make happy employees and happy employees increase our productivity as a company. They increase the company’s productivity. But we can’t assume what makes me happy makes my employee happy. We have to ask the question. And we need to know our employees’ personalities. One size does not fit all. And of course, full disclosure. I do coaching and work with teams doing personality assessments. And it’s incredibly important to know what makes them tick, if you will. What is it that gets them out of bed and motivates them? And what is their base personality? And then you react to that. Because just because I may want the afternoon off, that may not be important to someone else. So, we have to ask. We have to talk. We have to communicate.

Kelly: Yes, communication is key. I completely agree. Business is about overcoming obstacles and creating growth opportunities. What do you see as the biggest challenge right now?

Teresa: The biggest challenge right now that I’m seeing is between employers and employees and when they come in the office and when they don’t. It’s simple if we’re in, let’s say, a fast-food industry. Obviously, they cannot make the hamburger from home. They have to come in the office. But so many of our jobs can be done from home or virtually. And I’ve seen companies I’ve worked with. They’re saying, “Absolutely not. This is the way we’ve always done it. They’re coming back in the office.” And then we’ve had others that have tried a few things. And that’s okay. I’ve worked with one company that first said, “Everybody’s got to come in the office.” Well, they were about to have a mass exodus because these people have been working from home for almost two years. So, they said, “Okay, you have to come in two days a week.” Then they found out, well, everybody didn’t come in on the same two days. So that didn’t do anything to help the culture. So, they identified the two days that everybody has to be in the office. They tried something, pulled back, tried something. They weren’t afraid to say, “Okay, we tried this, and it’s not working. Let’s change something.” And the sweet spot right now is three days in the office and two days at home. If your job avails itself to that. But that’s the biggest conversation piece that I’m hearing right now is, “I want more flexibility.” We had it for two years, and it’s hard to go back.

Kelly: Completely agree. I hear a lot of that myself. A lot of people out there aren’t fully sure about what career path they should be in or pursue. What is a good way of determining your strengths and weaknesses?

Teresa: Again, Kelly, we go back to a personality assessment. I do an executive coaching package called Career Clarity. And what we do is we do a personality assessment, whether it’s Gallup Strengths or it’s DISC, or it’s another one I use called Codebreaker. It doesn’t matter. They’re all very similar. So, it doesn’t really matter which one you do, but do an assessment of yourself. But it’s more than that. I do assessments on what kind of environment do I want to work in. Do I want to work all the time at home? Do I need to go in the office? I crave that type of being around other people more. Do I want to work inside, outside? What’s the industry? What’s the pay range? What’s my education? What do I need? And then I do an exercise on what kind of people do you want to work around. And one thing I can tell you – if I had to give your listeners a tip – write down the last three jobs you’ve had and the people that you worked with at those three jobs. And then look at that and write down the people that you really enjoyed working with, the people you did not enjoy working with, and what were the characteristics. And when you look at three jobs, that’s usually over 6, 7, 8, maybe 10 years, you will find some similarities in the kind of environment and the kind of people you want to be around. Because so often we think we want to leave job A because of ABC, and then we have a tendency to go find another job. And within six months, it’s exactly like the first job because we didn’t do an inventory of what makes us tick, what gets us out of bed every morning, what kind of environment do we want to be in, and what kind of people do we want to surround ourselves with? Because if any of those three is not satisfied, you’re not going to be in a happy place.

Kelly: That makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much for joining us today, Teresa, and for sharing all of this really fascinating and useful information.

Teresa: You are more than welcome, Kelly. I love talking about this stuff. I think the more we can invest in our employees, the happier they are, which prevents work-life burnout. [laughter] Because if we’re happy going to work, we don’t have a tendency to feel so burned out.

Kelly: Very true. If a listener wants to learn more or contact you to discuss this topic further, how best can they do that?

Teresa: It is very easy. It is my name dot com. It is Teresa with no H, T-E-R-E-S-A, Rand R-A-N-D, dot com.

Kelly: All right, fantastic. Thank you very much, Teresa. And thank you all for joining us for this episode of The Hospital Finance Podcast. Until next time…

[music] This concludes today’s episode of the Hospital Finance Podcast. For show notes and additional resources to help you protect and enhance revenue at your hospital, visit besler.com/podcasts. The Hospital Finance Podcast is a production of BESLER | SMART ABOUT REVENUE, TENACIOUS ABOUT RESULTS.

 

If you have a topic that you’d like us to discuss on the Hospital Finance podcast or if you’d like to be a guest, drop us a line at update@besler.com.

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