Stuart R. Levine, Chairman and CEO, Stuart Levine & Associates LLC

Members are more emboldened than ever to share both positive and negative feedback, including sharing stories with others both in person and through social media. Dissatisfied members will abandon a brand without providing the company with any useful feedback; they just leave. Many who leave damage the brand through complaints across multiple forums. Even more concerning, dissatisfied members tend to tell more people about a problematic experience than delighted members tell about a good one. Yet, member churn due to poor service is usually preventable, often by internal listening and responsiveness from leadership as well as effectiveness in resolving an issue at the first engagement.

When people work together, silos fall as employees collaborate across different areas and disciplines. When the member is the key focus, employees in varying functions can prioritize the best decisions for their work. Their empathy, sensitivity and deep perception of the member’s situation and needs put the member experience at the center of the decision-making process as well as implementing strategies effectively.

Great leaders focus on values first. Focus on values begins at home. In my conversations with Arthur Ashe before his passing, he stressed that actions are more important than words. Children watch what they see you do, rather than what they hear you say. Values need to be communicated and transmitted from generation to generation and it’s never too early to begin. Personal responsibility can be learned at an early age as well as treating others with respect and decency. Giving back to the community in which you live as well as doing things that you are passionate about, is another way to contribute and leave things better than they were before.

Employees need to be inspired. They watch and see what leaders do. In order for them to work to improve the member experience at every turn, a member-centric mindset must permeate the entire workforce. For example, although engineers and technical service providers may not interact directly with members, given that digital interfaces are critical, the technical staff truly are on the front lines. They are as important to member-centric actions as those in direct contact with members. Great leaders can make this happen to ensure that employees at all levels and in all departments understand their critical impact on members.

Visualizing the member as a person who could be a friend or a family member, will help to establish the right focus. Establishing a base of relationships with people who are caring and share similar values will help to keep you sane during these challenging times, as well as provide listening and encouragement when needed. Make sure that you have a circle of people that you can speak with on a fairly regular basis who share your values and can provide uplifting connectivity.

Trusted relationships will not only bolster your spirits, but it will boost your career. Small gestures, like checking in with an old boss to say hello, or congratulating a friend or co-worker, may seem unimportant at the time, but these gestures will lead to both personal and professional growth and advancement. Building relationships takes time, energy and focus, but it’s time well spent. Both time and energy are finite assets. Spend them wisely on relationships that will challenge your growth, enhance your career and increase your quality of life. And don’t forget your team members. People leave bad bosses and attracting and retaining people ensures the strength of your team to achieve desired outcomes.

Don’t just send an article without providing context. Make the connections for the person you are sending it to, so that a stimulating conversation can be had. Going the extra step will provide a meaningful bond. Smart people today are looking to learn by sharing ideas and collaborating on potential answers, whether for professional or personal reasons.

The human experience involves both good and bad.  But feeling grateful not only improves the quality of your life but provides a forward lean into the world which opens us up to learning. Making conscious decisions to push back against negative impulses makes sense. Eliminating toxic people from your life will free you up to focus on those things that are a priority based on your values and goals. You might never know the impact your decisions have on the world around you, but we all play a role in creating and shaping our environments and the people we touch every day.

When we completed our work with a hospital medical board, we closed with a discussion on mission. Some patients may never know the names of the people who worked so diligently to improve this medical institution. but the community will be better served based on the work that we delivered through improved patient care and better patient outcomes. There are opportunities every day to choose what we own and are accountable for. When you make the right choices, you will not be disappointed.