Healthcare costs have been soaring every year so fast that President Barack Obama once said, “By a wide margin, the biggest threat to our nation’s balance sheet is the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. It’s not even close.” Dr. Atul Gawande wrote a great article, The Cost Conundrum, describing how some doctors at McAllen, Texas turn a population of twelve thousand dollars income per capital into one of fifteen thousand dollars per enrollee in Medicare, almost twice the national average.
There are all kinds of white-coat wolfs. The doctors’ business drive is one internal cause. Middlemen’s profit sharing is one external cause. The non-health cause that contributes to about 70% of primary clinical visits for stress-related health issues and the limited way how businesses and individuals meet challenges and stay healthy also give those white-coat wolfs legitimate reasons and endless opportunities to suck the blood out of individuals, businesses, and economic systems. In addition, not all doctors have the best knowledge and problem-solving.
In fact, we can not only cut down healthcare costs but also improve healthcare quality and productivity at the same time. We can not only cut down today’s healthcare costs but also anticipate development needs in coming challenges, make wise investments and take early action. Our success started at the clinic in 2004 when I first invented the 6Q Approach. Here are 5 main steps.
Meet challenges with the Right Tools
A study at Toronto University Family Medicine found that 70% of their primary visits are stress related. Most stress-related health issues are directly related to the lack of right tools to meet the challenge, relax and restore self, for example, insomnia, heart attack, diabetes, obesity, and fast aging. McAllen could have heavy drinking sixty percent higher than the national average because many individuals in that area lack education and have limited ways to relax self and make themselves happy. Drinking is an inexpensive way to achieve a fast relief, and smoking and food are the next. Then obesity and others associated diseases follow, such as heart attack, diabetes, and hypertension.
Until individuals can find their missing tools, the same issues often keep on coming back and getting worse. Because doctors and hospitals are often paid by visits and procedures, medical treatments can become expensive and endless symptom relieves with legitimate reasons. As people go to the clinic or hospital more, more complications can emerge, which require further treatments. Heart disease is a good example.
Case Study 1: Beat Heart Disease
Now a person with heart disease is saved and ready to go back to work. What will happen if he cannot meet the next challenge? The person will collapse again, right? What if we can evaluate if he is on the right track and help him avoid unsuitable challenges? What if we can identify the skills he needs and make learning easy and fast? Can he achieve his goal easier and quicker with fewer or no health issues? Of course, he can. That was how our success started at the clinics and invented the 6Q Approach.
Each person has 6Q, IQ, EQ, Learning Q, Adversity Q, Public influence Q and Health Q. Doctors and hospitals mainly fix health through medicine. However, individuals also need the other 5Qs and self-management to meet their challenges. No one tool can solve all issues. Issues with any of these Qs, especially Adversity Q, can crash a person, and then the challenge-collapse-hospital cycle repeats, medical treatments become endless and expensive symptom relieves, which only benefit some doctors and hospitals.
– Heart Cath: $7,000-11,300
– Heart Stent: $11,000-41,000
– Heart Bypass: $70,000-200,000
– Heart Transplant: $780,000- 1,200,000
However, some doctors and hospitals do not want their patients to find their missing tool—they want their patients to keep on coming back. Some doctors indulge their patients with heart failure not to sleep and eat right so they can have “a new heart” quicker. These doctors are also white-coat wolfs except they are more diplomatic than those at McAllen, Texas. Unless trained, most individuals will not be able to recognize all kinds of white-coat wolfs and protect themselves.
– The Impact of Traditional Education and Talent Management
In addition, traditional education and talent management cannot handle complex issues efficiently also creates more “intractable issues” and subsequent stress-related health issues. In fact, individuals can get well quickly if they have the missing tools, including the same day, for example, the case studies in the following short video.
Case Study 2: Eliminate Insomnia with the Right Law
One time I had a patient who was an attorney. Because his parents left all their money to him, nothing to his sister, his sister kept on suing the family, and he had to manage. As time passed by, he developed insomnia and anxiety. He had been to other firms before he came to me and was quite familiar with standard maneuvers, such as position change. I asked him if his family had set up a family fund. He said no. So, I told him, “Set up your family fund, so you do not have to give your 40% to Uncle Sam. Give it to your sister.” The attorney was speechless. From that day, he needed no more sleeping pills or therapies. What he needed was a right law. Once his issue was gone, his health issues disappeared.
The best way for talent to achieve success and minimize stress-related health issues is to stay on the right track (avoid unsuitable challenges), meet challenges with the right tools, and manage self efficiently. However, people often lack the right tools to meet challenges, not to mention traditional IQ, EQ and behavior approaches have limited power over non-IQ and non-EQ sources. Traditional talent management only touches pieces of the human system. Thus, neither can get to ALL root causes and solve complex issues efficiently.
For example, behaviors mainly reflect the underlying structure in different environments and therefore, can change as environments changes. The 360-degree evaluation is a great way to collect broad behavior observation AFTER a person gets into the specific environment. Thus, insignificant weaknesses in that environment will not surface but can impact the next project. We call the weakness Relative Weakness.
Case Study 3: Shoot Burnout, Save His Job!
This case is about an executive who had MBA and ten years of experience at a well-known leadership consulting firm in roles from consultant to local VP. He was promoted to Regional Manager to boost regional sales and minimize turnover. Two months later, while sales remained flat, turnover got worse. In the meantime, his wife was pregnant, very unhappy as Mr. B spent a great deal of time away from home due to the new job. By the time when I met him, he was burned out, contemplating if he should resign.
