Turning failure into lessons for success

Growing Up as a CEO

Learning to take responsibility for your mistakes

Table of Contents

The Truth

There are lots of things to learn as a CEO (or other type of leader) in the IDD or special needs service arena. Most of these vital nuggets of knowledge can be learned through courses, blogs, observation and mentorship. However one of the most difficult things that must be grasped if you are to succeed in any significant and lasting capacity comes from within; the ability to squarely take responsibility for the difficulties you get your company into and then take appropriate action.

The Consequence

Problems will keep resurfacing until you recognize how your actions helped create them in the first place. That may seem obvious, but most people have a hard time seeing the role they played. It’s always easier to point the finger at employees, circumstances, bad luck, the devil or other forces beyond your control than to admit that you’re to blame.

Believe me I spent years deluding myself (and no-one else) that I didn’t make mistakes. I’d make excuses while feeling sincerely offended if anyone even hinted at the fact that I might be slightly mistaken about something. I had a hard time taking responsibility for any thing that I defined as a failure. As an inevitable consequence I created some very painful situations that forced me to see myself for what I was ‘a regular, fallible human being’. Nothing more, nothing less and certainly nothing to be embarrassed or in denial about.

Some people may refuse to acknowledge their part in their company’s problems not because they are feel they’re incapable of making mistakes, in fact just the opposite! They feel overwhelmed by the situation and incapable of thinking of a solution let alone implementing one. If this is your problem – you are not alone. Every successful CEO of note (think Jack Welch, GE, Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Indra Nooyi, Pepsi) knows that you don’t have to have all the answers you just need to know who to go to for the answers. Not to toot our horn too much but Focused Software helps clients with the answers to lots of questions (not just EHR related issues) eg policies, procedures, change management, regulatory issues etc.  

The Solution

There is a great sense of freedom and a keenness of clarity  associated with admitting to a mistake. It may feel uncomfortable initially but once admitted (even if it’s just to yourself) things will get better – I promise.

As with most things just admitting a misstep isn’t the end of the matter. I’m not talking about apologizing to offended parties (although if appropriate that would be good and a show of character and integrity on your part). I’m talking about committing to making changes in your character and in your business that will lead to future success. This means recognizing and taking responsibility for your mistakes earlier so that they don’t have time to fester, become more costly and less easy to recover from. 

Stop procrastinating and burying your head in the sand! As an example almost all of the providers I have spoken to know that inevitably everyone will have to move to an electronic health record (EHR) because documentation requirements are getting more complex, HHS and other payers such as managed care organizations (MCOs) are demanding them. Even more meaningful is the fact that EHRs make consumer data easier to retrieve and keep up to date as well as making  it easier to stay in compliance and run an efficient business. Your company might have even received a citation that a standard EHR would have helped prevent. However, a significant number of the same leaders (CEOs, COOs, owners and decision makers) of these large and small IDD service companies keep putting off the implementation of an EHR. Why? Do they think it will be easier or cheaper to implement the more complex their organization grows? Do they think the purchase of an EHR could possibly be more costly than employing numerous staff to do the work the software can do in a fraction of the time with more reliability? Are they waiting for the chaos that will ensue when HHS mandates the move?  

At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start being successful….. –  Erin Cummings

The Commitment

Acknowledge your mistake(s) e.g. procrastinating the implementation of important things or being overly risk-averse then commit to doing everything in your power to ensure that your company moves into the future with it’s chances of success fully optimized. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are; don’t undermine all of that work now! Continuing the previous example, find out what EHR options you have (start with Focused!) and ask what it will take for the EHR to succeed at your company, ask about a history of each EHR vendor’s customer service, find out what YOU will have to do to make it a success, develop a tracking mechanism so as efficiencies are gained you can measure increased output from your staff in time and money, determine which of your staff can be relied upon to perform key EHR rollout functions (you won’t be able to do it all yourself).

