Phil Hauck's TEC Blog

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Phil's January 2019 Blog ... A Bit Too Much??

It’s been awhile since I last created a blog … primarily composed of interesting things I’ve heard and read … and sometimes a comment on a political view trend.
Here’s an update:

From TEC/Vistage speaker Holly Green, on FOCUS:
Winning in business requires focus … for ourselves and our organizations. Start each morning by asking, “Of what I plan to do today, what will get me closer to my definition of winning?” Then, organize your day around the tasks and activities that move you closer to your goals, while letting go of those that are less valuable.
To keep the organization focused, make sure all employees know:
THEIR THREE primary objectives for the week/quarter/year.
How they will have succeeded at the end of these periods.
How their job responsibilities support the organization reaching its destination.
Our world may be driving to new levels of chaos and uncertainty, but that doesn’t have to get in the way of achieving our goals. By pausing, thinking, and focusing, we can manage our innate need for certainty and closure in a way that doesn’t prevent us from winning.

Tom Foster’s Blog
Do you get this? He hits me several times a week with VERY QUICK model dialogues about problems with supervision. I think they’re great, and on the mark. Great for forwarding to your management team!
Consider it:
Read example blogs:

Health System Insights
Therese Pandl, CEO of Hospital Sisters hospitals in N.E.W., made these interesting points in a talk to the Bay Area Community Council recently:
•  Who are the Payors, the reimburses for HSHS:  Medicare 43%, Medicaid 14%, Insurers 34%,
                  Self-Pay and Other, 9%.
•  Today, after making considerable efficiency initiatives over the years, the hospitals operate
                  break-even at Medicare reimbursement levels.  They have to make more than that to 
                  have dollars for technology investments.  Medicaid reimbursement is still 35% below
                  actual costs.
•  U.S. spending on the medical system is still very high at 17% of GDP, well above the next
                  highest developed country, France, at 12%.  Most other developed countries are in the
                 10% range.  We still have a VERY LARGE problem/opportunity. But:  Whose ox do 
                 we gore?
•   Research on why and who from Single Payer (i.e., government) For All is being suggested:  
                 From the 12% still uninsured, the 16% insured but can’t afford it, and general confusion 
                 on how the system works (actually, doesn’t work).
•  Community Efforts should be:  (1)  Improving Personal Health Lifestyles, and (20)Stopping 
                 the Opioid/Meth progression.

•  Brought to me by Anna Steinfest, head of the Packers Mentor/Protege program:  “You are not 
                paid by how hard you work.  You are paid by how hard you are to replace.
•  Three Ways to Start a Speech, by Conor Neill:
3.  With a question that matters to the audience!
2.  A factoid that shocks!     “There are more people alive today than have ever died."
1.  (Same way you start a story for a child):  “Once upon a time, …”  The person leans 
                         forward and engages.  It’s a story!!
    A story from your own life about why this topic/point is important for you!

A Little Political

U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher’s great article in The Atlantic, where he explains why Congress is ineffective, and three suggestions for making it much more effective … which won’t happen, of course:

What We’re Watching ...
TEC/Vistage resource Gustavo Grodnitzky talked to us three years ago about dealing with Millennials (Generation Y) … but he also projected that Millennials will be the generation that sets the U.S. straight again.  For particular reasons.  
He might now add Generation Z, the students who are jelling to rail against the intransigence/gridlock of legislative leaders and want to bring rationality and action back to the governing process.
His logic was that the last generation to spawn truly effective U.S. presidents, who dealt successfully with the problems of the times, was the Silent (Great) Generation (born 1925 to 1945), which spawned seven generally effective Presidents.  No other generation has done that since.
Gustavo’s analysis looks at what circumstances formed the experiences and outlook of the adults of each generation, looking in particular at two formative periods … growing up (birth to 18 or so), and responsible early adulthood (18+ to 40).  In the Silent Generation’s case, their growing up (1924 to 1942) involved deprivation, chaos and instability … and their responsible early adulthood (1942 to 1964) involved slow growth, low aspirations, but commitment.  They knew the needs they had to fix, and went about doing it.  Subsequent generations haven’t, with their focus on self and aspiration.
He contends that Millennials have experienced similar formative period impacts:  Born between 1982 and 2001, their growing up period (1982+ to 2000) has involved social chaos and unraveling of social structures … and their responsible early adulthood (2000+ to now) has involved slow growth, low aspirations, and a frustration with the way things are.  Thus:  They will do something about it.
Project that to today’s student-inspired marches that are a catalyst for multiple generations rising to the gun control challenge.  If successful, it will energize massive youth-inspired initiatives aiming to fix other challenges.  And the trend of more women running for office, and succeeding.
Is a not-very-quiet revolution emerging?
I think so.

Gun Violence Cause Studies
If we’re to create initiatives aimed at reducing gun-related violence, where do we aim?  Is it truly the people who wield the guns to create the violence (mentally ill)?  Will raising the age for purchase, or lengthening the waiting period, or banning fast-action guns … do the trick?  (Probably not)
Of interest:
•  Gun violence research by the federal government was actually sharply reduced by an NRA-sponsored amendment (the Dickey Amendment) back in 1996.  It aimed at prohibiting advocacy, but had the effect of reducing research as well.  The Amendment was inspired by a CDC report that said gun ownership in homes actually reduced safety, not improved it.
•  Two independent studies have appeared recently that, based on sophisticated regression analysis of gun violence causes over a bunch of years and many countries, say the primary driver of gun violence is … the number of guns … their availability.  Not mental illness.  Not regulations.  Not …, etc.
The U.S., of course, has more guns per capita … by far … than any other country.
My interpretation:  It might suggest that banning certain types of guns, such as the fast action ones, and requiring guns stored in homes to be under lock-and-key (with the owner responsible if a gun is mis-used) … might be viable improvements?  These logically would reduce the volume of deaths in mass violence events, as well as haphazard killings … while not impugning the Second Amendment yet allowing the responsible use of guns in all the practical ways that happens in America.

On the “Conservative Supreme Court for Decades” concern”
We are a nation of laws, uniquely on our planet a nation of laws.  The Supreme Court is the final stop in insuring that we stay that way.  To encourage it to make decisions not based on law is to erode this critical balance.
The furor over Judge Kavanaugh raised this issue again.  
Conservative in judicial parlance isn’t a political term.  It means that you interpret the Constitution (called “originalism), or the laws/statutes of the U.S. (called “textualism”).  You try to interpret what the creators of the Constitution/laws/statutes “mean”!  Not what they “ought” to mean now.
The concept that the Constitution should be a “living document”, interpreted by the justices as a group based on an upgraded set of values or insights … is false. That’s the responsibility of Congress, the representatives of The People. They should give the Court new laws to interpret. Justices shouldn’t.
The contentiousness that has arisen and now become incredibly political is a result of appointing judges who think and act based on their sense of evolved morality. As one writer said, women didn’t get the right to vote (an evolved morality) because of a Supreme Court decision. Rather, because of the 19th Amendment. On the “overturn” of Roe v. Wade: Maybe Roe v. Wade is an example of justices thinking their evolved morality should settle an issue. If that’s the case, then another set of justices might think differently with a new evolved morality. A big fear by many today, and a hope by others. So, let’s find some justices who will fit “my” evolved morality. 
Lawyers are trained in interpreting the law. Their value judgments aren’t superior to anyone else’s.
Let’s put pressure on Congress and state legislatures to do their jobs. Their job is to reflect our “evolved morality."

Trump’s Salary
There is a partially false claim out that President Trump donates his entire $400,000 salary to maintenance of military cemeteries.
Not quite true. Here’s what he does, according to
Every quarter, he has donated his after-tax salary as follows:
National Park Service’s maintenance of a Civil War site.
STEM program for children overseen by the Education Dept.
Opioid addiction public awareness program of Department of Health/Human Services.
Infrastructure program overseen by Dept. of Transportation.
Mental Health caregiver support program within Veterans Affairs
SBA’s “Emerging Leaders” program to help veterans adjust.

Friday, January 19, 2018

"This Health Insurance Mess ..."

The most recent St. Norbert CEO Breakfast & Strategy session featured Mike Hamerlik, CEO of WPS Health Solutions, headquartered in Madison but known up here for their Arise health insurance plan.  Bigger, they run a huge plan administration business for major parts of the government (VA, etc.), covering 22 million people and processing more than $100 billion.  Huge.

He talked about “the health care mess.”  Among his points:
•  We talk about access, how it works, and the payment system, but the real problem is cost.  We wouldn’t be in this unaffordability situation if costs had been better controlled.  (He didn’t explain how, or what we must do in the future.)
•  Health Care System?  It’s not a system, because the interactive parts aren’t working towards a common goal.
•  Competition doesn’t work to reduce prices because of the lack of transparency, so market-based solutions can’t work.  The total cost is shared (and hidden) by too many.
•  Demand is insatiable.  “Do what it takes.
•  The solution is somewhere in the middle.
•  ObamaCare is rich in benefits, including guaranteed issue which makes private insurance ineffective.
•  ObamaCare would only work under an insurance concept if everyone was required to pay, but the penalties were too low and the subsidies too narrow.  Too many people couldn’t afford it, which is why the Individual mandate went away.
•  It’s a death spiral.  As costs keep going up, healthier individuals figure out a way to opt out.
•  Drugs:  In 2000, drugs were 5% of the total spend.  Now they are 25%-33%.  We need government price controls.  The industry says that would impact R&D, but I don’t think so.  It’s the (third party payer) market that drives prices, not costs.
•  Some of his solutions:
— Measure and publicize Quality:  There are variations, and we need to know them.  That will bring rationality to pricing.
— Waste:  Correlated with quality.  There’s at least 20% waste in the “system.”
— Get employers out of the payment sequence.  Let families decide what they want.

Some good quotes:
•  In my position, when I go out in public, I feel like the fire hydrant at a dog convention.
•  Asking for questions:  Go ahead.  I’m your pincushion.
•  Congress:  Either they do nothing, or over-react.

On the EAA, Health Insurance Costs, Value, South Pole and Congress/Sex

On The EAA
Jack Pelton, CEO of the EAA in Oshkosh, spoke recently to a St. Norbert’s CEO Breakfast & Strategy session, and made these points.  He came to the job after several decades at Cessna, finishing as CEO.
•  When I took this job in 2015, it was with the understanding to rationalize our go-to-market and talent development strategies.  We had to re-integrate our mission and use it as a basis for developing a 10-year Vision and Strategies for what we wanted to accomplish in bringing value to our 210,000 members, and a talent development strategy to insure we have the right people to lead us.  My time is spent on having the right plans, and having the right people to execute them.
•  Our growth strategy is, first, to provide attention and services to every phase of private aircraft ownership.  As a result, we serve many different sub-interests within private aviation.  We have a central emphasis on youth at the level of our 800 chapters, trying to stimulate interest with free flights, and then helping educate them to get pilot licenses in their late teenage years.  Right now, we’re working with Marvel comics to create a comic book character, Aviar.
•  This shows up in our annual EAA Fly-in.  We make sure there is something going on for everyone.  That’s way we’ve grown from 21 aircraft and 150 people in 1953, to 10,000 aircraft and 290,000 people this past July … including 11,000 campers and 800 exhibitors.
•  When we hire someone, they know it’s not just for that job.  Our IT head is also in charge of all the parking and camping.  Our HR head is in charge of services for all the campers.
•  Second, we have to be on top of trends that will impact our industry.  Thus, we have a constant presence in Washington, DC to make sure new rules and regulations serve our members’ needs while protecting safety.  Drones?  We share airspace with them, so work collaboratively on the regulation proposals.  Next year we will have a drone race at the Fly-In.

Health Insurance Costs
On two sequential days recently, I heard venting from two friends … both pre-Medicare, both couples with no dependents, one self-employed and the other retired, both making more than $88,000 so no ObamaCare subsidies … who said they are being quoted annual premiums in the $20,000+ range … plus deductibles.  So, they will be paying around $30,000 before getting any insurance relief.  Barring something catastrophic, neither will come close.
This is the cost-shifting that is being required of insurers because they can’t break even with the ObamaCare subsidies and the probable decision to reduce payments to insurers for losses.
There’s going to be a major rebellion shortly.
About half of all households are employed by self-insured employers, who are achieving no increase to minimal increase.  Those making up to $88,000 get some subsidy (median U.S. household income is about $50,000)… a lot of subsidy up to about $30,000.  And a large number of both young and poor are paying the penalty rather than fund the insurers.  Result:  Cost shifting to everyone else, like my friends.
The concepts were poor back on March 23, 2010.  At some point, future lawmakers, the ones who will shortly replace the current ones, will figure out what’s right, what works.  It will have something to do with “one-size-fits-all.”

What Constitutes the Value You Provide Customers?
Can you define explicitly the Added Value you provide your customers?  What it is that they now can provide their customers that they can’t without your Value Addition?
It’s an important question for all employees to know the answer(s) to … because virtually everyone’s work should be aimed at helping provide that Added Value.  The only other work is that which is required for the enterprise to exist.
— Thanks for Michael Wentworth for this.

How High is the South Pole?
What’s its altitude, its “feet above sea level”?
Very surprising.  It’s 9,300 feet above sea level, due to the ice accumulation.  That’s oxygen deprivation area.
It also has only one day a year.  That’s right.  The sun becomes visible on March 21, and disappears on September 21.
The North Pole?

Congress’ Sexual Harassment Costs
Courtesy of my favorite Congressional watchdog, No Labels (, in the 20 years since 1997, Congress has secretly spent $17 million to resolve sexual harassment and other workplace claims filed by employees of Congress.  Doesn’t indicate how much is for sexual harassment, but those involved more than 250 individual settlements!
        Of interest:  There's now a bill pending that would require individual officeholders to pay their own claims, not the taxpayers.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

On China's Potential ...

Worry all you want about China and its future economic and political impact, but consider this:
Already, China is …
      •  In Top 3 nations for investment in virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, robotics, drones and artificial intelligence.
      •  The world’s largest e-commerce market, with 40% of value of transactions.
      •  In mobile payments, has 11 times the transaction value of the U.S.
      •  In 2016, the three huge internet giants in China accounted for 42% of all venture capital investment, compared to the 5% total of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix.  They also made 35 overseas deals, compared with 20 by the US biggies.
Source:  McKinsey Global Institute

Contrast this performance with the newly-announced government desire to control more and more of what's happening.  Indeed, in case you missed it, the government intends to begin "rating" each individual on the level of patriotism he/she shows ... formally including everyone beginning in 2020 ... based on participation in various kinds of government-suggested activities.

Takeaways from Manufacturers First Conference ...

This past week, I attended the Manufacturing First Expo sponsored by the N.E.W. Manufacturers Alliance at the KI Center, which had about 100+ exhibitors … and attended several of their presentations/workshops.  Among my takeaways:

•  Lindquist Machine Co., a 110-employee equipment manufacturer.  CEO Mark Kaiser, with consultant Lee Bouche, is in a multi-year effort to create a truly integrated Intentional Culture.  The major elements are in, and 2017 is dedicated to getting every employee to understand how to conduct “Crucial Conversations,” using the Patterson/Grenny-authored book of the same name.  Many plant floor employees, and even some leaders, aren’t readers or communicators, so it’s sometimes a challenge, but they are persisting.  Think of the cultural/morale/performance impact when a entire workforce is being trained in practical communication techniques!

•  Some great quotes and points, cited by Lee Bouche:
Employees’ Basic Needs:  Respect, Learning, Challenge and Inclusion!
Gruenter/Whitaker:  “The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.”
David Couper   “Employees work harder for Cause than for Cash!”  Pay and benefits don’t make it anymore; they’re threshold.
From the book, Never By Chance, Aligning People and Strategy thru Intentional Leadership:  “One of the most important obligations as a leader is to create a compelling vision for the company and then create a culture to achieve that vision.”

•  From Melinda Morella-Olson, Imaginasium, on how to reach out to employees:
Have a Careers Page on your website, as Plexus does.
Look at Manitowoc Co.’s “Employer Brand” approach on its website.

•  Final Takeaways proposed by the three panelists:
Melinda Morella-Olson:  Get a feeler your Employees’ Experience.  What’s driving them to come to work every day?
Steve Hirt, Optima:  De-Select from your choices.  Don’t keep trying to do more just because you can.
Fred Johnson, InitiativeOne:  YOU drive the conflict.  Have the conversation, but in a spirit of respect and kindness.  Don’t let the conflict drive you, creating discomfort.

•  NOVO:  Physician-Led HealthCare.  I’ve seen their signs, but wondered who they are and what they do.  Because sick care costs and delivery challenges are such a problem these days, I attended … and founder Kurt Kubiak explained what they’re doing.  They began in 2015, after he spent six years with Plexus’ world-class manufacturing (and 6 sigma mentality) and then at Fox Valley Orthopedics.  His mission:  To speed up the trend towards “price bundling” while providing a more satisfactory patient experience … primarily for self-insured companies.  Today, he has bundled price arrangements with specialists in Cardiology, Orthopedics, Hematology/Oncology, and some in primary care and rehab.  They develop deals at much lower total costs (30% lower he says) than state averages.
Of interest:  To invent employees to use their doctors, they provide cash payments (often $2,000) to the employees … and even pay travel from remoter areas.
It’s a great idea, and a struggle to get inroads … because the major health systems won’t use them and are much slower to embrace the bundled pricing ideas, though they’re making progress.
They also do Workers’ Comp work.
How to make inroads into fully-insured companies, hoping the insurance companies will recognize the cheaper cost structure and reward with lower premiums … or at least lower premium increases?  And how would you know?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Servant Leadership Insights

Ben Fauske, an O/D specialist here in Green Bay, provided these insights at a recent Servant Leadership workshop sponsored by Prophit Marketing and Festival Foods:
  • Problem with connecting grandiose mission to what I do:  “I save lives … one folded carton at a time!”
  • “They are CAVE people … C.A.V.E. … Citizens Against Virtually Everything!”
  • Example of a great culture:  My family and I were at Disneyland, on a shuttle bus, an the driver was getting exasperated at riders not sitting down, as safety required. Finally, he broke from his “role” and yelled at offenders.  When we got off the shuttle, he got off with us.  “I apologize.  I should not have done that.  It was wrong, and I should be held accountable for it.  Here is my card and my manager’s card.  I want you to know that whatever you write him about what I did, I will verify and I will accept his penalty.”
  • He asked attendees, “Why was the worst team you ever worked on the worst?”  Responses:  Boss had his favorites; too much ego (too much “I”); micromanaging; saying things that were patently untrue; promising things that were never delivered … and a power struggle between team members.
  • What got him into O/D work?  “After college, I worked for eight bad cultures in eight straight years.”  (Wonder where his ninth was?)

"Soul Leadership"

Fred Johnson, CEO of Initiative One in Green Bay, at one of his Last Friday seminars, entitled “Soul Leadership” ...
  • “Emotional Intelligence is the main thing these days for a leader … and I think there’s something just beyond that, 'Soul Leadership’.  It’s where you actually ‘love” the people you work with.  Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, when his teams were at their peak effectiveness, said it’s because they love each other.  You are creating an environment where people actually feel loved.”
Some supporting comments:
  • After the Great Recession, the percentage of people wanting to leave their companies was at an all-time high, not because of the layoffs … people expected that.  It was because during the aftermath, managers/leaders didn’t treat them as adults … not keeping them informed of what the situations were (miserable as they were), “coddling” them, being paternalistic.  They felt like “assets” used to protect the bottom-line, not treated as a responsible, reliable, trusted adult team member.
  • Millennials, we believe, want a “flow” between their personal and work lives … high inclusion, high relationships … which builds Trust and Commitment.  It’s bad when the work culture is such that it is separated from one’s personal life.
  • Leadership Development today starts with creating a positive self-awareness that ultimately yields Confidence … confidence that leading the search, asking the questions won’t diminish his/her influence and respect.  Getting out of the organization’s way so they can help solve the problems, deal with the challenges.
  • Every process can be derailed if people who use/manage it don’t feel valued as a person.  As the American Airlines CEO said recently after the United Airlines debacle, “Never let process trump people.”
  • Good leaders don’t get “burned out.”  They become comfortable with being uncomfortable … and solving the dilemmas that create that discomfort.
  • Perfection kills you as a leader.  It’s an addiction to order … which can never be made perfect.