Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Success Dilemma In Healthcare (Part 2)

Continued from The Success Dilemma In Healthcare (Part 1), this post offers solutions to the situation analysis made available in Part 1. Just in case you missed it, follow the link above. Otherwise, here's a quick refresher:
  1. Being honest with ourselves, "healthcare" as we know it has become a monster of our own doing.
  2. The use of care extenders is nothing novel; at the base of it, this is just a "strategy" of cheaper labor. You get for what you pay for; quality always suffers when downsizing and substituting.
  3. The gatekeeper model has failed. WE have failed. Consumers seek value; not information or rationing of products and services.
  4. Unity is paramount to success in healthcare.
  5. Value Based Healthcare is the solution to breaking out of the Success Dilemma.
The Success Dilemma In Healthcare (Part 2)

3(b). What's my solution?

I propose that Value Based Healthcare requires two things before it can truly come to fruition.
  1. As healthcare as an industry can no longer sustain fee-for-service reimbursement and hourly-based pay, we need to restructure the financial workings and supply chain effects so that VALUE is the currency at hand. To do this, we will very likely need to see a relative blunting of compensation for the continuum of healthcare providers based on contributed value.
  2. Physicians can no longer serve as arbiter and absolute authority of the care team. Instead, the CONSUMER must take this role; responsible for their own health, both personally (as it is, of course their health), financially (as a consumer), and systemically (as a return customer). Content experts will take point of care for each case while an entire network of providers provide integral care throughout the life span of the patient.
Proposition #1 will probably cause the most upheaval if not outright angst against the very idea. But, just bear with me. We are discussing a re-evaluation of how we use our resources and how we can be more responsible about it. Again, I refer to the prior mention: Is it realistically worth ANYONE's time for a physician to sit down in person and educate a patient about how an antibiotic won't cure a flu when other processes can be laid in place for the same qualitative effect with better quantitative measures?

Does it sound better or worse that the physician will bill a $100-200 dollars for that 4 minute visit?

It sounds awful! So, instead of fee-for-service paradigm, I would propose and reasonable surmise that value based compensation will cause a blunting effect since those 4 minutes are not likely very valuable. The following is a table and graphs of the value based blunting effect and is only a theoretical estimate based on financials that healthcare can become sustainable in the long run (beyond the bickering of extenders and best practice).




Why do I even DARE to suggest this? Aren't I afraid the AMA and other healthcare godfathers will come after me? Nope... Because, the recent literature in health sciences have shown us that many of the interventions we've touted aren't actually causing the effect we had hoped. Bluntly put, there are many unnecessary surgeries, interventions, drug prescriptions and the like which are truly affecting the broad spectrum of population based health outcomes. And, guess who is most vocal about this? PHYSICIANS! The ones who became medical doctors because it was a calling, not an earning. They are thought leading, sacrificing their own pocketbooks for the betterment of us all -- and, kudos to them!

But, back on the main issue at hand, consumers don't value visits. They value timely access, effective intervention, and long lasting outcomes. They value the CNA when no one else can help them clean themselves in the hospital. They value the PT when no one else will listen about their chronic pain. They value the social worker when they've lost all hope on how to pay for their bills. THAT is what the healthcare consumer values.

As such, we need the professionals who are the content experts to be directly accessible to the consumers such that they don't go through some gatekeeper, wait in line and a funnel system which only serves as temporal-crowd-control-barriers to their good health. Moreover, so much resource in time, repeat visits, repeat tests, and "failed conservative care" are used to "justify" "medical necessity" of big name drugs, surgeries, equipment, etc. that would quite likely never have been wasted would be averted if the content expert was directly consulted in the first place.

This proposal means that the healthcare supply chain needs itself to change; it can no longer be linear. It must be agile and multidimensional; it must be a well tuned, collaborative, data focused, tech driven, consumer oriented cooperative that ALL internal stakeholders value consumer outcomes above their own billed hours. Under a value based system, fee-for-service disappears, and therefore, much of the conflict of interest of a "follow up visit" or the "mechanic's dilemma" disappears. It also means the initial blunting is just that, initial.

This is just a mock-up of what could be; those who contribute more value get paid more for their value. Those that don't... don't. The system would have to iteratively re-evaluate what is and isn't valuable, and, how much value it actually is worth -- the system, driven by the healthcare consumer.

Imagine that, get paid for the worth of what you do.

This proposal also means academic institutions and professional organizations will need to also get honest with themselves as well; what is the real value (or cost to student) of education, and therefore, what is the best mode of said education? Questions a little beyond my scope of expertise at the moment.

