1. Workplace wellness – simple ways to keep fit

    July 7, 2010 by

    Veronica Marsden [1] president of Canadian organisation “Tri Fit” suggests the following 10 simple ways for keeping fit at work:

    1.  Take five-minute stretch breaks.
    2.  Organise a walking club.
    3.  Park your car at the far end of the parking lot, or at a distance from work.
    4.  Cycle to work.
    5.  Get off the bus or subway one stop earlier.
    6.  Deliver a message on foot instead of by email.
    7.  Organize a lunchtime exercise class.
    8.  Hold meetings outside and walk while you talk.
    9.  Use washroom facilities furthest away from your workstation.
    10.  Set an alarm to remind you to get up and move around every hour.

    [1] R10857 Marsden, V., (2010), Taking fitness and nutrition beyond 'flavour of the month', Canadian HR Reporter, Vol 23, Iss 11, p 17, Carswell Publishing, Scarborough

    Neil Crawford

    Members may read the full article here .

  2. Healthcare – communications breakdown

    July 4, 2010 by

    Patient handoffs, both within hospitals and elsewhere, are often subject to errors. A 2005 Joint Commission analysis found that 70% of events which resulted in a patient’s death or serious physical/psychological injury were caused by communication breakdowns, half of which occurred during patient handoffs.  Lee Ann Runy [1] writes that The key effective handoffs is to implement processes that clearly define the transfer of responsibility from one caregiver to another, standardize the communication process, and allow for an interactive exchange between the parties involved. The common denominator should always be the patient. Various tools and techniques can be implemented to streamline the handoff process and establish standardised communications. Structured tools e.g. mnemonics, templates or checklists can help to ensure that information is not lost during the handoff, and lead to a timely, accurate exchange of information.
    The following are 10 tips for effective patient handoffs:  [1]

    1. Ensure face-to-face patient handoffs whenever possible
    2. Ensure two-way communication during the handoff process
    3. Allow as much time as necessary for handoffs
    4. Use both verbal and written means of communication
    5. Conduct handoffs at the patient bedside whenever possible. Involve patients and families in the handoff process. Provide clear information at discharge
    6. Involve staff in the development of handoff standards
    7. Incorporate communication techniques, such as the SBAR mnemonic (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation), and require a verification process to ensure that information is both received and understood
    8. In addition to information exchange, handoffs should clearly outline the transfer of patient responsibility from one provider to another
    9. Use available technology, such as electronic medical records, to streamline the exchange of timely, accurate information
    10. Monitor use and effectiveness of the handoff and seek ongoing feedback from staff members.

    [1] R10938 Runy, L. A., (2008), Patient Handoffs, Hospitals & Health Networks, Vol 82, Iss 5, pp 41-47, Health Forum Inc., Chicago

    Neil Crawford

    Members may read the full article here which provides further advice about recognition schemes.

  3. Human Resources – Workaholics Anonymous

    July 1, 2010 by

    Barton Goldsmith [1] writes that you may be a workaholic if you:

    • Are more comfortable at work than in any other environment,
    • Feel as if you can't take a vacation,
    • Can’t shut off from work for a few days.
    • Use work as an escape,
    • Use your home as a "satellite office”,
    • Are unable to relax and enjoy free time or feel at peace when not thinking about or doing work.

    Hard work and achievement are good things but should never take the place of loved ones or of taking care of your own wellbeing. In order to maintain good health we need to build downtime into our schedule.  At Website www.workaholics-anonymous.org you can learn how to modify work-life balance.

    [1] R10923 Goldsmith, B., (2007), the workaholic, Office Solutions, Vol 24, Iss 3, p 45, Quality Publishing, Inc., Mt. Airy

    Neil Crawford


    Members may read the full article by clicking here.

  4. My Name is Clark Kent and I’m a Workaholic

    June 14, 2010 by admin

    Hello all,

    Here is a great article on being a workaholic that has been provided by Adam Stoehr of the National Quality Institute in Canada. The National Quality Institute, http://www.nqi.ca, are BPIR.com’s partner for Canada.

    My Name is Clark Kent and I’m a Workaholic

    Adam Stoehr, Vice President, Educational Services National Quality Institute

    By: Adam Stoehr, MBA, BBA, NQI CEP®
    Vice President, Educational Services
    National Quality Institute

    Hello, my name is Clark Kent and I’m a workaholic. It has been 12 months since I missed an important date in my kids’ lives. It has been12 months since I thought about work on a Sunday afternoon. It has been 12 months since I worked beyond what is reasonably expected of me to meet my job requirements. The last 12 months have been glorious and I feel fully engaged and satisfied in the workplace.


    If you consider yourself a workaholic, please don’t take offence at the following opinion piece. Recognize that your actions may be having an effect (similar to that of kryptonite on Superman) on employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and the overall morale of your organization.