The Safeguards

Once you identify any  personal weaknesses that might trip you up in the future, come up with a variety of mechanisms to circumvent your own bad habits, such as creating an open environment where staff can quickly bring their own concerns/mistakes to you, addressing other staff mistakes professionally and fairly (even if this means dismissal it can still be handled tactfully and compassionately), insisting on surrounding yourself only with enthusiastic focused employees who know what your vision is and are committed to attaining company goals.  This will not be easy and it will take time but you can do it!

The Results

Always ask what role, if any, you had to play in creating the messes your company finds itself in. It doesn’t make you less of a person, in fact, these days you might just be that increasingly rare bird – a secure mature person who has the self-confidence to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes with grace. As a consequence you will develop the knowledge necessary to become an even better CEO/leader tomorrow. Now doesn’t that sound good?

Don't stay an immature CEO!

Growing Up as a CEO - It's a Choice!

Taking responsibility is a characteristic of a mature CEO/owner. It demands boldness, self-confidence and humility which allows you to see things as they are and not as you'd like them to be. If part of the change you'd like to see at your company involves an EHR call Focused Software. We'll collaborate with you to create a rollout plan tailored for your unique company needs; all with 24/7 live customer service!

Call NOW – (281) 884 3537 ext. 117

Focused Blog List

2019 (18)
  • September 1 | GROWING A STRONG DIRECT CARE WORKFORCE (IDD Business Management)
    The turnover rate of direct care staff (DCS) among companies providing care in the community can range from 44-166% of staff each year! Every owner/administrator knows they cannot provide services without direct care staff but very few companies have successfully managed to retain large numbers of these essential members of the healthcare team. Here we cover 10 proven strategies for successfully retaining your direct cares staff.
  • July 28 | Getting Things Done For Busy Developmental Disability Service Providers (IDD Business Management)
    Providers who serve people with intellectual or developmental disabilities are some of the busiest people I know. Here we review David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” system widely described as effective, simple, timeless and can be done anywhere, anytime on paper or even on your smartphone. Let’s get productive!
  • June 30 | Problem Solving For LTSS Providers (IDD Business Management, Intellectual or Developmental Disability – Character and Wellness)
    When was the last time you had no fires to put out at work? Have Sunday nights simply become miserable preludes to manic Monday mornings? Problems and bad habits can be changed. Changing your (work) life takes humility, maturity, thought and effort but you’re totally worth it and you can do it. And we’re here to help!
  • June 16 | Billing and Payment Review Survival Guide for IDD Providers (IDD Business Management, IDD Regulatory)
    Billing and Payment Reviews (AKA Financial Audits) don’t have to be scary events for IDD service providers. Maintaining accurate and compliant documentation at all times will help you face any auditor at any time with confidence. Let us show you how!
  • June 2 | How to Overcome Your Fear of Change at Work (IDD Business Management, Intellectual or Developmental Disability – Character and Wellness)
    Many of us desperately crave change at work — yet we are uncomfortable and terrified when it occurs. Learn how to overcome your fear of change at work and welcome it as source for career growth.
  • May 26 | Measuring IDD Service Success (IDD Business Management)
    Measuring the success of an IDD service company is critical to business growth. If you don’t know how well you’re doing compared to last year’s profits or even how you’re doing compared to your competitors then you’re missing vital information. Learn the key measures of success you should be tracking in this article.
  • May 5 | Workflow Process Improvement for Long Term Care (Uncategorized)
    Workflow improvement for long term services and supports is a do-or-die decision for all companies that serve people with IDD/Special Needs. The current industry environment of increased regulatory and documentation requirements, cost cutting and direct care staff shortages mean continuous improvements are critical.
  • April 21 | Workflow Redesign for Special Needs Agencies (Uncategorized)
