Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Lessons Learned from Pool Maintenance

July 26, 2013

I bought a HUD Home February 2007.  After I moved in, it required some professionals to come in and get it repaired and in working order because the house had sat vacant for so long.  I had never been a pool owner before and so there was much to learn about what is required to keep a pool “up and running”.  I was determined to learn as much as I could myself to save the cost of this being maintained by a Pool Servicing Company.  From pool parts, to chemicals, to a routine, and how to balance the PH…there was so much to be learned!  At the beginning, it was very overwhelming and I felt I would never get it right.

One of my girlfriends has a pool [though hers is salt water and not chlorine like mine] and she kept telling me, you can get this.  It will just take time.  Before long, you will know what is wrong with your pool just by looking at it.  I stuck with it and 6 years later, I can tell you she is right!

The other morning I was out tending to my pool and I was reflecting on the fact that there are so many lessons that can be learned by pool maintenance.  If you have a pool, you will relate.  If you don’t, I think you still will relate!

  • No matter what you know in life, you will be faced with something at some point that you don’t know.  Don’t be afraid to ask the experts for help.  They know their stuff and they will teach you if you are willing to learn.  If you haven’t found someone willing to teach you, keep looking, keep searching – they are out there!
  • To learn anything new, you must have a desire to learn, you must be willing to spend the time it takes to learn, and you must be dedicated to the process, no matter how hard or how long it takes.
  • Taking care of your pool on a daily basis avoids issues developing with your PH levels, your equipment, and you are able to spot things quickly that need to be addressed.  Being disciplined to have a routine and stick to it will prevent long hours, money and extensive effort having to be applied later to get it back into shape after it has gotten out of control.  This is true about so many other areas in life including diet, exercise, a financial budget, projects, relationships, business development, and more!  Though at times it is hard to see the benefits of a routine when you only focus on it on a daily basis, when you step back and see the progress you see the results of sparkling bright clear water!
  • When life happens and distracts you from your routine, for instance you went out of town on vacation or a business trip and therefore your pool didn’t get tended to like it should have and now the water is showing signs of being ugly, you will have to spend the extra time beyond your normal routine, exert more effort to get it back on track and make up for lost time, so that you can resume your daily maintenance.  Don’t believe all is lost and that its a done deal.  Jump in and do what you can as quickly as you can so that the problem doesn’t get to a level of needing more help than even you can give it.  You can’t lose heart, you have to stay focused and realize that extreme measures will have to be taken to get things back on track.
  • If even after all the years of experience you get stuck and can’t get the PH levels to be what they need to be, remember that sometimes things are beyond your control and it requires the “big dogs” to come in and take over.  Know who to contact in case of an emergency so that when you need them you can call them to the rescue.
  • Just like pool maintenance takes work, relationships take work.  You have to put something into it to get something out of it.  But your hard effort does pay off and you can enjoy floating in the pool on a warm Texas afternoon, even if it takes time to get to that point!
  • Your pool will have its own characteristics based off of the number of swimmers each week, the amount of sun vs shade, the size of your pool, your water chemistry, etc.  You will have to be in tune with each of these elements in order to “learn” your pool to develop the ability to know what is wrong with it at a glance so that you will know what it needs.  Simply add a bit more chemicals?  Increased water levels?  Each of us can develop these skills with relationships too!  If you spend the time being in tune with what is going on with a person, you will know at a glance what is wrong and how you can be of help.  Sometimes not everything is seen at a glance, but with time, all things become exposed.
  • Once you have learned your pool, there is a risk to not keep learning.  New products come out, the environment changes, things erode slowly over time so you don’t even see what is happening on a daily basis.  We must be willing to continually learn and at times step back and look at it with a harder evaluation to make sure we aren’t missing something.
  • With a pool there are seasons when it requires more work than other times.  In the fall, the process of scooping out leaves is non stop.  In the winter, the PH levels change and you have to adjust your routine.  In the spring, the rains make the water consistency hard to keep balanced and pretty.  In the summer, the PH levels change again and you will be spending more time tending to it and putting chemicals in it, but you also spend more time enjoying it.  Just as with life, there are seasons to each phase.  Learn to make the most of today and enjoy them!  Don’t let a summer go by without making sure you are getting your pool time or in the winter you will wonder why you have it and regret ever buying a house with a pool!

Do you have 10 Commandments of Business?

June 18, 2012

I follow several blogs, some business, some motivational, some spiritual, to continue to grow me as an Entrepreneur, an individual, and follower of Christ.  I particularly like the thoughts of one of the posts recently that was discussing the 10 commandments of doing business a different way. A way that is designed to lead to not just a great career that changed lives, but to the ability to love the work you do in the world, the business you aspire to build and the life you want to live.  You can read the complete post here.  Here are the 10 Commandments of Biz Jonathan Fields posted.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Patrick Lencioni

May 23, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts. The topic this year was on Choices.

Patrick Lencioni

Research shows people have to hear things 7 times before they believe it.

The single based improvement and competitive advantage in our organizations is an opportunity that is free, accessible and virtually untapped.  The things you do to build an organization most people think it’s beneath them.  They thinks it’s not sophisticated enough, not enough adrenaline, not able to quantify, not complex enough. If you ignore these things you will transform your organization.  You must be “smart” about finance/money, technology, marketing, business, and education…and “healthy” minimal politics and confusion, high degrees of morale and productivity and encouragement. Be a leader!  These [smart & healthy] must be 50-50%. Knowledge vs a healthy organization…better “smart” isn’t want is needed.  Build amazing culture and you will tap into your knowledge and make better decisions.  This is a rigorous process.

The Four Disciplines of a Healthy Organization

1 – Build a Cohesive Leadership Team

This is a must.  Be vulnerable.  Vulnerability based trust, not predictive trust…I need help. I don’t understand. I apologize…be butt naked with each other.  If a leader is not vulnerable first, then nobody else will.  Product and strategy may be problems but those are results of lack of trust in the executive team.  You can’t be too vulnerable.  The people we lead know what is going on – be the first to acknowledge it and respond.  Embrace vulnerability.  It’s liberating.  They’ll respond with loyalty and trust.

2 – Create Clarity

Have core values and be willing to be punished/stand up for them.  Agree on this stuff at the highest level.  Be intolerant of the things that don’t support your core values.  Go out and be who you are and over communicate the message.  Leaders can’t be tired of repeating themselves.  If your people can’t do an impression of you, you aren’t communicating it enough.  Put some structure in places around processes that involve people.  Simple structures.  Institutionalize your culture without bureaucracy.  Who are you?  What are your values?  Define that by 1 or 2 things.

3 – Over Communicate Clarity

Communicate.  Communicate.  Communicate.

4 – Reinforce Clarity

Institutionalize without commercializing your structure.  Create enough structure to reinforce this.  Not undefined structure. Great leaders are comfortable doing these things even if they are punished for it because that is how they make it real. Great leaders make it real eve if it hurts them.  Great leaders are humble and willing to do the things that lead their organization.  You will change your team, that will change their spouses, their kids, their families, their neighbors, their friends, and they will treat everyone else better.  None of us can look back and say that is beneath us!