    For some reason, we tend to celebrate the idea of the workaholic. Some people share their stories about weekends spent at the office, or pulling all-nighters, as if they were an achievement. Some organizations even reward this kind of behaviour. These stories become legend as if they were cover stories in the Metropolis Daily Planet newspaper. I’ve heard on many occasions, “You should work more like Lois. She works 24/7 and she is really dedicated to the cause.” Unfortunately, working more doesn’t mean you get more done, it just means you work more.

    A common side effect of workaholism is what I call the quasi-Superman syndrome. Quasi-Superman syndrome is when good people chase problems with the sole purpose of being a hero. They may even create a crisis (sometimes unconsciously) to get praised as a hero for solving it. This desire for hero recognition is so strong that they may not even look for more efficient ways of solving problems (like using root cause analysis and process improvement tools for example). Creative/strategic problem-solving takes a back seat to brute force problem-solving. Quasi-Supermen and Superwomen are running around the office with their capes on, saving the day in an attempt to seem important.

    The real problem is that this behaviour can be like kryptonite on overall employee engagement, satisfaction, and morale. A work environment driven by workaholics can spin into a vicious cycle of guilt, resentment, conflict, poor morale, and low engagement (refer to figure 1). People who leave at 5pm feel inadequate for only working a “regular” 8-hour day. The guilt makes other people stay late out of obligation regardless of need and independent of productivity. This creates some Superman vs. Lex Luthor type resentment and can escalate to conflict. This then effects morale and breeds more of the desire to be a workaholic, which starts the cycle all over again.

    Vicious Cycle of Workaholism

    Vicious Cycle of Workaholism


    Figure 1

    In order to increase satisfaction, engagement, and morale levels we must expose the myth of the workaholic. They aren’t heroes. They are not faster than a speeding bullet, in fact they tend to have lower levels of job performance (at least relative to the time devoted to work) than non-workaholic employees (i). They simply spend too much time on inconsequential details rather than moving on to the next important task. They are not more powerful than a locomotive, in fact they tend to feel anxious and upset when they aren’t working, and have higher levels of stress and more health complaints than other employees (ii). They are not able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, in fact most of the time they have difficulty delegating or sharing tasks with team members more suited for the job (iii). They should not be rewarded for this behaviour.

    The real hero is home enjoying life because they have figured out a way to get the work done in good time.
    If you feel you are a workaholic, or know someone who is, here is a five-step program to help:

    1. Admit that you are a workaholic.
    2. Recognize that cooperation and teamwork can give you strength.
    3. Examine the past and how you can improve.
    4. Channel your energy into tasks that link with the strategic direction of your organization.
    5. Help others that suffer from the same workaholic behaviour to break the vicious cycle.

    My colleague Clark Kent completed these five steps 12 months ago, and the levels of morale, engagement, and satisfaction have gone up, up, and away!

    So what do you think? Is Adam correct with his thoughts on workaholics and how they should be recuperated back into civilized society?

    Your thoughts please?
    Best regards
    Dr Robin Mann, Commercial Director and Part-Owner, BPIR.com Limited, r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz

  5. Executing Successful Business Surveys and Kuwait

    June 13, 2010 by

    Hello all

    I am bringing to your attention 3 articles on Executing Successful Business Surveys by Dr. Tariq A. Aldowaisan, Associate Professor at Kuwait University and Managing Director of Gulf Lead Consultants.  These articles are written from both an academic and practical perspective – thus providing some very useful insights into what needs to be considered when designing and executing surveys. Surveys are often used to obtain quantitative and qualitative feedback particularly from employees and customers on areas such as satisfaction. However, in many cases, not enough attention has been spent on survey design, sample size, and analysis of data – if you follow Dr Tariq Aldowaisan’s advice your survey methods and results from using them will improve.

    Read the first article of the series here . The remaining articles are available to members of the bpir.com.

    The photo below is when I was with Dr Tariq Aldowaisan in May 2010. I was providing a benchmarking training course on behalf of Gulf Lead Consultants – BPIR.com’s partners in Kuwait. Gulf Lead Consultants are playing a leading role in all aspects of quality management and business improvement. One initiative that Dr Tariq Aldowaisan hopes to start soon is the formation of a Quality Society which will help Kuwait in its endeavour to fulfill its 2035 vision (a vision developed by the Kuwait government with input from people such as the UK’s ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair). Like many countries in the Middle East, Kuwait has produced a long-term plan that is available for all to see – this helps businesses and society in general to buy-in and align themselves to the plan. Dr Tariq Aldowaisan believes that one key omission from the plan is the integration and use of quality – hence the desire for a Quality Society and a greater use of quality management tools and techniques to increase the likelihood of the plan being met. Further information on the Kuwait 2035 plan can be obtained here.

    Dr. Tariq A. Aldowaisan speaking during TRADE benchmarking workshop in Kuwait
    Dr Tariq Aldowaisan at one of TRADE Benchmaking workshops in Kuwait


    Best regards

    Dr Robin Mann, Commercial Director and Part-Owner, BPIR.com Limited, r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz