The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
recently released new statistics showing the CEO turnover is at an all-time
high of 20 percent. Yikes. So I should not have been surprised that the sessions
I conducted at ACHE’s Congress on "Developing Your Personal Brand” were
overflowing with close to 400 attendees.
Sure, developing your brand is essential for career success
and for constantly reinventing yourself. But consider the following:
The experience of care is the marketing for the
organization. People deliver experiences. Every one-to-one interaction defines
the experience. Therefore, every individual is the face of the experience. How
you "show up” matters. And how you "show up” defines your personal brand.
See, people are brands. And just as in life, there are
brands we love, brands we can’t stand, and brands where we simply have no
strong reaction either way. If people thought of themselves as brands, they
might pay more attention to how they show up, how they interact and ultimately
how they deliver experiences to co-workers, patients, family members and
everyone they encounter.
When I talk about personal branding, it mirrors how I talk
about branding a hospital or long-term care facility. Three things are
important – your position, your package, your promotion.
Position – not to get too deep, but who are you? What do you
stand for? Do you show up authentically every day? Or are you one persona at
home and another at work? If you are faking it or going through the motions,
people see through it. Be yourself.
I know CNA’s in nursing homes who are larger than life. They
have these wonderful, boisterous personalities and they make no apologies for
it. They also happen to be great caregivers because they sweep everyone up in
their enthusiasm so that you can’t help becoming infected by the good spirit. I
know for certain they are like that in all aspects of their life.
Package – People size you up the moment they see you and
before you ever open your mouth. From what you are wearing, to how you enter a
room, to the environment of your office – they all make statements about you.
There is no right or wrong. Everyone has his or her own style. Just keep in
mind that others are interpreting it.
Amy Cuddy exemplifies this? in her TED
videos talks about "Power Posing”.
Standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident,
can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have
an impact on our chances for success. And when you appear confident, a patient
has more confidence in you.
Promotion – as servant leaders, healthcare folks are very
shy about promoting or calling attention to themselves. Certainly if you want
to advance your career, reinvent yourself, and find your next spot, you can’t
be shy. But in terms of patient experience, just know that the experience of
care affects the marketing. Specifically, it impacts word of mouth. People talk
about experiences and they often talk about it in terms of individual
caregivers. So it is important to know that people will talk about you. What
will they say? And how will it reflect on the organization?
Branding is a tricky proposition. Even the best fail
sometimes. But simply being aware that you are a brand will help you more
consciously pay attention to the experience your brand is providing to those
you care for daily.
FACHE, ABC, is president of Fast Forward Consulting, which specializes in experience management
and strategic marketing for healthcare facilities. He also is the expert guide in Assisted Living for About.com.