    Workflow redesign is the 3rd optimization step. We create solutions to inefficiencies (see last blog), improve quality metrics and revenues as well as our capacity to serve an increased number of people with IDD.​
  • April 7 | IDD Service Workflow Analysis (IDD Business Management)
    We have learned how to prioritize which of our many business processes to map out for the biggest and quickest impact. Now we look into asking the right questions in IDD service workflow analysis so we clearly identify key problems that decrease our efficiencies and cost the company time and money! Let’s get started.
  • March 24 | IDD Service Workflow Optimization (IDD Business Management)
    Every business on earth follows repetitive processes to get work done; this includes companies serving people with IDD/special needs. Optimizing these processes is essential for the survival and growth of every business. Learn how to optimize specifically chosen processes in your business to increase profits and efficiency, decrease waste and make work more enjoyable for you, your staff and your clients.
  • March 10 | Sexual Harassment in the IDD Workplace (IDD Regulatory)
    Employers are responsible for handling complaints of sexual harassment in the intellectual or developmental disability workplace. The consequences of delayed or inappropriate response can be significant for the victim and employer.
  • February 24 | The Art Of Compromise In The IDD Workplace (IDD Business Management)
    In today’s IDD service industry, it is almost impossible to run an organization without compromising due to the complexities of dealing with state regulators, guardians, staff, colleagues, third party vendors and clients. Compromising well is a vital skill that all IDD service leaders need to acquire. Read on for more.
  • February 10 | Lessons From A(nother) Government Shutdown (IDD Business Management)
    For the IDD service provider government shutdowns can have significant direct and indirect impact. Similar to natural disaster preparedness you should ensure that your business has a well thought-out plan for dealing with government shutdowns and other high-impact financial challenges.
  • February 3 | Strategic Marketing For IDD Service Providers (IDD Business Management)
    Here we review the final step in strategic marketing for IDD service providers – the who, what and where of our marketing plan. This delineates exactly how our team will ensure that we reach the right potential clients with the right message.
  • January 27 | Setting Marketing Goals For Success (IDD Business Management)
    How do you identify candidates that possess the skills you need AND fit in with your company culture? Ask the right questions! Read on for vital issues to consider and questions to ask to help ensure you hire right!
  • January 20 | Developing Marketing Plans For IDD Companies (IDD Business Management)
    Marketing plans may seem complicated but they can be as short as one page. An IDD marketing plan seeks to answer one question. Find out what this question is AND how to draft a straightforward marketing plan tailor-made for your IDD service company.
  • January 13 | The ONE Step To SURE Success Launching Your EHR (IDD Business Management)
    There is just ONE step you can take TODAY that will almost certainly guarantee the successful implementation of an EHR in your IDD service business. This is the fastest way to guarantee rollout possible. Read our blog to find out what it is!
  • January 6 | Sex, Sexuality and People with IDD (Intellectual or Developmental Disability – Character and Wellness)
    Sex and sexuality can be difficult topics to discuss. However it is essential to assist people served to make wise choices. Here we give you practical help in addressing this vital issue while protecting your clients.
2018 (41)
  • December 16 | Finding The Right IDD Service Staff – The Interview (IDD Business Management)
    How do you identify candidates that possess the skills you need AND fit in with your company culture? Ask the right questions! Read on for vital issues to consider and questions to ask to help ensure you hire right!
  • December 9 | Finding The Right IDD Service Staff – Essential Prep​ (IDD Business Management)
    You’ve decided you need more staff for your IDD service company – great! Remember finding the right staff involves doing the prep work BEFORE you begin the search for candidates to avoid hiring catastrophes and company culture ‘misfits’. Our blog has crucial details you need to know!
  • December 2 | 7 Questions To Ask Before Hiring New Staff (IDD Business Management)