Review of my top nuggets:

  • Build amazing culture [high degree of morale, productivity and encouragement].
  • Be vulnerable.
  • Have 1 or 2 core values.
  • None of us can say that this is beneath us!


I was the FIRST to register for the event so I got Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage!!!  I was very excited to get this as after his talk, I knew I wanted to purchase it!

A special Thank You to the host & team of the event…you did a great job!!!

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Sheeyna Iyengar

May 22, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts. The topic this year was on Choices.

Dr. Sheeyna Iyengar

What makes a leader?  The one who is at the top of the ladder?  The one with the big office and big salary?  The one who can get away with anything?  One who speaks softly?  One who speaks loudly?

How do they get the respect?  Are they naturally born with charisma?  Fate?  Chance?  Or is it a choice?  Those critical actions they decided to take at those critical moments.  Choice is the only thing that gives meaning in everything we say and do.  Choice puts control in your hands.  Choice is the most powerful tool in your hands to go from where you are today to tomorrow.  Ultimately you are the sum of all your choices.

We all don’t see choices the same, or to the same extent.  How many choices to have, how to make them, who should make them, what is a meaningful choice, why the choice is important, etc.  Culture and training affect our choices.  Give choices that inspire and motivate others.  Choices given are many times more attractive but not as effective [Jam demonstration example].  Effective leaders see choice through other people’s eyes.  Choices are comparing bundles of information.  We struggle when we are given more than 7.

Too much choice = delay, procrastinate, make worse choices, perform  worse, less satisfied, choice overload

Too much choice makes people ask: What If?

CEO’s make decisions over 50% of the time, in 9 minutes or less; 38% in 9 minutes to 1 hour; and only 12% of those decisions take an hour or more; 5 times as many choices as tasks in a given week.  Be proactive vs reactive in your decisions and choices.  Spend time on the choices that matter most.  Be choosy about choosing.

Make a Choice: Choosing is an art.  It does not look the same to all eyes, nor do we all agree on its purpose.  Though we can learn from other people, there is no simple formula.  We do not experience the same results.  In order to do it well [choose] it requires you to face yourself, you must rummage within yourself, etc.  We don’t all look at the choices the same way.

A great leader must question choices and look for new ways to achieve the goals.  Choices have limitations; you must be willing to relinquish it in order to appreciate its true power.

Face reality of hard work and humility.  Recognize the worth of something even if you have more than you need.  You loose the value of that which is free if you don’t appreciate it.

A leader is someone who can live with nothing, yet have everything.  A dreamer with a plan.

Write your own story, choose with wisdom and compassion.  You are mastering the art of choosing.

Review of my top nuggets:

  • Choice is the most powerful tool in your hands.
  • Spend time on the choices that matter most.
  • Be choosy about choosing.
  • Question choices.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Roland Fryer

May 21, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts. The topic this year was on Choices.

Dr. Roland Fryer

You can’t eat prestige.

8th Grade test scores show us a lot about education and skills when you compare them when they are 40.  Current teachers are now more educated, have masters, make double the income, have less the number of students and flat achievement results.

Teach us…tell us how we can fix it.  Watch and hang out so you can get the recipe.  Make them feel like superstars.  Test to see what you don’t know and teach what you don’t know or need to know more of.  Do small group training.  One on one coaching.  High expectations.  No excuses.  People live up or down to our expectations.  Do the work.  We know the work.  If it’s so obvious, then why don’t we do it?  Educate the most vulnerable.

Personal Responsibility.  You must develop yourself so that you can develop others.  Our talk is more sophisticated but the situation is the same.  Elevate the conversation to a purpose, for a solution, the arguments have gone on long enough, show me the data on how it works.  Hold our leaders accountable.  Show people what is possible to get them past the feeling that it can’t be done.  They have to be encouraged.

Tough love.  Let them know that you understand the situation but that they must keep on.  We need to know in real-time where you are.  Keep evaluating.  Take the test.  Grow.  Learn.  Change.

Do we have what it takes to make these changes?  We are going to have to figure out how to educate the most vulnerable.

Review of my top nuggets:

  • Watch and hang out so you can get the recipe.
  • Educate the most vulnerable.
  • You must develop yourself so you can develop others.
  • Evaluate. Test. Grow. Learn. Change.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Soledad O’Brien

May 16, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts. The topic this year was on Choices.

Soledad O’Brien

As a journalist, I wrote stories about events, people, and issues that were “stuck”…interviewed people [famous and not so famous] learning most from the regular people…documentaries…conversations…

True leadership happens in conversations.  Often by people who feel their stories are ignored.

There is bravery when you recognize that people don’t mean what they say.  Move through life with dignity and people will follow your lead.

Be present when the moment calls.  Be steady.  Don’t run.  Analyze how people rise up and when people fall down.  Set out to do with all the power you have.

Decide to lead.  Decide to have a voice to stand up.  Take a stand for justice, even if others do not agree.

True leadership is having to take a very different path.  True leadership is going off script.  True leadership is about blunt conversations.  True leadership is not about change that comes tomorrow or the next day – real history making change takes time, but it comes.

Supporting the culture and affirming the change…trust…listen to others…have opinions about right and wrong…share and build connections with those that you disagree with, to build peace and civility.

Conscience must ask the question: Is it right?


Review of my top nuggets:

  • Be steady. Don’t run.
  • Decide to lead.
  • True leadership is going off script.
  • Change takes time.


Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…John Maxwell

May 15, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts. The topic this year was on Choices.

John Maxwell

The choices we make dictate the lives we live.  You must have your own personal growth plan. Transformation must start in the life of the leader.  We make a decision that is important and then we manage it the rest of your life.  Growth is not automatic, it’s intentional.  You grow on purpose.  Your life can be changed!

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership work because they are laws.  Laws don’t care.  They don’t ask if you will buy in.

New Book: The 15 Laws of Personal Growth (this book is coming out in October 2012).

The Law of Intentionality = Growth doesn’t just happen. Grow on purpose.  You have to make a choice to grow.  There is a choice you have to make in everything you do…in the end, the choice you make, makes you. Put your money where your values are.  You want to change your challenges, difficulties, problems, everything around us, but you don’t want to change yourself.  Leadership is a process of intentionality…Do It Everyday!  The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda!  Be intentional everyday.  You either are repairing or preparing.  Have a Simple Plan.  Basic Plan.  Practical Plan. Applicable Plan.  Do it now, now what I should do or gonna do.  Current Plan.  You plan is uphill all the way.

The Law of Diminishing Return = By putting off what you should do, you’ll never do it.  The longer you don’t do it, the higher the chance we won’t do it.

The Law of Awareness = You must know yourself to grow yourself.  Invest in yourself…why should someone else invest in you if you don’t invest in yourself?

Requirement: What is expected or required of me?

