Performance Transformation, LLC™ Announces Change In Open-Access Policy For Methodologies and Intellectual Property

Due to a recent upswing in plagiarism, copyright violations, and the theft of intellectual property for commercial gain, Performance Transformation will curtail their standing, five year policy of open knowledge sharing.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ~ VENICE, Fla. — Performance Transformation, LLCTM (Venice, FL) announced today a change in their longstanding, open-access policy for the sharing of their knowledge systems, methodologies, and intellectual property.

“It’s unfortunate, but I suppose it’s a sign of our times.  Information should be open and new ideas and insights should be encouraged to move freely.  That’s the reason for copyrights as well as patents.  Patents are open for review by anyone looking to improve upon the patent.  Just like patent infringement, plagiarism is theft,” commented Terry Murray, founder and Managing Partner of Performance Transformation, a leading firm in the development and delivery of high performance leadership and enterprise performance insights and solutions. “The plagiarism and copyright violations have been growing incrementally over time. The recent theft of our copyrighted intellectual property, by a major, multi-national corporation, caused us to rethink and retool our policy. We will continue to share our intellectual property, as we strongly believe in the 21st Century business value of transparency, open collaboration, and the free flow of ideas as the propagating seeds of innovation. We will just reign it in a bit by implementing a chain of custody trail to those that seek to access our ideas and insights.”

Founded in 2008, Performance Transformation has developed and delivered highly innovative experiential learning programs and strategies for both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. Through their recent partnering with Talent SprocketTM, LLC (St. Petersburg, FL) they are the first leadership and enterprise performance firm to incorporate advanced, machine learning into their approach. Talent Sprocket incorporates sophisticated algorithms to deliver Predictive Human AnalyticsTM, a major step forward in the rapidly growing, talent management arena. The combination of Performance Transformation’s proprietary, developmental approach and Talent Sprocket’s analytical capabilities delivers concise, return on investment metrics for leadership development, a very unique benefit in the industry.

“Everybody claims to be an expert today, especially in the field of leadership development,” added Terry. “When we look at the research data, it’s quite obvious there are very, very few effective leadership development companies delivering viable solutions and value in the market. Corporations and institutions have invested nearly $1 trillion over the past twenty years in behaviorally-based leadership development programs. The ROI is pitiful, representing perhaps the worst, collective investment companies have made over the past two decades.”

The Gallup® Company’s recent, annual survey on the State of the American Workplace once again pegs employee disengagement at 70%. This figure has remained stagnant for more than a decade. McKinsey® published a study less than two years ago that demonstrated only 1% of executives scored excellent in eight key leadership competencies. Ninety percent scored below average.

Terry is the author of “The Transformational Entrepreneur”, which was cited by the academic Journal of Economic Literature in March, 2012. Performance Transformation’s pro bono program, “Warriors in Transition”, was formally commended by General David Petraeus in 2010. The program imparts leadership and resiliency skills in combat veterans working to successfully navigate the transition home. It has also

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been employed extensively for veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress to support Post Traumatic Growth.

“What would our economy, companies and nation look like today if these traditional approaches to leadership development had actually delivered on their promise? It’s why we come armed with a validated, neurologically-based approach grounded in the needs of the individual as well as the business, build skills around tangible business outcomes, and hold ourselves accountable with our analytics capabilities. We’re determined to make a change.”

In addition to publishing his book in 2011, Terry has written and published more than 300 articles and blogs, openly sharing his wisdom, knowledge and expertise. He is a frequent guest of the media and a sought after speaker for professional conferences and symposia.

“Congruency is such a part of our philosophy and we believe in giving forward and openly contributing to support positive change in our society and communities,” said Terry. “Capitalism can be, and should be, a force for good. When business leaders embrace this perspective, it resonates with today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational, global workforce. Enormous productivity gains and value is lying quietly, just beneath the surface in many companies and organizations. Our approach is proven to capture and leverage that value, driving remarkable, breakthrough business results. We simply will no longer subsidize individuals and corporations that don’t share in our honesty and authenticity.”

For more information on Performance Transformation, please call (941) 485-7428.

© 2013, Performance Transformation, LLC™.  All Rights Reserved.

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Five Steps for Solving the Endemic Employee Disengagement Crisis

The Gallup Company® just released their annual report, The State of the American Workforce ~ 2013, and once again, employee engagement levels are woefully low.  Sadly, this isn’t news.  This has been consistently reported upon for at least ten years.  Addressing employee engagement represents the most cost effective way a company can improve productivity and profitability.  Here’s a few strategies that can make a difference in a few short months.