    Employees are one of the most important parts of your IDD Service enterprise. Determining if hiring new staff is the best move for your business is critical. Let’s learn what questions to ask before we put out those ads for new staff!
  • November 25 | Prioritizing Work When Everything Is An Emergency (IDD Business Management)
    IDD service providers are some of the busiest people around and it doesn’t look like things are slowing down any time soon! If you feel like you’re constantly putting out fires at work yet never getting enough done – this blog is for you! Learn about prioritizing work – taking back control of deadlines and your life!
  • November 18 | Giving Thanks For IDD Service Vendors (IDD Business Management)
    IDD service providers use vendors for encrypted email, EHRs, accounting etc. Choosing the right vendors is critical for your success. Here you’ll find out exactly what you need to know so you can hire companies or individuals that are aligned with your goals. They’ll make you want to give thanks all year round!
  • November 11 | Marketing IDD Services and Supports (IDD Business Management)
    Client choice is incredibly important in the world of IDD services and supports. This includes their choice of service provider. Marketing for IDD Providers is essential. Learn how your organization can differentiation itself from the crowd so you can serve more people with IDD with your special brand of TLC!
  • November 4 | Social Media for the IDD Service Provider (IDD Business Management)
    Social media 101 for IDD Service Providers – almost 90% of US businesses use social media for marketing. Is your IDD service agency using this vital tool as effectively as it can? Do you know the pitfalls to avoid? Read this blog for critical information that will help your business get social media done right!
  • October 28 | SPI Section C – Electronic Systems For IDD Service Providers (IDD Regulatory)
    Section C of the SPI deals with electronic systems used to house patient confidential information (inc. PHI). As this involves using cellphones, tablets, laptops, electronic voicemail etc it impacts virtually everyone. Read our blog for critical information on how to keep your patient data safe and direction on the recent cybersecurity requirements.
  • October 21 | SPI Review – Section B Part 2 (IDD Regulatory)
    Here we finish reviewing section B of the SPI (Security and Privacy Initial Inquiry). This section deals with Workplace and Workforce safeguards and practices.
  • October 14 | HHS SPI Section B Part 1 (IDD Regulatory)
    We review the first part of section B of the latest version (v2.1 06/2018) of the Texas HHS SPI which deals with Policies and Procedures! Come and learn about it so you can ensure all of bases on YOUR Policies and Procedure!
  • October 7 | SPI (Security and Privacy Inquiry) – Section A (IDD Regulatory)
    We review the latest version (v2.1 06/2018) of the Texas HHS SPI (Security and Privacy Inquiry). Fee-For-Service Long Term Care and IDD providers must have copies of this document on file with the state. Here we go over some salient points in section A.
  • September 28 | BUDDY WALK NYC NDSS 2018 (Intellectual or Developmental Disability – Character and Wellness)
    A first hand report on the 23rd Annual NYC Buddy Walk® in Central Park! The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and nearly 2000 others came together to raise awareness, help gain acceptance and promote inclusion of all people with Down Syndrome.
  • September 23 | CMS EHR PROMOTING INTEROPERABILITY (IDD Business Management)
    The CMS EHR Incentive Programs has been renamed the CMS ‘Promoting Interoperability (PI) Programs’. Designed to incentivize healthcare facilities to use EHRs to achieve quality goals and making CMS payments dependent on achieving these targets. How long until YOUR IDD/Special Needs operations are affected?
  • September 16 | Top 5 Texas Home Living Citations (TxHmL) Part 2 (IDD Business Management)
    Here we review the Top 5 Principles Cited During Reviews For the Texas Home Living (TxHmL) Services. Let’s explore the top 5 most frequently-cited principles and ways Focused Software can help your company maintain compliance and avoid citations.
  • September 9 | Most Common TxHmL Citations Top 10 part 1 (IDD Business Management, Uncategorized)
    Here we review the Top 10 Principles Cited During Reviews For the Texas Home Living (TxHmL) Services. Let’s explore some of these frequently-cited TxHmL citations and principles as well as ways Focused Software can help your company maintain compliance and avoid citations.
  • September 2 | Are You Multitasking or Faulty-Tasking? (Intellectual or Developmental Disability – Character and Wellness)