Return: What gives me a return?  What do I do well?  Put your effort and energy, and growth to your strengths!  Weak becomes average after effort.

Rewarding: What is rewarding to me?  We migrate to what we like to do!  It brings life to me.  These bring passion = the phenomenal energy.

The Law of Environment = Growth thrives in conducive surroundings…one that is conducive to our challenge of growth.  To create a growth environment: Where others are ahead of me; A place where I am continually challenged; Where my focus is continually forward; A place where the atmosphere is affirming; A place where I’m out of my comfort zone [but never out of your gift zone]; Where you wake up excited; Failure is not my enemy; Where other people are growing; Where people desire [wanting & willing to change] change and they can only grow with change; Where growth is modeled, encouraged and required!

You can’t lock out greatness!  Become the person you want to become…with the keys to personal growth, unlock the door and walk out of that cell!

Review of my top nuggets:

  • The choices we make dictate the lives we live.
  • There is a choice you have to make in everything you do…in the end, the choice you make, makes you.
  • You must know yourself to grow yourself.
  • Growth thrives in conducive surroundings.  Create a growth environment.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Marcus Buckingham

May 14, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts. The topic this year was on Choices.

Marcus Buckingham

Be authentic.  It’s your most precious and most important commodity.  Who are you?  Be you!  Most people believe that there is a perfect way to lead and if you meet enough of these attributes then you’re the best leader (referring to competency models).  What is authentic with one leader looks forced with another.

Study leaders.  Transfer concepts.  Catch excellence and reflect it back.  Most people miss the concepts and go to the technique.  The techniques of one leader are hard to transfer to another.  Leadership is not easily transferred.  It must be individualized.

What is your leadership algorithm?  What is your edge [comparative advantage and techniques], to stand out?  The Stand Out Assessment will measure you on 9 strengths…you will have and be defined by the top 2 you are the strongest on.

Stand Out Assessment Strength Roles:

Advisor – Practical, concrete thinker, problem solver, pragmatic

Connector – Points out and brings out the best in each of you

Creator – What do I understand?  I’m thinking.  Need time.

Equalizer – What is the right thing to do?  Moral commitments.  You have responsibilities to one another.  You want accountability and responsibility.  You do consistently what you say you will do and you create consistency.

Influencer – Each conversation is a sale and you have an agenda, move to act, you do it through charm

Pioneer – What’s new?  What’s next? Let’s go.  It’s a friendly place.

Provider – Are you okay? Create an environment about care, well-being, creativity, innovation.

Stimulator – Create energy, influence the rest, you’re an emotional giver, you give strength and energy.

Teacher – You ask how can I learn? You see everyone as a work in progress to you no one is ever finished.

What would you do?  Is how other people see you by what you do accidentally or deliberately.  Every leader is different. What is between your ears is what needs to be shared.  There is no perfect leadership profile.  You need practices and information to HELP you!!! They [your practices] are not the best, they just are…you are you [the same person] but you just get better.  Come back better!  Be the most sophisticated user of yourself that is possible.

Don’t bless yourself with uniqueness – make it useful.  How do you take what is unique about yourself and make it useful?  The challenge and choice as a leader, is to make what is unique about you useful.


Review of my top nuggets:

  • Be authentic.
  • Catch excellence and reflect it back.
  • Other people see you by what you do accidentally or deliberately.
  • Don’t bless yourself with uniqueness – make it useful.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Angela Ahrendts

May 11, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts. The topic this year was on Choices.

Angela Ahrendts

Trust is how we lead our company.  Reinforce your culture and lead by intuition, be connected, compassionate, intuitively lead, make choices. It is our job to put the right people in the right positions in order to win.  You have to trust their values and leadership…and must share the same values and vision, on all levels!  You have to use all expertise to execute but you can’t do this without trust.  You have to create a culture on what’s best for the company, the people, “the Brand”…it gets rid of self and the ego.  Intuition will empower people…we value feeling over knowledge. Leaders have to look forward.

Don’t ever forget where you come from…your heritage and your values.  Our vision is that the true measure of our success will be by the lives we have touched and their success.  Your culture touches other people.  intuition is the greatest output of trust and a strong culture.

Don’t get intimidated by how fast things are going.

Protect, explore and inspire. Use your instincts.  It will build trust in your team.  Trust empowers people.

Follow your instincts.  Reinforce your values.  Have a laser point of view.


Review of my top nuggets:

  • You must share the same values and vision.
  • Don’t ever forget where you came from…your heritage or your values.
  • Trust empowers people.
  • Follow your instincts. Reinforce your values. Have a laser point of view.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Tim Tebow

May 9, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts. The topic this year was on Choices.

Tim Tebow

People respect you when you put it all on the line.

A leader is someone you can influence.  Everyone can be a leader.

Consistently work hard.  Make the most of it.  Stand up!

At the end of the day…we have to know that it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose, or someone writes a bad article about me; I know whose I am.

Mission Statement:  Bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour.

People say:  I’m not a role model.  Yes you are, you just aren’t a very good one.  I want to be a role model for someone.  I want to invest in their lives.  Your platform can make a difference.

It is the wrong approach to have an attitude of you can’t wait to get this day done, get practice over, get done with workouts, get free time to go hang out and relax, get home, get to play, get off work, quit, get out of whatever. You need to wake up with the attitude on how you can improve yourself today and that you want to make an impact in someone else’s life today.  It will change your day and your life.

You have to love what you do.  You have to be passionate about what you do…a passion is not just motivation or have a hype about it.  Whether you feel good or bad you will still do it!  You have to be willing to sacrifice.

If someone’s watching you, then there is someone you can influence.


Review of my top nuggets:

  • People respect you when you put it all on the line.
  • Your platform can make a difference.
  • You have to be passionate about what you do…not just motivated or have a hype about it.
  • You have to be wiling to sacrifice.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Urban Meyer

May 8, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts.  The topic this year was on Choices.

Urban Meyer

Many times we are face with choices that create conflict.  There is a way…you just have to be very disciplined and balanced in ALL areas of life.  Look inward and evaluate yourself.  Brighten someone else’s day.

Three characteristics of a great Leader:

1.  Selfless

2.  Worth Ethic

3.  Competitor

People get derailed by how other people feel about them.  Your faith and family are what will help you keep your focus.

Let the negative things go.  Focus on the things you can control.

Handle yourself right on the sidelines and you’ll be invited to the game that matters.


Review of my top nuggets:

  • There is a way…you just have to be very disciplined and balanced in ALL areas of life.
  • Brighten someone else’s day.
  • Let the negative things go.
  • Handle yourself right on the sidelines and you’ll be invited to the game that matters.


Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012…Andy Stanley

May 7, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event again this year via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth on Friday, May 4th, 2012.  I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts.  The topic this year was on Choices.

Andy Stanley

As a Leader, the following is true:

I may be in charge, but I don’t know what to do. I may be in charge, but I don’t have all the answers.  I’m not the smartest person around here, I’m just the Leader.