It’s an issue we’ve been discussing for years.  In fact, one of my earliest blogs on this site explored this very topic.  While we speak with business leaders and HR executives every day, we hear them expressing their desire to improve on collaboration, innovation, productivity and performance.  None of these objectives can emerge without first engaging the workforce, both cognitively and emotionally.  Yet, for some reason, the disconnect remains.  The recent Gallup study identifies only 30% of employees are engaged, 20% are actively disengaged (meaning their spreading discontent and working at cross purpose with their employers…actually destroying value), and 50% are disengaged, meaning they’re sleepwalking through their day.  Our additional research identifies the fact that upwards of 50% of many firms’ payrolls, their single largest expense line, is delivering little to no return on investment.

When we consider that in today’s New Economy, value creation in business emerges through the efficient commercialization of intellectual property, we must understand that human beings are the new raw material of production.  Now, if Henry Ford had been experiencing a scrap rate of 50% on steel, his raw material of the day, I think he would have found his way down to the factory floor and addressed it in relatively short order.  Yet, the Gallup study reveals this endemic situation has been steady since 2001.  Eleven years of leaving value lying fallow on industries’ floor.

How important is this issue for businesses, hospitals and our economy overall?  Let’s take a look…

The Business Case for Employee Engagement ~

Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity every year.

For a small to medium size company, with 100 employees averaging (on the low end) $45,000 in salary and benefits, actively disengaged employees are costing the business owner $1,350,000 in wasted compensation and, conservatively, another $500,000 in destroyed productivity of fellow associates.  Giving the sleepwalkers the benefit of the doubt, that they’re contributing something at least half of the time, are also costing the business owner $1,125,000 in wasted compensation.  As a business owner, can you afford to keep tossing approximately $3 million a year out the window?

Looking at the comparisons between companies in the top quartile of reported engagement, versus those in the bottom quartile of engagement, higher engaged firms:

~ Score 10% higher in customer ratings

~ Are 22% more profitable

~ Have 65% lower turnover rates

~ Enjoy 37% lower absenteeism

~ Incur 48% fewer safety-related accidents

~ Experience 28% lower shrinkage

~ Create 41% fewer quality defects

~ Hospitals incur 41% fewer patient safety incidents

After twenty five years of leadership experience, in both corporate and entrepreneurial settings, and five years of research, application and validation of our philosophy and approach at Performance Transformation, LLC™, we know how to solve employee disengagement in five, relatively easy, and very cost affordable steps (you’ll actually lower your training and development expenses by following our suggestions while unleashing remarkable breakthroughs in productivity, creativity and innovation):

mckinsey-quarterly-right-leaders-image-0031.) Address the broken, traditional leadership development approach.  Over the past 20 years, corporations and institutions have invested upwards of $1 trillion in leadership development programs.  The results?  Thanks to Gallup’s study, we’re staring them right in the face…and McKinsey & Company reported in July, 2011 only 1% of “C” level and “one-step down” executives scored excellent in eight key leadership competencies.  Nearly 90% scored below average.  Leadership development based in the theories of behavioral psychology simply don’t work.  If you disagree, please show me the proof.  We must migrate to an approach based in neuroscience to address the underlying causation of behaviors in the workplace.  We must conduct leadership development around tangible business outcomes.  Experiential learning and immediate application, framed by an educationally-based coaching process is essential.  Demand a clear ROI to be reported on every developmental investment from your vendors.

2.) Help HR bring their focus and practices into the landscape of the 21st Century.  While line management is playing to win, based upon their historical charter of responsibilities, HR has little choice but to play not to lose.  Due to this, many HR practices have naturally evolved to be highly risk-averse at a time when boldness and leadership is most needed.  As an example, traditional Diversity & Inclusion training (another $8 billion per year expense with no discernible ROI) is archaic and typically a vacuous exercise lacking context, strategic communication, or business application.  D&I training needs to transform into Collaboration & Innovation learning.  We’re already diverse (companies are very multi-cultural and multi-generational, but still far too homogenous at the senior levels), but real inclusion cannot emerge without engagement.  Also, resist automating misaligned HR practices still rooted in the Industrial Age with Talent Management systems that are little more than CRM platforms turned inward.  First, process map your procedures and competency models to see if they’re actually in alignment with the rapidly changing needs of the business.  Then, and only then, migrate to systems that enable predictive analytics through the use of machine learning technology.  It is through this application that insights into the future will emerge rather than simply accelerating and duplicating the broken processes of the past.

3.) Stop spending money on foolish Team Building workshops.  Get down off the ropes courses, stop building toy boats in resort swimming pools, put the paint gun pistols down, and leave the trust falls to adolescent summer camps where they belong.  Many of these so-called team building activities are exclusionary to older workers, workers that may have physical limitations, or workers that have differing cultural concerns.  Want to cultivate collaborative behaviors?  Focus on cultivating relationship-based skills (i.e. Emotional Intelligence) and only conduct Team Building within the direct and immediate context of the business.  Invest in employee development using meaningful and science-based learning modalities.  The recent discoveries from the neurosciences provides us with rich insights into what truly matters and provides us with a roadmap for sparking lasting, meaningful neurological change in perspectives and orientations of one’s self, of others, and how we can engage in positive communication and open collaboration.

4.) Create an organizational culture that embraces and celebrates intrinsic values (authentic relationships, purposefulness, personal and professional development, being a part of something larger than one’s self, service to others) over extrinsic values (money, power, prestige).  Intrinsic values are core to human happiness while extrinsic values are anchored in culture and conditioning.  We were all born to care for one another; it’s part of our primary survival mechanism.  No other mammal on the planet is born more vulnerable or develops more slowly than human beings.  Without empathy and compassion, our natural, inborn attributes that enabled us to evolve over the past 80,000 years, we never would have survived as a species.  Leveraging intrinsic values engages the entire human continuum, transcending the superficial differences of cultural perspectives and generational orientations.

5.) Align and optimize transformational leadership, enlightened strategy and a highly engaging and inclusive organizational culture.  This is the primary theme of my book, The Transformational Entrepreneur ~ Engaging The Mind, Heart & Spirit For Breakthrough Business Success, published in February, 2011.  Companies that thrive follow this path.  This isn’t conjecture, the book provides historical facts and was cited by the academic Journal of Economic Literature in March, 2012.

It truly is this straight forward.  But if you want to thrive, and going forward, simply survive in business, the first step is up to you.  You have to want to make the change, awaken and take a few steps forward, and stop simply talking about it.

© 2013, Terry Murray.

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Performance Transformation, LLC™ and Talent Sprocket™, LLC Announce Formation Of New Partnership

Innovative leadership, strategy, and organizational development company to integrate Talent Sprocket’s machine learning and predictive analytics technology into its approach to deliver business intelligence and clear ROI on leadership development.

PRLog (Press Release) – Jun. 19, 2013 – VENICE, Fla. — Performance Transformation, LLC™ (Venice, FL) and Talent Sprocket™, LLC (St. Petersburg, FL), announced today the formation of a collaborative partnership to jointly market their technology and services.  Talent Sprocket is the first true machine learning platform designed to deliver Human Talent Analytics™.  Performance Transformation provides custom leadership development, collaboration, and innovation acceleration programs for knowledge worker-based companies and institutions.

“We’re very excited to be working with Talent Sprocket to strategically enhance our portfolio of services,” said Terry Murray, founder and Managing Partner of Performance Transformation.  “We’re the first leadership development company that brings with us a technology that allows our clients to accurately measure their ROI on developmental investments.  This level of accountability is truly revolutionary in our market space.”

The Talent Sprocket platform employs machine learning, a sophisticated algorithm that continuously teaches itself to recognize subtle patterns in complex data sets too large for human beings to accurately evaluate.  Applying this technology to leadership development, succession planning, recruiting, and collaborative team formation provides business intelligence and insights that, heretofore, were unavailable to most enterprises.

“Terry’s passion and leadership have laid the path for Performance Transformation to become one of our industries most thoughtful and innovative talent management companies,“ commented Tony Duda, CEO of Talent Sprocket.  “Our belief is that by bringing our diverse but equally innovative cultures together, in a collaborative way, we will achieve some truly exciting and breakthrough solutions, not only for our customers but for the entire talent management industry.”

Founded in 2008, Performance Transformation has pioneered advanced, professional development processes through the integration of more than a dozen, peer-reviewed, scientific disciplines ranging from the neurosciences to applied behavioral economics, emotional intelligence and quantum physics.

“The growing complexity of today’s business environment demands innovative solutions for talent development, retention and collaboration,” added Terry.  “It is through the integration of seemingly disparate disciplines and creative learning modalities that truly adaptive thinking emerges.  Most talent management software on the market today automates yesterday’s processes.  Talent Sprocket delivers predictive analytics, enabling business leaders to look over the horizon in anticipation of their human capital needs.  This represents a distinct, competitive advantage that will only increase in strategic value over time.”

Progressive, high tech companies like Google®, IDEO® and Apple® are already leveraging their sophisticated, internal core competencies to retool HR around people analytics.  The new partnership between Talent Sprocket and Performance Transformation integrates advanced technology and thought leadership to make this approach available to businesses and institutions that, until now, couldn’t access this level of business intelligence.