    As busy IDD and special needs service professionals everyday there seems to be more things to do and then you have to remember to document having done them all! Many of us multitask as a way to try to save time. If you consider yourself a multitasking Queen (or King) read our article…..the truth will surprise you!
  • August 26 | Direct Care Staff Exodus Part 2 (IDD Business Management)
    There is a crisis in the IDD/special needs service arena – the exodus of direct support employees. The numbers of this critical group of employees is steadily dwindling even as demand increases. We look at ways to improve staff retention in this blog.
  • August 19 | Direct Care Staff Exodus Part 1 (IDD Business Management)
    There is a crisis in the IDD/special needs service arena – the exodus of direct care support staff. The numbers in this critical group of employees is steadily dwindling even as demand increases. We look at reasons for the exodus in this blog.
  • August 12 | Countdown to HCS Compliance – Citations the Top 3 (IDD Business Management)
    The top 3 principles cited during reviews of HCS agencies are varied and can come with significant penalties. We review them in-depth and include staff training and two other key areas. Can you guess what the top 3 HCS citations are? Read on!
  • August 5 | Countdown to HCS Compliance – Citations #4-7 (IDD Business Management)
    The next several principles cited (specifically #7, 6 and 4) typify the reasoning behind implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR)– the Focused Software system. Our EHR can really make HCS compliance easy!
  • July 29 | Countdown to HCS Compliance – Citations #10,9,8 (IDD Business Management)
    Here we review the Texas Top 10 Principles Cited During Reviews: Home and Community-based Services. Let’s explore some of these frequently-cited principles and ways Focused Software can help your company maintain compliance and avoid citations.
  • July 22 | GROWING UP AS A CEO – RESPONSIBILITY (IDD Business Management)
    Learning to take responsibility for your business’s difficulties or failings can be painful. Yet it is also liberating and at the end of the day most definitely advantageous for your company’s long term success! It’s also one of the defining characteristics of the mature CEO. Read on – it will change the way you lead!
  • July 15 | 8 REASONS WHY IDD SMALL BUSINESSES FAIL (IDD Business Management)
    No-one builds an IDD service business wanting it to fail – yet many of these small businesses do. Find out the 8 most common pitfalls leading to failure and more importantly what you can do to avoid them!
  • July 8 | 5 Ways To Differentiate Your IDD Company Brand (IDD Business Management)
    What is your IDD company brand? If your answer starts ‘Ummm….’ read on. With online access to provider audit results and daily viral tweets the need for brand management among IDD service providers has never been greater! Let’s review 5 easy ways you can take control of your brand.
  • July 1 | IDD Customer Service In the Special Needs Arena (IDD Business Management)
    We try to do our best when it comes to IDD Customer Service ie serving our paying customers. That’s great but what about the large pool of customers we frequently ignore? Find out just who and what you’re missing in our blog!​
  • June 24 | Behavioral ABCs and the IDD Service Provider (IDD Clinical Care)
    Let’s review the objective functional analysis of problem behaviors with a common behavioral example that you might have come across.
  • June 17 | Sustaining Change In IDD/Special Needs (IDD Business Management)
    Sustaining change is the final yet ongoing phase of change management. It requires that leaders continue to execute, measure and improve change efforts. Part 4 of our Change management blog series covers this topic throughly. Read on!
  • June 11 | Planning For Success In IDD/Special Needs (IDD Business Management)
    Not planning for success when instituting change in the IDD or special needs industry is planning for failure. Let’s review 7 key questions to ask when planning for your next successful change endeavor.
  • June 1 | Culture of Change In IDD/Special Needs (IDD Business Management)
    Helping our staff modify their behavior is central to the success of any change effort at work. As IDD execs, we need to realize that the chances of success for our change initiatives (eg buying a new EHR) are much higher if we create a culture of change and get buy-in from our staff first. Find out how in our blog!
  • May 25 | Why Change For IDD Service Providers (IDD Business Management)
    Why change at all? Well it may surprise you to know that none of us really has much of a choice when it comes to change! The question is will the changes you make be well-thought out and intentional OR will they be forced upon you? Read on to find out more!
  • May 18 | Legacy and the IDD Professional (Intellectual or Developmental Disability – Character and Wellness)
    The daily choices we make are consequential. What legacy are you building with each action, day by day? Not just as an IDD service carer but as a leader? Or even a person? Your legacy will be based on the integrity you display to all – your consumers, your staff and even your family at home.
  • May 13 | IDD Providers Busy-ness and Business (IDD Business Management)
    Busy-ness is NOT an IDD Service badge of honor! Are you addicted to busy-ness? The work of an IDD service provider is real however no-one should be eternally busy. Read this new Focused blog to find out why unrelenting busy-ness is bad for you and what you can do to save time, effort and improve your efficiencies.
  • May 6 | The Natural Born Leader Myth in IDD Services (IDD Business Management)
    The myth of the natural born leader can have particularly dangerous effects in the IDD/Special Needs service arena as many owners/execs struggle to lead their organizations through times of significant industry change and cut backs. Administrators in IDD care need to commit to putting in the time and effort needed to become better leaders so these companies offering vital care services to this vulnerable population do not fail.
  • April 30 | Strategic Acquisitions among IDD Service Companies (IDD Business Management)
    Strategic acquisitions among IDD companies is one way to expand businesses and rapidly obtain much needed skills and/or resources. However the acquisition of another company can be as risky as it is potentially rewarding. Read our blog before you pull the trigger to avoid nasty surprises!
  • April 10 | Integrity and the IDD Professional (Intellectual or Developmental Disability – Character and Wellness)
    IDD service professionals are entrusted with the care of a vulnerable set of people. We need to portray certain personal characteristics in order to carry out these responsibilities optimally. Are you a person of character? A leader with integrity? Read our blog and find out!
  • March 20 | EHR/EMR and Quality – VP#4 (IDD Business Management, IDD Clinical Care)
    Quality standards drive the healthcare industry. People with IDD and special needs deserve consistent high quality healthcare wherever they live. In the final installment of the “Value Proposition” series we review the elusive yet eternally pursued goal of Quality.
  • March 6 | EHR/EMR vs Paper Charts – VP#3 (IDD Business Management)
    IDD companies that use paper charts for consumer info waste their most expensive resource (personnel time) daily. You’re not just paying for paper and toner! In this third Value Proposition blog – we review the true Cost of Doing Business (CODB) with paper charts versus an EHR/EMR documentation system.
  • February 20 | EHR/EMR and IDD Service Leadership VP#2 (IDD Business Management)
    The second installment in the 4 part “Value Proposition” series reviews the true leader’s role in attaining efficiency and quality standards in an IDD service agency. It also describes how the use of an electronic medical record system can help a leader keep the bottom line in control.
  • February 6 | Electronic Healthcare Record – Time is Money! VP#1 (IDD Business Management)
    Do you consciously appreciate the fact that you cannot get time back? When you consistently spend time on things that do not better you (monetarily or otherwise) you are wasting time. The first installment in this 4 part “Value Proposition” series reviews the real time, dollars and cents you save with an Electronic Healthcare Record.
  • January 23 | Successful Transition from Paper to Focused EHR (IDD Business Management)
    Implementing an EHR demands disciplined visionary leaders with clear goals and the resilience to manage change. Have you got what it takes?
  • January 9 | Compassionate Care for ALL in IDD Service! (Intellectual or Developmental Disability – Character and Wellness)
    Working in the IDD service industry very likely means that you are a care provider by profession (and probably by nature). Here we review the value of compassionate care and empathy for all…….and we mean ALL!!
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References:  https://www.inc.com/magazine/201107/norm-brodsky-small-business-advice-take-responsibility.html

Photographs: Estee Janssens (Failed It!) and Courtany (toddler CEO)