This value based system will have a blunting effect carrying over as a value based compensation for healthcare providers, from the CNA all the way "up to" the neuro surgeon. After all, it is no long service people want, it is VALUE.

Now, I made all this reference about CSR and social responsibility as a whole. Therefore, let me run this through some CSR frameworks and an ethical screen to demonstrate that it fits the mold, and therefore, is a recommendation worthy to be considered as a prototype solution.


3(c). CSR and Socially Responsible Healthcare

Going beyond direct access and into the forays of a truly collaborative community of healthcare providers who are paid by value added versus service rendered, this is my CSR analysis. It also serves to explain Proposition #2 in the section 3(b) above.

Carroll's 4 part definition of being CSR is this:
  • Be economically/financially responsible (create value, earn money).
  • Be legal (obey the laws, play within the rules).
  • Be ethical (be moral, act socially respectable & responsible).
  • Be a good corporate citizen (philanthropy, paying it forward, giving back).
Considering this, AND, the image below depicting prevalence of health concerns (a BIG shoutout to Jerry, Sturdy, and the whole team at SF Physical Therapy):

I hope we can agree that a value based, collaborative system with direct channels to content experts is FAR superior to a gatekeeper and justification mechanism. Instead, if ALL providers were empowered by society (laws and all) to practice at the top of their credentials, so much would be solved in this regard. I have a physician/medical director to thank for this part of this idea from way back when (but, he has yet given me okay to name him publically. No worries, his thoughts have already been recognized at official ranks of national policy concerns and will be published soon and therefore I respect his privacy) -- nevertheless, there has been a name given this functional model to which I credit him once he feels ready.

This solution is not leader based; it is network based. A network of healthcare providers lead by mutual interests of the consumer's best health. It has nothing to do with who gets what piece of the pie. It has nothing to do with who is billing for what. It has to do with who is contributing, and, to what value is that contribution represents in the lives of our consumers.

Testing for social responsibility (pass/no pass):
  • Be economically/financially responsible: Value based, agile network model will allow for consumers to lead with their market demand and their dollars for an entire collaboration of healthcare providers to optimize resource use per outcome. Pass.
  • Be legal: Instead of finding loopholes for extenders, billing creatively and what not, this agile model will already connect a direct line for a basic health concerns to NP/PA/PT, etc. In cases such as an emergent concern, it goes directly to an urgent care/emergency physician. For musculoskeletal concerns, a physical therapist. Therefore, best candidate within the network of providers to best address the concern is operationally (and legally) highlighted as the case lead in a specific circumstance of patient concern. Pass.
  • Be ethical (be moral, act socially respectable & responsible). This value based, agile network model also provides care accessible in an on demand/ASAP basis. This is excellent because society wants their health concerns addressed NOW. Not after a 6 week health scare. Not after going through several hoops of failed conservative measures. They want their concerns to be treated as such; CONCERNS! Pass.
  • Be a good corporate citizen (philanthropy, paying it forward, giving back). While the value based, agile network model may not directly contribute funds back to society, what it will do is set up society to adopt a culture of health. This is something Western culture has desperately struggled against. Pursuit of best health seems to be an arduous task. This model will allow for PTs, OTs, RNs, dieticians.nutritionists, social works, counselors and like-minded professionals to keep consumers aware, accountable, and active in their own health. Pass.
Since the conditions of social responsibility are sufficed, let's make sure a micro-version of an Ethics Screen is also passed for extra measure. By the way, I challenge you to try fitting any one of our current models (or suggested models) through the Ethics Screen (via Carroll). It will likely fail.

An Ethics Screen
  • Conventional Approach
    • Is this the best representation of healthcare as an organization of sorts?
      • Conventional Model: Fails. Why back our consumers up and make them assume a holding pattern in the supply chain?
      • Agile Model: There is no holding pattern in this model and the supply chain is networked so that consumers are served as directly as possible. PASS.
    • Is this the best representation of societal concerns?
      • Conventional Model: With all the political and social upheaval on affordable healthcare and what not, I'd say this is a definite fail. Things are not working at present (circa 2015).
      • Agile Model: Society is familiar with agile access to products and services. Look at Amazon, Google, Ebay, etc. People KNOW where to get the answers. They go there directly. Healthcare has been trying to safeguard its secrets; it's infantile since all of our "secrets" are already out there. Consumers that don't know who they need are victims of our selfishness. Consumers who know who they need are frustrated by the conventional model. Agile network access to healthcare = PASS.
  • Principles Approach (Just to save blog space and you're reading time, I'll hold off on this section to compare and such... all to say: Yes, the Value Based, Agile Network model passes).
    • Does this model have utilitarian benefits?
    • Does this model have virtue?
    • Is this model caring?
    • Is this model following the Golden Rule?
  • Ethics Tests Approach
    • Does this model suffice Common Sense?
      • Duh! This model is practically the model for every other industry. This is a Pass.
    • Is this model a representation of "One's Best Self?"
      • I think the Agile Model is definitely a representation of healthcare's best self; having content experts directly connected to patient concerns while the network of providers assume consultative and collaborative roles to the lead of the content expert is a GREAT way of expressing our best self. Musculoskeletal concern? Why not a physical therapist take lead, internist & pharmacists consult regarding any medication concerns, have pain psychology and social work hover as support? I can't give a reason, why not! Pass.
    • Does this model pass the "Gag Test?"
      • To this, I'll just say that many of the "extender" conversations I've heard does NOT pass the Gag Test. If it makes you gag even a little, it's a fail.

WRAPPING THIS MONSTROUS BLOG POST UP!

In my humble opinion, healthcare is at a crossroads where: We can all win; and, we can all win together. Or... we can all lose, one by one until it's all tragically and agonizingly gone.

We caused this problem together. Times got tough, so we billed more (creatively), downsized, used cheaper labor, etc. We found ways to make people wait, or stay away, to our benefit. Or, we got them to come back regularly, to our benefit. We created our own bottlenecks, gatekeepers, and circular referral processes. Payers started noticing what we were doing, so they kept decreasing what they were willing to pay because obviously we were trying to increase what we were going to fairly get.

Around and around this went until we come to now: a breaking point.

The conventional model as we know it has failed. We need to STOP redesigning the horse and buggy and we need to start crafting the horseless carriage.

I've covered organizational, cultural, professional, financial, and societal perspectives on this problem... this Success Dilemma in Healthcare.

I humbly present my recommendation as proposed, for healthcare to adopt a Value Based Agile Network model. This keeps people healthy and directly connects them to the expert of best position when a concern comes up, all the while being supported by the entire community of healthcare professionals in a collaborative network.

It capitalizes on what our society is doing best, right now: TECHNOLOGY.

And, it returns healthcare back to the core of it's identity: HUMANITY.

This model acknowledges that information is everywhere... the rationing, distribution, and social monopolization of health information/services is no longer seen as fair nor acceptable. Therefore, this model provides healthcare in a fashion which society deems responsible.

The appropriately lower margins of costs driven by "value based provider compensation" makes the burden of healthcare more evenly dispersed across the continuum providers and the consumers. Moreover, it is sustainable.

Rather than an interventive, reactive pattern to which so often, things come up typically too little, too late (like running around with a garden hose, hoping it will reach all the hotspots of a fire)... the Agile Network model serves the consumer on both an on demand basis as well as via an integral approach, taking many snapshots of a patient's health over small bits of time to assure there are no alarming trends towards disease, dysfunction, or disability.

The Value Based Network Model has the greatest scope of reach with the highest levels of credenced practice for all providers in the network. Moreover, it directly connects consumers for early intervention, serves as a preventive and proactive measure, and is highly educative to its consumers such that consumers benefit through the lifespan of their health needs versus a dissociated event-by-event basis.

Most importantly, the Value Based Network Model breaks out of the Success Dilemma. Instead of beating the same horse to move the same buggy, we finally broach the subject of designing and implementing a horseless carriage.

Ironically enough, Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, neither did he come up with the idea of an assembly line; he made cars accessible and affordable for consumers. That is spirit of success behind the horseless carriage.

My answer to the Success Dilemma in Healthcare?

Let us unify and disrupt ourselves; together, forge a better, stronger, and sustainable future to turn this social burden into a societal value.

The Success Dilemma In Healthcare (Part 1)

There has been a LOT of clamoring in social media about licensed healthcare providers and their licensed and/or unlicensed care extenders; believe you me, it's not just the physical therapy world that has been talking about this. Care extension has been at the center of a rather heated, uncomfortable, and disuniting talk for MANY healthcare circles including that of physicians, PAs, NPs, RNs, LVNs, CNAs, rad techs, diet techs, nutritionists..... need I go on?

So, after reviewing the true spirit of the discussions, debates, yellings, and social media japs as of late, I've come across this post (which has been in sitting in my blog queue for some time) and realized.... THIS is the center of our problem.

PS. Yeah... this may be a tiny bit of a rant; but I do offer real solutions with plenty of background.

PPS. I've split this post up into Parts 1 & 2. Part 1 as the situation analysis & Part 2 as the solution. Enjoy!

The Success Dilemma In Healthcare

In once sentence, here is our problem: "We're still trying to make a better horse and buggy when we should actually be working on a horseless carriage."

A reference to the oft quoted to Henry Ford, though perhaps not so accurately attributed in this case.

I feel as an industry, and certainly an economic construct, healthcare as we know it has topped out. It has been spinning its wheels in its own Success Dilemma; the vicious repetition of what worked in the past in hopes it continues to work for the future. This particular dilemma is not unique to any one industry. It happened to the horse and buggy when replaced with the horseless carriage. It happened to radios when they went from tube to transistors. It happened to Blockbuster when it got paved over by digital streaming, NetFlix, and the like. It happened and will continue to happen when sticking to whatever once made success, ultimately creates the rigidity that causes its failure.

As for healthcare, let's all be honest for just one moment.

Just even for a moment...

EVERYONE is talking about care extenders. And, why? It isn't for the greater good. It isn't for better efficiency or even the brainstorming of "innovative" care models.

Because, again, we're being honest right now, right? This talk has been around since commerce has been around: "If someone can do something for cheaper..."

I'll come right out & say it even if no one else will: IT'S ABOUT THE MONEY!

Extenders are cheaper by the hour than for whomever's care they extend; therefore, by being less costly upon a business based on human labor and time, it makes the margins better to substitute as such. Yet, We've TRIED this already. What has happened? Healthcare is STILL way too expensive and beyond sustainable for any local, regional, or national economy. And, it is unsustainable for all areas of practice.

The problem is SYSTEMIC. And guess what? Our consumers are absolutely sick (ha ha) of our internal bickerings -- they want applicable solutions TO THEM, not you clinic, business, firm, or organization.

Yet still, what have we all been yammering about? Finding new ways, crafting new laws, enabling new policies, and trying to sway professional opinions amongst our colleagues in such a way that doing things "differently" in the name of cost savings or what have you is then a good thing. Now, there are times when it is certainly necessary. When the automatic blood pressure cuff came out, did you really need a physician or nurse to do duplicate this manually as a health screening? NO! This  and many more types of care elements in this vein exists throughout the continuum of healthcare.

However, this isn't where our problem is. This, again, is a Success Dilemma. We're trying to do the same thing over and over again (definition of insanity); because it has once worked, it has been working, and we can only expect it to work again.

The problem is, everyone is doing it. Everywhere, in health systems, healthcare companies, private practice, for profit multi-center firms... everyone is focusing on better margins. As margins have been falling with lower earnings (due to various factors, including declining reimbursement rates), dismal growth is being reported; that's a bad thing when considering the shareholders. Since firms don't want investors to start dumping their shares, the knee jerk reaction for any company when costs are squashing margins comes to play. Reimbursements went down, so what did we do?

We billed more and paid our people less. When that didn't work, we downsized. When that didn't work, we started using cheaper labor that could hopefully substitute for quantity and quality. We hoped all of our management decision wouldn't affect quality, or, that no one would notice. We hoped that as our little management tricks served to inflate our earnings, improve margins, and hopefully restore growth, that quality care would not suffer. But, it didn't work and it doesn't work. Quality ALWAYS suffers.

And, this is where we fail... this is where the Success Dilemma destroys us. So, what's the answer? Well, it's nothing organic nor is it new. Nope. It's absolutely intentional. When success fails, disruption occurs.

Industry disruptions have historically happened when characteristics of products (or services) offer inherently novel combinations of traits which allow people to go about their day in a way never done before. I need to stress here that it isn't about performance features; making something fast faster isn't disruptive per se -- this just makes all the other competitor shift their understanding of the status quo (ie. "Henry Ford's" faster horse + faster buggy vs. horseless carriage).

Disruptive innovation creates entirely new markets because of the RESULTS of their products; entirely new ways of thinking; entirely new lifestyles; and entirely new sets of human behaviors.

If what you're trying to do is same thing but faster and/or more efficiently, it isn't anything innovative at all. It certainly isn't "different." If you go down this road long enough, you'll find the same "solution" humanity has always found when things can't go any faster.... you take SHORTCUTS.


So, what's my recommendation, you ask?

1. First, I suggest we take a look at what healthcare was and has become. During its inception, healthcare was really the practice of healing arts when it came to the human experience. Be it physician or surgeon (yes, they were considered different in a time before), sage, shaman, healer, priest, witch, whatever... the human experience looked to experts for their knowledge as well as their information and understanding of the human body. As science began to take hold for the human experience, societies started to notice certain reliabilities and consistencies and gravitated to what was termed as the practice of "medicine."

Nevertheless, the skill sets involved all circulated around one thing: Information. As various perspectives on the human experience and health evolved, healthcare eventually became a business model with many disciplines to create a care team, typically headed up by a chief physician and governed by an administrator.

As costs started to present themselves insurmountable, we tried different things. A gatekeeper model, a maintenance model, preferred provider, wellness... you name it. The problem is, the whole time we were still rationing and distributing knowledge in the form of access to care, prescription of pharmaceuticals, and scheduling of procedures. We failed addressed the one thing that could help us.

Value.

Since information is practically free now, it is no longer valuable as it stands alone. And, while certainly, the information isn't always accurate as framed on any given website due to generalization or what not, consumers don't care. They already have their information, what they are now seeking is value. As such, my first recommendation is that we get honest with ourselves, our consumers, and all of our stakeholders.

Healthcare has spun out of control in so far that it is no longer a viable business model in and of itself. And trust me, that is HARD for me to say. I spent a lot of time, blood, sweat, tears, and money getting my degrees and training to be licensed to do what I do. I pay good money to maintain my license to have the privilege to provide care for others.

Still, it isn't enough. Honesty declares that the monster we've helped create by ALL the current practices we have participated in... has failed.

We, have failed.


2. Arriving here, my second recommendation becomes a little more obvious. Healthcare is a social burden. As such, solutions must be forged together. All this talk about extenders, cost savings, and blah blah blah... it only divides us. It never unites us.

Unity is what we need. Unity within the professions; unity amongst the professions.

This is part of the big picture I've been talking about.

The solution I recommend has to do with social responsibility as form of economic sustainability and competitive strategy. I base this off of what I'm observing in the grumblings, debates, and opinions in the healthcare marketplace at large. I also base this on the many business studies that have proven a properly leveraged corporate social responsibility (CSR) as that which adds significant value, and sustainable value at that, for consumers. As such, I think it is fair to say: Healthcare is facing a crisis in social responsibility.

The IRON LAW of Social Responsibility:
The iron law of responsibility says that in the long run, those who do not use power in ways that society considers responsible will tend to lose it.

So I ask you, are our healthcare systems using its power responsibly? I would offer the answer is "No." If we were, we wouldn't be in this pickle. We wouldn't be arguing amongst ourselves while all of our consumers, shareholders, and stakeholders are at our throats in one form or another.

So again, my second recommendation is UNITY. We can't do this if we're divided. We can't solve this if we're bickering over the most minute of things which do NOT cause to help the big picture. This means that each profession needs to humble themselves and stop thinking about their supply side perspectives. Sure, physicians do more than prescribe. Sure, pharmacists do more than dispense. Sure, nurses do more than attend. Sure, rehab therapists do more than massage or exercise. Sure, technicians of all sorts do more than press buttons, wave wands, or take blood. Yes. Yes. Sure. Sure. All of it is correct.

But, the fact of the matter is this, all this bickering is going to take the power away from both provider and consumer... and place it completely into a third arbitrary party. At that point, no one gets a say. Don't think so? Just ask those struggling with new contracts; it is so. And, it is terrifying.


3(a). As such, this is my third recommendation: pursue Value Based Healthcare. What?! This isn't anything new, you say? Well... it isn't. People have talked about it. But, people have never AGREED on it. There are 101 definitions to what value based healthcare is and should look like.

This is what I'd like to suggest: Let's examine value from the perspective of the healthcare consumer.

A quote (likely a paraphrase) from one of my business professors goes something like this: "What companies need to do is to develop products by understanding circumstances in which they are used by customers... " It is here that I believe value can be found for how we can provide healthcare.

We, all of us, as internal stakeholders and a community of healthcare professionals need to look at our consumers and external stakeholders and ask ourselves what their circumstances are to which the need arises that they demand (want/need) healthcare services. For it is in those circumstances we find the first seeds of value.

Therefore, I will share again my taken formula for value in healthcare:

As such, let's work from the bottom up. Healthcare consumers want two things: (1) to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, and, (2) when health concerns inevitably arise, to have immediate access to expertise and care.

With this in mind, I ask the rhetorical: Is a 4 minute office visit by a physician educating you that you have a flu and don't need antibiotics valuable to its cost? Or, is it better that a message be sent by a patient, screened by a provider, and response given through a digital patient portal?

Is making that same 4 minute office visit to discuss your back pain really all that valuable? Especially when the result is "do these nonspecific print out stretches," take "these pills," and "come see me in 4-6 weeks if you don't feel better" truly valuable?

Even worse, when after those 6 weeks, you get referred to a physical therapist only to wait for another week or two to get scheduled? Or, would it have been better to register a digital health concern of a musculoskeletal nature and get immediately referred to your physical therapist?

The way things have always been is not driving a Value Based Healthcare System. It is neither good business, nor is it socially responsible. So I continue this vein to ask you the following:

How it is even remotely socially responsible that I regularly hear customers complain...
  • a doctor's visit wasn't worth a copay or time
  • that a PTA did more than the PT ever did
  • when an aide provided ultrasound (and it was billed for)
  • that the CNA is the "real" nurse
  • when the OT seemed to just be following what the PT was saying
  • any ungodly wait time for healthcare services
  • that an MRI was used to both fear monger and justify medical necessity for a surgery (and PT was never consulted)
  • a PT "walks a patient" (noncardiac) for 1000ft and doesn't d/c services in a hospital
  • patients get the imaging run around until they receive a referral to a physical therapist months later
  • prescription drugs are ordered brand name and not generic when possible
  • I mean... the list goes ON!.... FOREVER
The answer is obvious: It isn't. It isn't responsible. It isn't ethical. It isn't right.


The situation is clearing wrong. It is no where near functional, efficient, good for providers, good for consumers, nor right for society. Value Based Healthcare sounds like a great idea; but, does it have any backing? Does the framework even have theoretical grounds for building? What about the "evidence?"

Please continue reading and find my solution for breaking out of the Success Dilemma in Healthcare... AND, an entirely new paradigm of healthcare here at:

The Success Dilemma In Healthcare (Part 2)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5 Tips For Finding A Mentor

Finding a good mentor (or even several) gives you invaluable advantages in your journey towards establishing, developing, and growing a career. I can certainly attribute some very critical circumstances to which I relied upon a mentor's words of wisdom to choose the best paths which lead me to where I am today. There, I present to you....

5 Tips For Finding A Mentor

1. Personality
When finding a mentor, make sure they have a good personality. After all, you'll be interacting with this person for quite some time in the coming future. They need to be personable, compatible, and respectable in your eye. They'll likely have many encouraging things to say to you, and, if they're a good one, they'll have some chastising and constructive criticism as well.

2. Keeps you in check
Speaking of which, one of the most important things a mentor can do for you is to prune and sharpen your dreams. Much like a diamond cutter makes the rough that much more valuable with each strike, your mentor must carefully and purposely prune you into the gem from behind the rough. This can include reining you back in when your head is way beyond the clouds -- like, in outer space. They also know how to smack you out of your depressio-doldrums as well. In essence, they keep your outlook balanced and keep you honest with yourself.

3. Attentive and accessible
A good mentor needs to be quickly accessible and very attentive to the many things you won't be saying. They can read between the lines, through your poker face, and into your heart-of-heart-of-intentions... even the ones YOU don't even know you have. They are quick to respond to your questions and can do so with compassion as well as understanding. After all, they were once where you were.

4. Willing to check up on you
Sometimes, mentees forget to check in with their mentors. A good mentor will remember you; recall that its been a couple months of radio silence. For whatever reason, I've found that this is commonly the time when mentees need their mentors most. As such, if you see a prospective mentor who has a habit of checking in on people, remembering them even after months if not years past, you've found a good one.

5. Willing give you the ugly, ugly truth.
When it's all said and done, you're moving onto the next phase of life, your mentor needs to be willing to give you the ugly, ugly truth. Stage by stage in our lives, we tend to see things with a certain lense of naivety. However, with this innocence exists the wonderful thing of hope. However, hope must be tempered with reality as carbon is tempered with iron to make steel. When hopes and realities align, great things happen. Sometimes, the ugly truth is what is required to harden the steel, create a definitive edge, and purpose an instrument to a great cause.

This last one certainly happened to me; my mentor promoted me outside of his very organization with his sharing of the ugly, ugly truth. You know what? I'm better for it, and, it's a testament to his mentorship that he was willing to lose me for my own betterment.


So I ask you, have you found someone?

Do they have all these qualities? Well... Ask them out! ..... As a mentor, of course ;)

(I know you were thinking it.)


That's it for now. Until next time!
-Ben