Open leadership is good for the soul.  Leaders are important because of the things we hate the most: Uncertainty.  Uncertainty is why people need Leaders.  It is what makes us who we are.  You will never have all the information you need…but you can’t be intimidated by uncertainty or its culture.  It’s not an indication of poor leadership.  Navigate uncertainty: The goal is to not eradicate uncertainty, but navigate it.

Process for making decisions:

What would my replacement do?

Why don’t we walk out and come back in and do what they would do?  Why are you stuck on the way you have always done it?  Your emotions?  Your memories?  Instead of the Mission and Vision.

What would a great Leader do?

It brings great power to encourage you to meet your struggles.  Not concerned about a bonus, reputation, what people will think, the way its already/always been done.  Don’t make it bigger…make it better!  You will get bigger if you do.  Ask a better question.  Be selfless.  Influence.  Be a Leader.  What’s in it for everyone else?  Be committed.  You will find significance.  You will find answers.  Better questions.  Beyond anything you ever would have considered.  Extraordinary opportunity.

What story do I want to tell?

Every decision you make in your life at some point is just a story.  Don’t make a choice that will make you a liar for life. Make decisions that you are proud to tell!  Your story is with you forever!  Every business decision you make becomes apart of you for life!  Honor God!  Honor your company and the people you work with.  Honor your friends!  Honor your Family!  So what story do you want to tell?  This is the legacy question.  Ask good questions! Be a Leader with a Vision for people to follow. Write a script that is a story you are proud to tell!

Make good choices & be a Leader worth following!


Review of my top nuggets:

  • We never have all the information we need!
  • Don’t make it bigger…make it better.
  • Your story is with you forever!
  • Be a leader with a vision for people to follow.

Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event

May 4, 2012

I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2012 Event today [my 2nd time, last year was my 1st] via simulcast at Morning Chapel CME Church in Fort Worth today…I really enjoyed the awesome speakers and of course, I always have my own takeaways, nuggets, and favorite quotes from speakers!  I am going to highlight these over the next few blog posts to share with you my notes so that you may be inspired also!  The topic this year was on Choices.

The day was a packed one.  Full of speakers via the simulcast event and even a few speakers live for us from the local area.  This picture is the lady who greeted me at the door when I arrived.

Misty & Morning Chapel Volunteer

Morning Chapel Chick-Fil-A Leadercast Volunteer

All the team were very warm, friendly, helpful and full of smiles! I can’t wait for next year!!!

Morning Chapel Chick-Fil-A Leadercast Team

Morning Chapel Chick-Fil-A Leadercast Team

Classics to a Business Woman’s Wardrobe

April 18, 2012

As a Business Woman, I want to look professional.  I want to be distinguished and classy, but not over the top.  I want to not be so elaborate in my clothing and jewelry that you are distracted and don’t see the fact that I am a servant, there to work for you.  I am not here to look like a model but I still want to have an image that conveys business.  That does not mean what I wear is not cute or can’t be flattering.

There are many articles out there on what to wear and not wear.  This post is not going to be about that.  It is going to be  me sharing some information as to why I dress the way I do.

  • I wear a skirt or dress.  I don’t wear pants, never have.  Doesn’t meant there are not situations for them, but I am a lady, want to be seen as a lady, and want to act like one.  I don’t care what your views are on woman in pants, a woman in a skirt or dress brings automatic respect, especially when dealing with business men.
  • I wear lots of black.  Black is classic.  Black goes with nearly 100% of all other colors (navy and brown are the only two colors I know of that it doesn’t look good with).  Black is slimming.  Black is considered business dress.  You can never go wrong in black.
  • I introduce more white into my wardrobe from April – October here in Texas, depending on the weather.  White is a crisp, clean and fresh look that is classy, just like black.  It is not quite as businesslike, but it still is professional.  I don’t remove black completely, just don’t use it exclusively.
  • I do not want to have a suit or outfit for every day of the week.  Everything I have can be mixed and matched with at least one or two more outfits, if not with everything.  This cuts down on the number of items I have to have in my closet and things I have to take care of (from washing, mending, ironing, maintaining, storage, etc).
  • I have 5 classic pieces of jewelry that are always my standbys and coordinate with nearly all outfits.  A thin silver jewel necklace.  A cream large pearl bead necklace with black ribbon.  A fancy vintage diamond like necklace.  Silver beads.  A long silver necklace with a round piece of silver metal.  All of these pieces match with nearly all outfits, this means I don’t have to have a wardrobe full of stuff to accent an outfit.  I simply won’t purchase items that can’t accessorize any outfit.
  • I either wear a watch on my left hand or a bracelet.  I have very few big or bulky bracelets and only wear those if my outfit needs for boldness because it is too plain.  I have three watches, a plain grey faced/silver one, a red faced/silver one and a vintage one.  I wear a bracelet when it fits the outfit more and a watch when it doesn’t.  I also wear a watch if I am going to need to know the time and won’t have my cell phone with me (and may not be in a room with access to a clock).
  • I buy leather shoes and ones that are versatile with everything.  A pair of shoes that can’t be worn with various styles is a waste of money and means that I must pack more when going on a trip, let alone have more in the closet, and more to clean and care for.
  • I need my outfits to be versatile to be ready quickly and without a bunch of fuss.  Life is too short to be spending hours getting prepared for your client appointments, networking events, business meetings, and/or business trips.  I take the time ahead of time so that there is no last minute rush on trying to figure out what to wear, what matches with what, it all will coordinate or it won’t work for me!  That means very few items that are dry clean only.  Most of my blazers have to be dry cleaned, but the shirts and skirts I avoid that as much as possible.

What tips do you have for creating a Classic Business Woman’s Wardrobe?  What colors do you wear?  I would love it if you would share something that will help each of us to have a better wardrobe and maximize it.

Credentialing with Insurance Companies

April 9, 2012

We will be doing more Blog Posts on the subject of Credentialing, but today’s is simply an overview for you to understand what it is.

Credentialing, as defined by Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §10.82, is the “process for selection and retention of network doctors and health care practitioners” (providers). Credentialing is the process of establishing the qualifications of licensed professionals, organizational members or organizations, and assessing their background and legitimacy.  The credentialing process is part of the required Quality Improvement Program described in 28 TAC §10.81 and Texas Insurance Code, §§1305.301-1305.304. All certified workers’ compensation networks are required to document, create policies and procedures, and develop written criteria for credentialing network providers.

The initial credentialing process may begin with a provider submitting a completed Texas Standardized Credentialing Application to the Insurance Company and Network in which they wish to participate. The Credentialing Department and/or Committee will verify items such as the applicant’s work history, current professional liability insurance, education, board certification (if applicable), history of loss, sanctions or other disciplinary activity. The process may also consist of an on-site visit to assess the applicant’s location of practice or facility.  The applicant must be notified of the credentialing committee’s decision no later than 60 days after the decision. The WCNet is required to re-credential each participating credentialed provider every 3 years.