“Just like the internet leveled the playing field for access to strategic market intelligence, this partnership levels the playing field when it comes to talent intelligence.  Any company, no matter their size, can now operate with the same level of insight as Google or Apple.  It’s truly a new day!”

© 2013, Performance Transformation, LLC™

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They Say Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

We’ve all heard it said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  I suppose it is true…at the very least, it’s quite validating.  I’m referring to the relatively recent entrance of two medical device behemoths attempting to reinvent themselves to take advantage of the changes necessitated by the mandated reform emerging in U.S. health care.

During a recent review of our firm’s SEO rankings related to key word searches, we came across an interesting discovery.  GE Healthcare, a company that annually earns billions of dollars in revenue through the sale of MRI and advanced imaging equipment, popped up when searching the name of our firm, Performance Transformation, LLC™.  The Milwaukee-based subsidiary of General Electric Corporation has launched a business services unit with the title, “Performance Transformation“, along with the tag line “Driving Breakthrough Performance Improvement”.  Also interesting was one of the tabs on their site describing their new initiative entitled, “Strategy, Leadership, and Performance Transformation”.

The Transformational Entrepreneur CoverWell, at least I know they read my book, “The Transformational Entrepreneur ~ Engaging The Mind, Heart & Spirit For Breakthrough Business Success”, published in February of 2011, and cited by the academic Journal of Economic Literature in March, 2012.

I’d like to share a quote from Chapter Two:  “Creating transformational performance is like igniting a fire; it requires three fundamental elements.  A fire requires a source of heat, fuel, and oxygen in order to burn.  Transformational performance requires authentic, conscious leadership (the heat), a visionary strategic plan (the fuel), and a creative culture that fully engages the entire workforce (the oxygen).”  In fact it was from these words that our own tag line emerged, which is a part of our trademarked logo, “Leadership ~ Strategy ~ Culture”.  Could GE have come any closer, without risk of infringement, by using Strategy, Leadership, and Performance Transformation?

During one of my media appearances in 2011, with Jim Blasingame on his nationally syndicated Small Business Advocate® Show, Jim stopped the interview and asked me to repeat my insight again, commenting, “Leadership, strategy, culture. Everyone of those things, folks, you heard us talk about on the show before, but only Terry has pulled it together in one little nugget.  Remember this folks, it’s going to be on the test.”  (If you’re so inclined, you can listen to the interview on the Forbes website).

What’s even more interesting is the fact that I met with a senior GE Healthcare associate at the 2011 American Society for Training and Development Conference, who expressed her sincere interest in our approach (you can watch the video of my presentation at the conference here).  The irony is that when we followed up with her after the meetings, she told me that GE Healthcare was under a mandate that all learning and development programs must be delivered through elearning platforms.  No experiential learning or blended learning would be purchased, but she added, “Give me a call back in a year or so…we change direction every 18 months.”

If you read GE Healthcare’s webpage on their new programs, it reads right out of the playbook I put forth in my book and on this website over the past several years.  They talk about development through a structure of Goals and Objectives (Chapter Seven), a process of candor and consistency for engagement (my words are authenticity and congruency for engagement, Chapter Six), organizational values and culture (Chapter Eight), and the use of custom leadership development curriculum integrated with strategic projects and stretch assignments (our Accretive Coaching Process℠, Chapter Nine).

Upon reading this I thought, with tongue in cheek, “Gee, perhaps they should consider changing their slogan from GE, Imagination At Work® to GE, Imitation At Work“.  The reason I am sharing this with you today is I do wish to point out that, quite often, being big doesn’t necessarily equate with being the first to innovate.  We rolled out our first program for healthcare, entitled, “The Emotionally Resilient Nurse”, in 2009, built around the same vision, approach and philosophy we’ve been following all along.  Of note, on June 5, 2013, just ten days ago, GE announced a new program for nurses; their Nurse Executive Fellowship program.  Nimble, creative thought leadership and innovation often comes from entrepreneurial firms, which is why global pharmaceutical companies pursue an acquisition strategy of small biotech firms in an attempt to fill their innovation pipelines.  But at least they pay for it.

Over the past year, we’ve integrated several exciting, advanced collaboration and talent management software platforms into our process as well.  Just two days ago, GE Healthcare announced they’ll be investing $2 billion over the next two years in software development to support their new initiatives.  Now, everyone is doing this as well, but it does seem to follow a pattern.

Just because you’re copying a business model and strategy doesn’t mean you can execute on it.  Let’s face it, migrating from a capital equipment sales and service model based around high tech imaging systems to one based upon developing the human element in health care is a wide chasm to traverse.  Especially when one’s own corporate culture is highly command-and-control and out of step with the rapidly changing needs of today’s business and health care environment.  I understand GE Healthcare’s need to reinvent themselves; the days of imaging centers popping up on every other street corner and hospitals pursuing one-up-manship with each other by buying the newest MRI are long gone.  IBM reinvented themselves from a hardware company to a service company, so I imagine GE Healthcare is trying to follow the same survival strategy.

And, oh, by the way, Royal Philips Electronics, GE Healthcare’s primary competitor, just announced their new initiative, Healthcare Transformation Services Business, a month ago.

One must keep one’s sense of humor and perspective about such things…perhaps imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
© 2013, Terry Murray. 

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June 15, 2013 · 10:56 am

Performance Transformation, LLC™ Announces The Launch Of The Kanthaka School™ For EFEL

iStock_000001412655MediumFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) – Jun. 4, 2013 – VENICE, Fla. – Performance Transformation, LLC™ (Venice, FL) announced today the launch of The Kanthaka School™ for Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning.  The school integrates five years of research, development and validation in the field of relationship-based EFEL.  Delivered using the firm’s proprietary, educationally-based Accretive Coaching Process℠, the program is designed and priced to bridge the gap between highly expensive and time consuming programs and abridged, short programs that deliver little in value to the students.

“As we travelled the country over the past five years, conducting workshops, it became painfully apparent there was a gap in the various training programs available for people interested in doing the work,” commented Terry Murray, founder and Managing Partner of Performance Transformation.  ”On the one hand are programs that cost upwards of $30,000 and take eight weeks of travel to complete. On the other hand are the weekend wonder programs that offer little value to the students or the horses.  We wanted to address this problem with a viable solution.”The Kanthaka School requires only two weeks of onsite, workshop intensives, conducted at the beginning and the end of the six month program.  The curriculum and coaching are delivered remotely using state-of-the-art, online collaborative learning tools and one-on-one developmental coaching and instruction using Skype.  Students are encouraged to record each of the 24 weekly modules for future reference.“The other significant challenge we continue to witness is the struggle many graduates, of the most costly programs, encounter trying to build a successful EFEL business,” added Terry.  ”After investing tens of thousands of dollars, they’re out the door and on their own, without formal curricula, training materials, marketing or a formal, strategic business plan.  From our perspective, that simply doesn’t reflect the spirit of this work.”

Students attending The Kanthaka School are provide with the tools and materials necessary to launch a successful practice.  The program includes a custom, strategic business plan, sales and marketing materials, and access to sixteen formal curricula with full-color, bound, companion workbooks.  The workshop curricula includes programs for health care providers, first responders, veterans, corporate leadership, collaborative team building, at-risk youth, parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and more.

“As the work continues to gain momentum and notoriety in the mainstream, it is important that comprehensive, mindful training is available to those that wish to pursue this as their life’s work,” said Terry.  ”Abbreviated programs that were originally designed to train a horse-handler assisting a psychotherapist are attempting to move into the EFEL world, but they simply don’t have the chops for the work.  You can’t master this approach over a long weekend, and worse, their attempts to create equine exercises have resulted in dangerous and abusive practices for the horses and participants.  It’s an example of good intentions gone awry. At the other end of the spectrum are programs that take more than they give, which is also not in the spirit of the work.  How many people have eight weeks of free time to fly back and forth to a training program over the course of a year or $30,000 for tuition? That just seems exclusionary.”

Recent peer-reviewed, published research studies are scientifically demonstrating the efficacy of Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning.  One study, conducted by Washington State University, demonstrated the efficaciousness of the approach with adolescent children.  Another study, conducted by the University of Kentucky, showed statistically significant results imparting Emotional Intelligence competencies in nurses.

“The recent research is validating what we’ve been witnessing first-hand for years,” added Terry. “Done properly, the approach is a remarkable accelerant for personal and professional development.  The Kanthaka Approach℠ frames each exercise using a scientifically-substantiated concept.  We then allow the participant to experience the concept first-hand using ground-based exercises with the horses.  The result is an immutable lesson, delivered on a neurological level.  The metaphors that rapidly emerge inaha moments, for leadership, collaboration, and positive relationships are astounding.”

The onsite, intensive workshops are conducted in partnership with Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART).  SMART, a 501(c)(3), is in their 26th year of service to the community, providing scholarship programs for children with developmental disabilities, educational programs for at-risk children and programs for wounded combat veterans.  Twenty percent of the Kanthaka School’s tuition goes in direct support of SMART.

