What I Learned About Employee Engagement at the Eye Glass Store

Meet Karen. When she waited on my husband and me at the vision center she was marvelous. She explained things to Alan (it was his first time getting glasses) and was patient and kind. She also knew her stuff about glasses but wasn’t pushy. It was just the right level of customer service with a smile. This was employee engagement in action.


As we were talking more, Karen shared that it was her second to the last day of work at her eye store.  She leaving to go and work at the VA hospital in Baltimore in patient billing. “WOW!” I thought. They are so lucky to have her.

Employee Engagement in Real Life

Karen is obviously a Chief Paradise Officer™ (AKA someone who connects with that which makes her feel satisfied, energized & productive at work). Through her words and actions, she created a positive environment for us – even when she was leaving the job and organization!

What also impressed me was when she asked us to fill out the survey about her service. I was thinking “Who cares, she won’t even be here when the results are tallied.” Apparently Karen cared.

How much do YOU care?

How often do YOU show your internal & external customers know that you care?

What more could YOU be doing?

I imagine Karen’s health was good, she probably slept well and her family appreciated her positive attitude. I might be dreaming here, but why not? Never forget, the person who benefits the most from being a Chief Paradise Officer is the CPO him or herself.

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One key healthcare employee engagement strategy that drives patient experience

It’s logical that patients have a more positive experience when employees are engaged in their work.

According to The Beryl Institute, patient experience is defined as “The sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.” Today, I write about a key strategy that you can implement as a healthcare leader to impact engagement and the patient experience.

Continue Reading…

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What camping gear do you need to give away?

In our house, April means that it’s time for Spring Cleaning. I love that cathartic feeling when I scale down my “stuff” and get more organized. My husband, Alan, has been nicely asking me “Is it time to get rid of this camping gear?” for at least 10 years. Each spring I’d say, “We can’t give that away, we might need it!” 

It was a dig-my-heels-in conversation. I wasn’t willing to listen to reason (we haven’t been camping in more than 10 years). I have so many happy memories of camping that I was afraid if I gave away the gear, the memories might go along with it.

But this spring is different. I was invited to join Nextdoor, a private social community for my neighborhood and I started seeing notifications about neighbors who were giving things away. I saw how grateful and happy the recipients were to receive the free goodies. It was the old “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” cliché in action.

This got me thinking about the camping gear. Was I being selfish by hanging on to it? The answer was “yes” and in a glorious moment for Alan, I put an announcement on the site about the 2 tents, 2 Coleman stoves, cookware, sleeping bags, etc. that we had. Within 2 hours someone responded and 20 minutes later she came to pick it all up. She is the leader of a Scout troop that desperately needs camping gear. She couldn’t have been happier. Alan was thrilled!  

I was grinning from ear to ear. Our tents were going to hear the grunts and groans of adults trying to set them up again and the nighttime giggles of kids out in the woods. What had I been thinking? Why hadn’t I done this years ago?

What “Camping Gear” do you need to let go of at work? I don’t mean the clean-out-the-garage kind of gear (although a good desk cleansing can be very inspirational). I mean the territorial, old school, it’s-always-been-done-that-way kind of gear that you, like me, might be hanging on to. Here are 3 steps to make that happen.

  1. Recognize that what you’re hanging on to isn’t helpful anymore.
  2. Review the data that supposedly supports the belief or thing that you are tightly grasping.
  3. Revise your view of letting go.

It worked for me! In my case, I’m still smiling days after the exchange happened as I think about those kids and how much they will enjoy what I no longer needed.

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Look out…I’m on the run!

You might be wondering why I brought my sweaty self to this month’s post. It’s because I had this aha moment while running a 5K. Just click on the video to watch and you’ll hear more.


Once you’re done watching, come back and think about this:

What beliefs are keeping you on the proverbial couch at work?

What could you do differently (better?) if you changed your mind about it?

What are you waiting for?

I’d love to hear your thoughts – just comment below!

See you in #RunningParadise – haha.


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I Love Your Mug

Recently, at a leadership workshop where I was presenting a program on engagement, we were talking about the importance of actually caring about one’s direct reports. It’s tough to positively impact and/or sustain engagement without a genuine regard for those you supervise.

I know that can be tough when the person you are supervising is a “Chain Gang Member” – AKA someone who is actively disengaged. It’s easy to care about the people who agree with you and who support you along the way. It’s tougher when the other person is…tougher. I understand that none of this sounds scientific so let’s just call this the “art” of engagement. 

One of the participating leaders came up to me after the session and thanked me for sharing this perspective about the importance of caring for those on your team. She shared that her boss has come up to her desk on six different occasions (literally 6 times) and said, “I love your mug”. The participant said that after the second time, it didn’t strike a genuine chord and felt insincere at best. Her thought was, “Isn’t there something else to comment on besides my ‘nice mug’?” I’m guessing that her boss meant well, but missed the mark.

As leaders who care, it’s important to create personalized connections with those who report to you. Nothing says “I care” like a genuine comment about something that is important to the person in front of you. Here are a few questions to think about:

What do you really know about this person inside or outside of work?
• What’s something comment-worthy to notice or talk about?
• How can you learn more?

Spending time informally is a great start. My former boss, Liz Dunne, was a master at getting to know us (her direct reports) as people. She knew what was important to me because she took the time to listen and learn. We all had lunch together on a regular basis and we laughed! She paid attention. In turn I wanted to know more about what was important to her. It was a great collegial relationship that created a climate of engagement for me and my peers.

So when you’re thinking about engagement, one comment about the mug is great – IF there’s something special about it (a picture of someone’s child or happy memory, etc.). When you genuinely care about someone who reports to you, the evidence is your interest, your time and your willingness to connect.

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3 systemic obstacles to employee engagement

Everyone is looking for the magic bullet when it comes to improving employee engagement. Most healthcare leaders agree that engagement is the driver for all good things that need to happen in providing care.

So, let’s look at 3 systemic obstacles that are getting in the way and what you can do about them.  Continue Reading.

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