Many health care facilities, institutions and providers conduct their own credentialing, through this is a service that can be paid for and done by a credentialing specialist or electronic service, with review by a medical staff or credentialing committee.  It may include granting and reviewing specific clinical privileges, and medical or allied health staff membership.

As Texas is not an “any willing provider” state, the WCNet is not required to contract with a provider applicant. However, pursuant to 28 TAC §10.82, a provider has the right to review the information submitted to support the credentialing application, correct erroneous information and the right to be informed of the status of their credentialing or re-credentialing application.

The process is generally an objective evaluation of a subject’s current licencee, training or experience, competence, and ability to provide particular services or perform particular procedures.

Personnel credentialing is typically undertaken at commencement of employment (initial application) and at regular intervals thereafter (reappointment).  Credentialing of vendors or other organizations may begin prior to the purchasing process and be repeated regularly.


Do you do your own credentialing or do you hire someone else to do it?

7 things to consider in taking a Medical Billing Course

April 4, 2012

I get asked all the time how to get into Medical Billing.  What is the best course to take?  How to be able to do it and work from home?  All of us really would love to have a job that paid well that we didn’t have to work very hard at. I don’t know of many of those types of jobs out there.  Good money for little effort?  Convenience of working from home with a guaranteed income?

You can read my story of how I got into Medical Billing here along with some information on the Medical Billing Industry here.  I want to give you some things to consider if you are looking to do a Medical Billing Course:

  1. Evaluate the course.  What do they teach you?  If they only are teaching you Medical Coding (ICD9 & CPT Codes) this is not going to give you all the skills you need to do the job, though it will be a start.  Medical Billing and Medical Coding are not the same thing.  You can learn more about the difference here.
  2. Evaluate the teachers.  How many years experience do they have in Medical Billing and/or Medical Coding?  What types of specialties have they worked in?
  3. Evaluate their promise to get you a job.  Many of these courses promise to get you a job in the Medical Field.  In my experience, this happens very rarely.  Physician’s offices don’t just hire people because they have schooling.  You have to be willing to start at the ground up and work up, just like anyone else.  Schooling does not replace on the job experience nor actual hands on experience.  Schooling is just knowledge.
  4. Evaluate the cost.  How much will you spend for this course in time, energy and money verses if you took a job at a local Medical Practice and worked your way up to this position?  Many times spending time, energy and money on something helps you, but that is not always 100% the case.
  5. Evaluate why you want to take the Medical Billing Course.  Is it because you want to learn something new?  Is it because the industry and career field intrigue you?  Or are you simply wanting money and an easy way you think you can get it?  Many of these programs guarantee you will be making lucrative money working from home.  In all seriousness, you can make money, but it is not going to be this huge income that will allow you to be “rich”.  It takes a lot of hard work, determination, understanding of all the industry rules & regulations (both on a State and Federal level), attention to detail, accuracy and prompt response.  Secondly, working from home doing Medical Billing is not the common everyday scenario.  Is it possible?  Yes, but in all liklihood you will not start out that way.
  6. Many of the advertised Medical Billing Courses out there are scams.  Research them.  The software they train you on is one of many that are out there; literally there are hundreds of different programs.  You need to learn the skills of the job, not how to operate a system.  Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been complaints.  Ask to speak with other students who have taken their course, would they recommend you to take the course?  Would they spend the money for the course all over again?  Did they achieve their goal by taking the course?  Are they in a job that is what they went to school for?  What sort of pay range are they at?  If they can’t give you the answers you are looking for, then it is probably not going to work for you either.
  7. If you do take a Medical Billing Course, you may need to volunteer at a Non-Profit Medical Center to get your foot in the door.  You may have to take a position as a Medical Receptionist first to be able to help the Medical Billing Team.

Attend all the Seminars and Coding Classes that are offered in your area to make connections and even find someone who will mentor you.  Remember that you will have to continue to learn, do research, train and educate yourself on your own, for free, to continue to stay up in the Industry and be an employee a company out there wants to hire.  You must understand that Physician’s need confidence that you are going to be handling their money appropriately and accurately, whether you are in-house or out-sourced.  If you want to be successful at Medical Billing, you can, but YOU must put the effort into it.

Pro’s and Con’s of Part Time Employees

March 30, 2012

Having employees that work for you to assist you in growing your business, assisting you clients and getting more done in less time has a price attached.  Since launching my business June 2004, I have always hired part time employees for a number of reasons, which is probably a whole post in itself that I will leave for another day.

In reflecting on some changes I want to make in my business, I made a list of Pro’s and Con’s of having Part Time Employees to help me determine what is working and not working for me.  The list is below, feel free to add to it and put the list in whichever column you feel it belongs in:

  • Part Time Employees are typically not eligible for Benefits (Health Insurance, Paid Time Off, etc).  This is a savings the company gets and in turn can spend on more marketing and branding to get their name out there more and to also provide employee training to give them skills needed for further projects and development.
  • Part Time Employees are typically not guaranteed a certain amount of hours, therefore you are not loosing income by paying someone to sit on the clock when there is not work to produce.  This many times can make or break a company who is a small business that is trying to grow and be able to manage more work while having to pay employees when there is none.  However, when there is work, there usually is a lot of it that must be done under time constraints and deadlines which allow the employee to maximize their income.
  • Part Time Employees are not paid when they are sick and/or can’t work, therefore this encourages employees to truly rest up when they are because we don’t want them around us when they are carrying germs. It also does not make them feel obligated to take time off for illness.
  • Part Time Employees need to have the commitment to the job the way a Full Time Employee does even if there is little invested interest in the work since the projects may come and go along with deadlines.
  • Part Time Employees need to be flexible and available for work when it is offered, just as they state they are in an interview and be available on short notice (24 to 48-hour notice is my definition of a short notice).  When they are not, they will not be the number one person reached out to on projects and will not be given more hours if they are constantly not available.
  • Part Time Employees need to have the ability to be punctual even if their schedule is flexible and understand why this is so important.  This ensures no matter when your shift is you will follow through on your commitment because it matters to your boss and shows you understand that teamwork is important and they are counting on you.
  • Part Time Employees are not apart of your work on a daily basis so they don’t see the big picture or the tiny details the way you do, you must remember this.
  • Part Time Employees tend to check out when not working a regular shift, so as a leader you must continue to help them keep their focus.
  • Part Time Employees need to realize that their Part Time position could easily develop into a full time option if they show themselves dedicated in the small tasks and hours they have been provided they will be given more and be the first person called on the next project.
  • Part Time Employees need to realize that being Part Time is a benefit in and of itself, even if you aren’t paid for it, it has a compensation attached to it, that compensation is Flexibility.
  • Part Time Employees need to realize that their job is just as important as a Full Time Employee’s and to have a work ethic of the same level.  Part Time does not mean that you get to work in a lazy manner or in a haphazard manner.
  • A Part Time Employee doesn’t mean you are less important, it just means you don’t put in the same quantity of hours.  Your dedication, accuracy, efficiency, attitude, and doing work that matters all need to be just as prevalent as a Full Time Employees.

Do you hire Part Time or Full Time Employees? What to you are the benefits of both?  Do you have recommendations to other companies on which is best?  Share your thoughts below!

Hiding from Complaints?

March 28, 2012

How do you handle complaints about the services your company provides?  How do you respond to the negative feedback?  How do you handle the criticizing remarks that are given?

It is something you should consider, if you haven’t.  How you respond to those things tells a lot more about your company then you might think.  Not everyone is going to appreciate your efforts at every moment of your service to them, but how you respond will either make peace to the issue, win them back, or contribute to a further separation of ways.  You may not always choose the right option, you may be caught off-guard, you may take it personal and let it negatively affect you.  However, how you respond is critical to moving forward in business.  Learn from each thing that happens and try to better yourself.

I personally know some companies that do everything to dispel the negative comments about their service…especially when it is posted online.  They delete them.  If you knew that they did this, what would you think of them, of their company, of their integrity?  I will tell you what I think, it makes me think less of them.  It makes me feel they are being dishonest about their business if they are hiding the complaints, the negative comments, the disgruntled customers, the issues.  Why would you ask?  Because negative feedback is part of life.  Issues come up.  Things get done against protocols.  Situations have to be worked out.  Mistakes are made.  Problems have to be resolved.  We are human and we make mistakes.  There is no personal relationship that is perfect, that always runs smoothly, that is always positive…neither will be your experiences in business.  That doesn’t mean the negative comments are valid or that they are easy to accept.  It means that you must face the music and deal with the situation.  If someone has left you some negative feedback, by you being open, honest in your response, kind back no matter the comment given, even if you do not believe the feedback is legit or there is more to the story, you will win more customers than just the one letting you have it.  Even if you don’t win any customers, your integrity will show through on how you handle the deal.  You show that you are open to being informed on what they experienced and that you will listen.  Isn’t that pretty important?

For the record: The only time I believe it would be appropriate to delete a negative post is when someone uses profanity.  There are enough words in the English Language to use to describe your frustration and feelings without having to use words that simply are full of dirt and anger.  You can communicate how you feel with integrity and sincerity without those terms.  If there is another valid reason…it is escaping me.  I want honesty and commitment to my clients, even if something went sour to be displayed in every aspect of business.

What tips do you have in handling complaints?  Share with us!

Managers vs Leaders

March 26, 2012

Leading vs. Managing 

Are you a manager or a leader? Although you may hear these two terms thrown out interchangeably, they are in fact two very different animals complete with different personalities and world views. By learning whether you are more of a leader or more of a manager, you will gain the insight and self-confidence that comes with knowing more about yourself. The result is greater impact and effectiveness when dealing with others and running your business.

We are going to take a look at the different personality styles of managers versus leaders, the attitudes each have toward goals, their basic conceptions of what work entails, their relationships with others, and their sense of self (or self-identity) and how it develops. Last of all, we will examine leadership development and discover what criteria is necessary for leaders to reach their full potential.

First of all, let’s take a look at the difference in personality styles between a manager and a leader.

Managers – emphasize rationality and control, are problem-solvers (focusing on goals, resources, organization structures, or people), often ask question, “What problems have to be solved, and what are the best ways to achieve results so that people will continue to contribute to this organization?”, are persistent, tough-minded, hard-working, intelligent, analytical, tolerant, and have goodwill toward others.

Leaders – are perceived as brilliant, but sometimes lonely, achieve control of themselves before they try to control others, can visualize a purpose and generate value in work, and are imaginative, passionate, non-conforming risk-takers.

Managers and leaders have very different attitudes toward goals.

Managers – adopt impersonal, almost passive, attitudes toward goals, decide upon goals based on necessity instead of desire and are therefore deeply tied to their organization’s culture, and tend to be reactive since they focus on current information.

Leaders – tend to be active since they envision and promote their ideas instead of reacting to current situations, shape ideas instead of responding to them, have a personal orientation toward goals, and provide a vision that alters the way people think about what is desirable, possible, and necessary.

Now let’s look at managers’ and leaders’ conceptions of work.

Managers – view work as an enabling process, establish strategies and makes decisions by combining people and ideas, continually coordinate and balance opposing views, are good at reaching compromises and mediating conflicts between opposing values and perspectives, act to limit choice, and tolerate practical, mundane work because of a strong survival instinct which makes them risk-averse.

Leaders – develop new approaches to long-standing problems and open issues to new options, first use their vision to excite people and only then develop choices which give those images substance, focus people on shared ideals and raise their expectations, and work from high-risk positions because of strong dislike of mundane work.

Managers and leaders have very different relations with others.

Managers – prefer working with others, report that solitary activity makes them anxious, are collaborative, maintain a low level of emotional involvement in relationships, attempt to reconcile differences, seek compromises, and establish a balance of power, relate to people according to the role they play in a sequence of events or in a decision-making process, focus on how things get done, maintain controlled, rational, and equitable structures, and may be viewed by others as inscrutable, detached, and manipulative.

Leaders – maintain inner perceptiveness that they can use in their relationships with others, relate to people in intuitive, empathetic way, focus on what events and decisions mean to participants, attract strong feelings of identity and difference or of love and hate, and create systems where human relations may be turbulent, intense, and at times even disorganized.

The Self-Identity of managers versus leaders is strongly influenced by their past.

Managers – report that their adjustments to life have been straightforward and that their lives have been more or less peaceful since birth, have a sense of self as a guide to conduct and attitude which is derived from a feeling of being at home and in harmony with their environment, see themselves as conservators and regulators of an existing order of affairs with which they personally identify and from which they gain rewards, report that their role harmonizes with their ideals of responsibility and duty, perpetuate and strengthen existing institutions, and display a life development process which focuses on socialization. This socialization process prepares them to guide institutions and maintain the existing balance of social relations.

Leaders – reportedly have not had an easy time of it, their lives are marked by a continual struggle to find some sense of order, do not take things for granted and are not satisfied with the status quo, report that their sense of self is derived from a feeling of profound separateness, may work in organizations, but they never belong to them, report that their sense of self is independent of work roles, memberships, or other social indicators of social identity, seek opportunities for change (i.e. technological, political, or ideological), support change, find their purpose is to profoundly alter human,

economic, and political relationships, and display a life development process which focuses on personal mastery. This process compels them to struggle for psychological and social change.

Development of Leadership

As you can see, managers and leaders are very different animals. It is important to remember that there are definite strengths and weaknesses in both types of individuals. Managers are very good at maintaining the status quo and adding stability and order to our culture. However, they may not be as good at instigating change and envisioning the future. On the other hand, leaders are very good at stirring people’s emotions, raising their expectations, and taking them in new directions (both good and bad). However, like artists and other gifted people, leaders often suffer from neuroses and have a tendency toward self-absorption and preoccupation.