“We talk about congruency of vision and intention, of how our work can help transform business to be a force for good in the community.  It’s imperative that we walk our talk.

Performance Transformation has been doing just that for over four years through their pro bono Warriors in Transition program.  The workshop is designed to assist combat veterans and their families successfully transition the journey back to civilian life.  It also is employed to assist veterans and families struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Since 2009, Performance Transformation has introduced the program in six states.  The workshop received a formal commendation from General David Petraeus in 2010.  They’ve also conducted workshops for at-risk girls, women leaving county jail, and leaders from Native American tribes.

“We’ve worked diligently over the past five years to help bring this work into the mainstream.  We’ve very excited to be working with SMART in launching our first class this coming October.”

© 2013, Performance Transformation, LLC™.

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Research Demonstrates Efficacy of Cultivating Emotional Intelligence with Nurses Through Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning

Back in 2009 we introduced, “The Emotionally Resilient Nurse”, a relationship-based, equine facilitated experiential learning program designed specifically to cultivate Emotional Intelligence(EI) competencies in nurses.  This program came right on the heels of our pro bono program, “Warriors in Transition”, designed to help combat veterans and their families wrestling with PTSD, and quite often PTSD/TBI.  For anyone participating in or monitoring our warriors program, the efficacy was remarkably apparent.  Sleep patterns improved, agitation levels diminished, and family relationships improved almost overnight.  The program, which we’ve helped to introduce in six states, was formally commended by General David Petraeus in 2010.

Having worked in the health care field for two decades, I had personally witnessed the challenges nurses face on a daily basis.  Their environment is emotionally toxic and they are constantly walking a tightrope, without a net, of expressing authentic empathy through healthy, professional boundaries.  It is not a task for the faint of heart.  Having witnessed the success of our approach with combat veterans, migrating this approach into acute care hospital settings, specifically designed for other front line professionals, seemed like a no-brainer.  Unfortunately, at the time, hospital administrators were still laying off nurses to cut costs.  In the very short term, this may have helped the bottom line, but over time, lowering staffing levels only exacerbated the costly problems of nurse burnout, high turnover rates (the Florida Nurses Association reports that it costs a hospital an average of $64,000 to backfill an open nursing position.  Extrapolated across the nation, this problem adds approximately $17 billion in hard dollar costs to the health care delivery system, adding absolutely no value whatsoever.) and perceptions of quality of care with patients and their families.

As we do with the development of all of our programs, we dove into the peer-reviewed, published research on the effects of cultivating emotional intelligence in nurses on the delivery system.  Here’s a snapshot of what we discovered:

    • Patient satisfaction is a widely recognized measure of medical care quality and a predictor of several positive consequences for organizations and patients (e.g. patient adherence to treatment regimens, fewer malpractice suits, hospital employees’ satisfaction, and financial performance).2
    • Compassionate behavior is threatened by technological concerns and economic constraints.3 “Continually, we experience situations where patients received excellent technical care but, when the emotional side of their care was not met, they believed that their care was inadequate”.4
    • By understanding the patients’ emotions, and being more empathetic, nurses are more able to understand the values, worries, and fears of patients. They are more apt to automatically connect with patients, appreciate the patients’ perspectives, understand the impact of their actions, understand and satisfy patients’ needs5 and respond appropriately.6
    • Nurses need to interpret and understand how patients feel, to ascertain their motives and concerns, and demonstrate empathy in their care. They also need to understand and manage their own emotions, not just for high quality care, but for their own self-protection and health as well.7
    • Nurses capable of a self-reflective process become aware of their own emotions.  When nurses recognize their own feelings they are more likely to manage them and communicate in appropriate ways.8
    • Non-verbal interactions play a vital role in nurse-patient perceptions.  The non-verbal interactions include patient-directed eye gaze, affirmative head nod, smiling, leaning forward, touch, and instrument touch.9
    • Emotional Intelligence in nursing leads to more positive attitudes, greater adaptability, improved relationships, and increased orientation towards positive values.10
    • Emotional Intelligence has a positive impact on nursing team cohesiveness and patient/client outcomes.11
    • Emotional Intelligence minimizes the negative stress consequences of nursing.12
    • Emotional Intelligence is important in managing stress and reducing nurse burnout.13
    • Emotional Intelligence is an important characteristic for building successful nursing leadership, enhancing nursing performance, and reducing nurse burnout.14
    • Emotional intelligence scores in clinical staff nurses correlate positively with both performance levels and retention variables. Clinical staff nurses with higher emotional intelligence scores demonstrate higher performance, have longer careers, and display greater job retention.15
    • Emotional Intelligence should be integrated into the nursing profession by a model of transformational learning for nurse education.16

It seemed as if we’d made a fairly strong case for how cultivating the soft skills in nursing could save hard dollars in health care.  Unfortunately, we were in hindsight, more that a bit ahead of our time.  With the coming of HCAHPS, and the effect these patient satisfaction surveys will have on 30% of a hospital system’s reimbursements from the Medicare, perhaps it is time to revisit the value this approach represents.  An approach that is capable of delivering an ROI that soars into the thousands of percent.

Adding to the evidence, a pilot study has just been conducted and released from the University of Kentucky that warrants attention.  The study, authored by Patricia Dyk, and Robyn Cheung, et al, entitled, “The Effectiveness of Equine Guided Leadership Education to Develop Emotional Intelligence in Expert Nurses“, demonstrates statistically signifiant improvements in Emotional Intelligence competencies with nurses employing this approach.  This comes as no surprise to us, as we’ve been traveling the United States for the past four years, conducting our evidence-based approach to Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning, seeing consistent, reproducible results in very challenging populations.

The fact is, we’ve crossed a threshold into a period of adaptive challenges.  Unprecedented challenges that require unprecedented solutions.  The complexity of the challenges institutions and enterprises face today will require the integration of seemingly disparate disciplines and methodologies in order to find sustainable solutions.  One thing’s for certain, investing in our nurses would be a major step forward in improving the health care delivery system in the United States.

Copyright 2013, Terry Murray.

 1.)  Daniel Goleman, (1995).  “Emotional Intelligence”, Bantam Books, New York, NY.

2.)  Gesell, S.B. & Wolosin, R.J., (2004).  Inpatients’ Rating of Care in 5 Common Clinical Conditions. Quality Management Health Care, 13(4), 222-227.

3.)  Godkin, J. & Godkin, L., (2004).  Caring Behaviors Among Nurses:  Fostering a Conversation of Gestures. Health Care Management Review, 29(3), 258-267.

4.)  Kerfoot, K., (1996).  The Emotional Side of Leadership:  The Nurse Manager’s Challenge.  Nursing Economics, 14(1), 59-62.

5.)  Ibid., 59-62.

6.)  Vitello-Ciccui, J.M., (2003).  Innovative Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence.  Nursing Management, 24(10), 28-34.

7.)  McQueen, A.C.H., (2004).  Emotional Intelligence in Nursing Work.  Journal of Advanced Nursing, 47(1), 101-108.

8.)  Ibid., 101-108.

9.)  W. Caris-Verhallen, (1999).  Effects of Video Interaction Analysis Training on Nurse-Patient Communication in the Care of the Elderly.  Patient Education and Counseling, Volume 39, Issue 1, 91-103.

10.)  Kristin Akerjordet & Elisabeth, (2007).  Emotional Intelligence: A Review of the Literature with Specific Focus on Empirical and Epistemological Perspectives. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 16(8); 1405-1416.

11.)  Quoidbach & Hansenne, (2009).  The impact of trait emotional intelligence on nursing team performance and cohesiveness.  Journal of Professional Nursing, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp. 23 – 29.

12.)  Montes-Berges & Augusto, (2007).  Exploring the Relationship Between Perceived Emotional Intelligence, Coping, Social Support and Mental Health in Nursing Students.  Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 14 (2);163-171.

13.)  Linda Gerits, Jan J. L. Derksen, & Antoine B. Verbruggen, (2004).  Emotional Intelligence and Adaptive Success of Nurses Caring for People with Mental Retardation and Severe Behavior Problems.  Mental Retardation: 42, (2); 106-121.

14.)  Vitello-Ciccui, Joan M., (2002).  Exploring Emotional Intelligence:  Implications for Nursing Leaders.  Journal of Nursing Administration.  32(4):  203-210.

15.)  Codier, Estelle PhD, RN; Kamikawa, Cindy MSN, RN, NE-BC; Kooker, Barbara M. DrPH, APRN, NEA-BC; Shoultz, Jan DrPH, MPH, (2009).  Emotional Intelligence, Performance, and Retention in Clinical Staff Nurses.  Nursing Administration Quarterly:  October/December, Volume 33, Issue 4, 310-316.

16.)  Dawn Freshwater & Theodore Stickley, (2004).  The Heart of the Art:  Emotional Intelligence in Nurse Education.  Nursing Inquiry. 11(2); 91-98.

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Lead As If We’re All Connected….Because We Are

As the tools of social media migrate into the business community, we are all reading a lot about the power of connectivity in the workplace.  In a study published by the McKinsey Quarterly last November, their analysts identified the application of social platforms could unlock $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in untapped value in just four industrial sectors representing 20% of total global output.  Without a doubt, unprecedented opportunities are emerging that will transform the face of business in the years to come.  However, before a firm can unlock this potential through the application of technology, they must first address a cultural artifact that represents a very real impediment; employee disengagement.  Gallup has consistently reported that upwards of 73% of employees are disengaged or, at best, only partially engaged with their employer.  The question that immediately comes to mind is how much value can emerge through the virtual connectivity of a disengaged workforce?

In order to reverse the endemic, employee engagement crisis, leaders may wish to consider a single, scientifically substantiated concept;  we’re already, all of us, connected.  Not just to one another, but to everything throughout the universe.  Before you dismiss this concept as some sort of woo woo, new age precept, please allow me to share some eye-opening research, specifically, research demonstrating the non-locality of consciousness from the field of quantum physics.

In 2003, physicists J. Wackermann, C. Seiter and K. Holger published a research study entitled, “Correlation Between Brain Electrical Activities Of Two Spatially Separated Human Subjects”, in the scientific journal, Neuroscience Letters.  In this experiment two people began meditating together with the intention of being connected.  While sustaining their meditative states, they were separated  and placed in isolation chambers incapable of receiving any signal, electronic or otherwise.  Once isolated, the scientists attached electroencephalography devices (an EEG measures and maps electrical activity in the brain) onto the two subjects.  After a few moments, the scientists flashed a series of colored lights at one of the subjects.  The EEG recorded the subject’s brain’s response.  The second subject was not exposed to the lights, yet both subject’s brains responded instantaneously in nearly identical ways.  No signal existed between the subjects, yet their brain’s shared the experience.  They were still connected.  This experiment has been reproduced by other scientists around the world.

Another example of the non-locality of consciousness was recently revealed when the Chinese government conducted an experiment with spinning electrons.  The scientists isolated two electrons that shared the same orbital spin.  They then separated the electrons by a distance of approximately 400 miles.  When they changed the spin of one electron, the other reacted immediately and in the same direction.  This occurred instantaneously, faster than the speed of light.  The purpose of this experiment is the development of communications systems that cannot be decoded because there is no signal carrying the information.  No signal, no intercept.

Perhaps you saw the headlines a few weeks ago about a study from Australia that was published in the journal, BioMed Central.  “Our results show that plants are able to positively influence growth of seeds by some, as yet, unknown mechanism,” said study author Monica Gagliano of the University of Western Australia. “Bad neighbors, such as fennel, prevent chili seed germination in the same way. We believe that the answer may involve acoustic signals generated using nanomechanical oscillations from inside the cell which allow rapid communication between nearby plants.”  Plants may actually be communicating with one another better than people do in many organizations.

Moving from plant science to molecular biology, another study, “Quantum Correlations in Biomolecules”, authored by Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford in the U.K., explored quantum signally between biomolecules.  This correlates to things I’ve witnessed firsthand.  Back in 2004, I was the lead strategist in the commercial launch of the first human stem cell (multi-lineage progenitor cells, discovered by Dr. Dan Collins of BioE, Inc.) derived from human umbilical cord blood (this is not an embryonic stem cell, but a naturally occurring cell harvested from post-birth, medical waste).  Dr. Collins was able to differentiate these rare cells into many forms of human tissue and cells.  I had the privilege of standing in the laboratory with Dr. Collins, and looking through a microscope, witnessed a single, myocardial cell twitching in heart rhythm.  I witnessed oligodendrocytes (a type of brain cell), set apart on a slide, extending dendrites towards one another to create new, neural networks.  These single cells, native to the human body, exhibited a form of consciousness in and of themselves.  They knew what to do, even outside of their host organism.

In 2009, working on another strategic project, I had the remarkable opportunity of visiting the Horn Telescope at the old Bell Labs in New Jersey.  The telescope that provided the first proof of the Big Bang, back in the 1930s.  Everything in our observable, and unobservable universe, emerged from this event.  As Carl Sagan said back in the 1970s, we’re all made up of this star-stuff that emerged in a sudden burst of creation, billions and billions of years ago.  Every atom in our bodies, every element, is from that single source.

When leaders begin to shed their conditioned blinders and entertain a slight shift in perspective to include these insights, a remarkably different world begins to emerge.  One of authentic presence, insight and engagement that sheds the us versus them orientation.  If we choose to embrace these scientific findings, and view our world through this new lens of real connectivity, opportunities for growth, innovation and productivity breakthroughs appear all around us.  With a little bit of practice, we might even begin communicating as clearly as plants!

© 2013, Terry Murray.

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