If you are planning on owning your own business, you must develop management skills, whether they come naturally or not. However, what do you do if you believe you are, in fact, a leader – a diamond in the rough? What can you do to develop as a leader? Throughout history, it has been shown again and again that leaders have needed strong one-on-one relationships with teachers whose strengths lie in cultivating talent in order to reach their full potential. If you think you are a leader at heart, find a teacher that you admire – someone who you can connect with and who can help you develop your natural talents and interests. Whether you reach glory status or not, you will grow in ways you never even imagined. Isn’t that what life is about anyway?

reflections: Inspiration with Jenn Lim

March 23, 2012

As most of you know, I attended The EntreLeadership Master Series event November 2009, in Cancun, Mexico.  It was a highlight of my life and I reflect on it frequently.  I follow a blog of one of the VP’s of Dave Ramsey’s Team, Chris Locurto.  They started EntreLeadership Podcasts August 2011.  As I listen to them, I take notes….just like I do when I read books or listen to audio books, I take notes.  I want to focus on the things that hit me when I listen or read them and make them impact my life.  I listened to the most recent podcast by The EntreLeadership Podcast titled: Inspiration with Jenn Lim (you can get your own copy of the EntreLeadership Podcasts on iTunes – which I highly recommend you do!).  I decided that I will start sharing my notes and thoughts with you.  So let’s begin with my nuggets:

  • Dave Ramsey & Chris LoCurto: Your Team will do what you do!  If you are not inspired, neither will they be.  Inspiration touches the emotions and causes action.  Communicate the Vision.  Be predictable.  Have organizational culture.  Have passion.  Your example is what they will follow.  Remind them and tell the Story.  Your job is to inspire your team.  Find people doing something right.  Share what they have done with others…in front of their team.
  • Jenn Lim:  What does Culture mean to you?  A company culture develops over time.  The earlier you start with your core values the better.  You need people who share the same business and personal values that you have.  Be true to who you are.  Have authenticity and vision.  Stand out in the Noise.  Why are you having a higher purpose?  It is easy to let the concepts of loyalty, passion and purpose slide and just focus on the bottom line.  When you make this your focus it will guide you and lead you.  Have a sense of progress, continue to learn and grow.  Happiness affects everything in your life.  What makes you happy?  If you treat other people right, they will treat your customers right, and they will treat you right.  When I made mistakes, that has only made me better.  Ask yourself are you looking forward to your day…if not, something is wrong.  Loose the fear of failure.

[P.S. If you listen to the Podcast, you can find out a way to receive your own copy of The Culture Book by Zappos.  A video is here.]

Parenting & Being a Leader

March 16, 2012

I am not a parent.  I don’t know what it is like to hear the word “Mom”.  I don’t know what it is like to be needed 24/7.  I don’t know what it is like to go from being proud of your child to being humiliated.  I haven’t faced seeing the reflections of you in them and their mannerisms, many of which will haunt you.  I haven’t experienced these things…

But.  I am starting to understand parenting more.  I am getting more of a clue about what it takes to be a leader.  What is required to achieve the results you want.  I am learning a lot about me.  You ask, How when you are not a parent?

In my profession, I am the leader, director and manager of my employees.  It is up to me to guide them and make sure the job gets done.  It is up to me to educate and provide the training on the skills to perform the tasks.  The job requires them to follow through with my instructions.  I teach my clients employees skills, provide resources, information and understanding on various subjects related to the industry and their job duties.  This is what I do, it is my job, it requires skills and challenges in many ways related to parenting.

In my quest to be a professional and excellent at what I do, I have to evaluate the steps to this process.  It is not because I am a bad leader, I just want to be better.  If my employees are not getting it, it shows in their production.  If mistakes are continued to be made after the learning period, it means concepts were not grasped.  If the job is not done on schedule, it means they may not be being disciplined to achieve the deadline.  If they promise to be available to work and then are not, it means they have put other priorities above work and their yes is not yes.  If they don’t ask questions to get clarification, they are not trying to learn.  If I see them just staring at me like a zombie, I know that they have not connected and are not engaged.  Few things are more excruciating than to be spent at trying to help people learn and them not be learning.  These types of situations bother me, deep in my soul.  I want them to get it.  I want them to not make mistakes.  I want them to be disciplined because of the results it produces.  I want to give them more work when they can prove they do the work they were given well.  I want them to ask questions because there are no dumb questions when you don’t know.  I want them to have a vision and be a team player.  

When you face these moments, if you are anything like me, you spend time reflecting on how to be better.  You question your ability.  You question your method.  You question their choices.  You evaluate their skills.  You evaluate your communication style.  You may be frustrated and unsure what to change.  Good leaders however will evaluate the processes and seek support from those who can give us guidance.  Good leaders will realize that some things don’t always work and new methods will have to be implemented.  Good leaders understand that you have to try to get into the employees mind.  Good leaders realize sometimes things take longer than you originally planned.  Good leaders know they have to be firm, fair and consistent.  Good leaders know that the team is watching you and you have to stay strong.

That said, given all the support in the world, even the best leader can’t force his/her employees or clients employees want to learn, or actually learn.  They make choices about what they will and won’t learn, what they will or won’t do off the clock (that affects their job), what they will or won’t ask, what they will or won’t absorb, what they will or won’t choose; we all do.  Many of these choices affect our performance and the outcome because of these choices.  The leader is not the one responsible for the results.  You are.

The leaders that have been a true source of strength, guidance and inspiration to me are the ones that asked the tough questions, the ones that kept my feet to the fire, the ones that encouraged me to think for myself, the ones that inspired me to be different, not follow with the mainstream just because everyone was doing it, the ones that encouraged me to take the high road no matter how I was treated, the ones that strive for excellence because it matters, the ones that weren’t afraid of confrontation because that is apart of life, the ones that know your weak points and try to help you through them, the ones that encouraged you to say No – I don’t understand or No – I can’t do that, the ones that will never lie no matter what is asked of them, the ones that respected you for who you are, the ones that welcomed discussion and push you to your limits.  These are lessons you learn from good leaders and you never know when those tips will come back to you in your role as a leader…even if you are not a parent and don’t have those hands-on parenting skills.

Letter from a Provider: Dear Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

February 24, 2012

An Oklahoma provider was the first to receive EHR Incentive Program funds from Medicaid.  She shares her story here on a letter she would write to Medicare and Medicaid Services if she could as follows: Dear Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  She would send it, if they would listen.  If they cared.  It is worth reading.

We all need to support each other!


Top 5010 Issues

February 8, 2012

Many physician practices have reported numerous problems across various areas of the United States stemming from the transition to Version 5010. The most frequently reported problems have involved:

  • Issues with practice management and/or billing systems that showed no problems during the testing phase with their MAC, but once the practice moved into production phase, found their claims being rejected
  • Issues with secondary payers
  • Rejections due to various address issues (pay-to address being stripped/lost from claims; pay to address can no longer be the same as billing address; no PO Box address)
  • Crosswalk NPI numbers not being recognized
  • “Lost” claims with Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs)
  • Old submitter validation information not being transferred
  • Certain “not otherwise specified” claims being denied due to not having a description on the claim (CMS sent a notice of correction of this issue January 27, 2012)
  • Sporadic payment of re-submitted claims (with no explanation for rejections)
  • Protracted call hold times (most typically 1-2 hours) when attempting to contact Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) for further explanation of unpaid and rejected claims (a problem that dates as far back as November 2011)
  • Unsuccessful claims processing (with no reason cited for rejection) despite using a “submitter” that was approved after successful testing with CMS

Many providers report not having been paid by Medicare and TRICARE since as far back as November 2011 as a result of Version 5010 issues.  They also are not getting all the Carrier Reports back to confirm accepted and rejected status of the transmission of their claims.  Many are experiencing rejections that the Clearinghouse can not explain.  These issues must be monitored and steps taken to ensure that claims are getting processed through to the carriers as quickly as possible.

What have you experienced with the transition of 4010 to 5010 format?  We would love to hear your feedback.

Denials and Issues with 5010

February 6, 2012

As a Medical Practice, you are aware of the impact that our industry is facing as of 01.01.2012…conversion of Electronic Files from the 4010 to the 5010 formats.  The American Medical Association is aware that this is creating many denials and issues with 5010 and therefore has put out documentation on what you can do if you are experiencing claims processing issues.  Please read below:

Since the deadline on January 1, 2012 to convert to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Version 5010 transactions, some physicians have been experiencing issues with their claims processing, resulting in lack of payments.

The AMA is aware of issues with claims processing related to the 5010 transition and is addressing these issues directly with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Please inform the AMA and CMS of your issues:

  • Report the problems you are having to the AMA with this form at
  • Visit to access additional complaint forms, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services complaint form.
  • Submit your problem to for issues you are having with Medicare.

Until these issues are resolved, the following are action items that physician practices can take if they are having issues with their claims and interruptions in their cash flow:

  • If using a billing service or clearinghouse, contact the billing service or clearinghouse to understand where the problem is occurring. Is it related to the data you are submitting? Is it due to the payers’ processing of the claims?
  • If you identify a problem with your practice management system, contact your vendor to have the problem resolved.
  • If you submit your claims directly to the payer, contact the payer to understand where the problem is occurring. Is it related to the data you are submitting? Is it related to problems within their adjudication system?
  • Contact a financial institution about establishing a line of credit.
  • Consider submitting paper claim forms to those payers that will accept them.

What are you doing to stay on top of the changes with 5010?  Are you seeing any impact on your practice?  If you have any tips for other Medical Practices, we would love you to share your ideas below.  We are a community out to help each other be successful!

5010 Review

January 31, 2012

The healthcare industry has been using HIPAA 5010 standards to transmit electronic medical claims for a few weeks. How’s that working for your practice?  Are you seeing denials?  Do you know what to be looking for and get the data fixed?  While it’s tempting to assume that no news is good news, a lack of response doesn’t mean there is not an issue.  Make sure you watch out for any medical claim rejections and denials and fix them as quickly as possible. Some of the problems that could be causing rejections or denials includes:

  • National Provider Identifiers (NPI) need to be used, not an employer’s tax ID or Social Security number.
  • HIPAA 5010 requires that a street address – not PO Box, be used on all medical claims.
  • Providers can use a PO Box for a billing address that receives reimbursement checks. But make sure the payers have that on file and are using it.
  • Speaking of addresses, providers need a nine-digit zip code with the billing and physical addresses.
  • HIPAA 5010 allows as many as 12 diagnosis codes on each claim, but each specific service can only have four codes.
  • Any claim using an unlisted Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) or Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code also needs a code description.
  • Healthcare providers must submit a Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) indicator on the primary and secondary claim when Medicare is the secondary payer.
  • Drug quantity and unit of measurement are required when a National Drug Code (NDC) is listed.
  • All ingredients in a compound prescription must be listed with a HCPCS code.

In addition to watching the number of denials or rejections, make sure the reimbursements match what you expect. Just because the claims get out the door, doesn’t mean they it will be processed correctly for reimbursement.  There are many aspects to the claim process and all must be evaluated.

We hope you are having  success with the transition from 4010 to 5010!

Year End and IRS Forms

January 23, 2012

Year End comes every 365 days.  For many, it sneaks upon them very quickly each and every year.  Many people don’t plan ahead for tax time, yet if you are diligent and do the necessary steps in bite size chunks, tax time will not be a nightmare for you.  In order to evade the nightmare, you must plan ahead.  To plan ahead, that means you must be diligent to complete the steps required and be aware of what forms are needed on both a state and federal level.

Are you ready to file your IRS Forms for the previous calendar year?  Once you have all your data together you are ready to file your forms.  Today, I want to share with you a resource to assist you with the forms needed.  These forms may be purchased by many vendors.  However, did you know that you can order them from the IRS for free?  Yes!  It takes planning ahead, but you can order them here.  You can also search to get instructions on the forms you need to file on a federal level.

What other free resources do you utilize for your accounting and tax filing purposes?

Keys to Achieving Your Goals

January 9, 2012

Another year and another set of resolutions. If you’re like most Americans, you’ll probably forget your goals by mid-February. So how do you make your resolutions actually happen this year?

First, keep in mind that goals are dreams; but don’t stop at just dreaming. Turn your dreams into bite-sized pieces that will gradually create a big event in your life. If you’re waiting on an outside variable to change your life, you have a long wait. You have to do something. It’s your responsibility to fix your life, not someone else’s. It’s time to sit down, make some goals, and take control.

Goal setting is how you win. Once you’ve made your resolutions, they will drive you forward. The goals will motivate you to seek activities that will help you succeed. It’s not always fun, but those exercises bring you closer to your goal and make you a winner.

If you want to actually achieve your goals this year, then consider the following:

1.Be specific.

When setting goals, be specific in what you want to achieve. Vagueness will only cause you to feel overwhelmed, and you will just give up.

2.Make your goals measureable.

In order to know if you achieved the goal, it must be measurable. For example, if you want to lose weight, don’t simply write down “lose weight” as a goal. How much weight do you want to lose? Or don’t just write “spend more time with family.” How much time do you want to spend with your family every night?

3.Are they your goals?

Only you can set your own goals. If your spouse, co-worker or friend sets a goal for you, you’re not going to achieve it. Taking ownership will give you more incentive to meet your goal.

4.Set a time limit.

Setting a time frame will help you set realistic goals. For example, if you want to save more money, list how much money a month you want to put into your savings account.

5.Put them in writing.

Putting your goals in writing will make you much more likely to achieve them. Write down your goals and review them often. This will give you motivation to make them a reality.

This is the process to succeed. Successful people reassess their lives and then start living intentionally, in writing, on paper, on purpose. Make your resolutions a reality in this year!  What are your goals for 2011? Leave a comment below.  Check out Dave Ramsey’s resources to help you achieve your financial goals.

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