I did Executive 6Q Assessment for him and found many excellent characteristics in consulting and leadership. He was also weak in sales, marketing, public influence, emotional expression, and energy restoration, and others. These weaknesses were not significant to a local VP but significant to a Regional Manager. There was no way I could address so many issues at one time, so I chose to optimize his emotional expression and teach him to share his professional stress with his wife, gain her support, and later connect with his clients. It was 30-minutes training. He eliminated his family crisis. A week later, he became more confident about his job.
So, through 90 minutes of assessment, 30 minutes of training, plus my staying up late to read his Executive 6Q Assessment, the man recovered from the burnout, made a breakthrough and saved his job and region.
In addition to Relative Weakness, individuals with high EQ can control what others can observe at the workplace. These are the reasons businesses can choose the wrong people, and the impact will increase at an exponential rate as the level of the position rises.
One great leader repeatedly said at top MBAs that individuals ought to take care of themselves and not to expect their company to babysitter them. I totally agree. Unfortunately, many people cannot manage self efficiently due to the lack of effective education. In addition, some health issues can be avoided or reversed if individuals can recognize the signs and restore internal balance quickly, for example, stroke and fast aging. Thus, we provide the education to cover common needs and unique ones.
In fact, self-management can be the hardest task in the world because of human nature and knowledge base. The self-management starts from decision-making to execution, including time management, teamwork, relaxation, restoration, etc. Decision-making is the first step to achieve goals, which is more critical to leaders and independent elites than others. Not every issue has a fast solution. Not every attempt will succeed. In addition, the world does not challenge only individuals’ strengths. Thus, individuals also need efficient relaxation, restoration, and resilience. Many individuals miss some tools along the process. Some of them may need a little help, such as the above case studies 1 and 3. Some may require extra blood, sweat, and tears. Some may have to take alternatives. Many cases are the combination of the three types.
Some people go to the hospital too late, which makes a small problem big, big problem impossible. For example, one couple called 911 after their son got choked. By the time when an ambulance arrived, the boy already died as the human brain can only tolerate no oxygen for 6-7 minutes. The couple should have removed the foreign object and started CPR (cardiac pulmonary resuscitation) while waiting for the ambulance. Another example is how to handle heart attack and stroke as the window time to dissolve the clots in heart attack and stroke is only a few hours. The recovery before and after window time can be life and death. This is another issue that can be resolved through education.
Get Well Quickly
In addition to complication inside the hospital and extended treatments due to white-coat wolfs, many chronic illnesses, disabilities, and deaths result from improper treatments. Some doctors only want to use their specialty tool to solve ALL problems. For example, a Psychiatrist wants to treat a heart attack by easing patient’s mind, and a Surgeons like to use a knife instead of preventive care. Some physicians have limited knowledge and creativity.
Case Study 4 & 5: Recover Self from a Tragic Auto-accident
In 1997, my mother and I were rear-ended in a tragic auto accident. She was put on a ventilator since she could not breathe on her own. About 5 weeks later, her doctor diagnosed that she would be ventilator-dependent for the rest of her life since she did not improve. My mom refused to live on the ventilator, so I had to be the one to discontinue her lifeline. I decided to exam her myself before I took the final step. To my surprise, I found her diaphragm was intact, which meant that she could breathe by raising and relaxing her diaphragm (abdominal breath). I taught her the new way of breathing. She got off the ventilator in three days. Later she gained her independence through both the Eastern and Western medicine.
I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in the accident. Almost all experts predicted that I could not recover. In the meantime, we got zero compensation from the courts, including the US Supreme Court. After I cried for a whole night, I decided to recover myself. The tools I used were far more than the Eastern and Western medicine. Thank God, I have passed all 3 steps of medical license examinations and received many excellent letters of recommendations at the clinics.
Build a Productive Workplace
Leadership and institutional culture is one foundation for individuals to bring out their best performance and stay healthy. A right decision and a productive culture can make everyone’s life easy. However, businesses often achieve slow and poor results in leadership and talent development since they mainly use IQ, EQ and behavior tools alone. A 2016 Deloitte survey found that only 13% of companies believe they are building effective global leaders.
Healthcare issues among employees often can reflect the missing tools in leadership and talent management, for example, recruitment, talent tasking, and institutional strategy. Some leaders do not take care of themselves efficiently. The leading causes of death among executive and elites are the heart attack, stroke, suicide, and cancer. The first 3 are directly related to stress. Cancer is also related to the immune suppression of stress. Institutions should perfect its system and performance with the feedback. For more information, please visit “4 Keys to Optimizing Corporate Leadership Development” and “How to Be an Exceptional CEO?”
Each person’s 6 quotients are integrated, which is why health issues can have non-health causes, and poor IQ and EQ performance can result from non-IQ and non-EQ sources. By knowing individual 6Q structures, we can anticipate which relative weaknesses will become significant, which strengthen can be irrelevant, so businesses and individuals can make wise investments and take early action. In the meantime, we can also make learning easy, so clients often can achieve results in weeks or days instead of years or months. Here are some common mistakes.
– Common Mistakes
* Using one tool for All Issues
* Stay out of their maximum comfort(aptitude) zone
* Tripped up by relative weaknesses
* Unable to utilize resources
* Run out of gas (energy)
* Inability to handle setbacks and failures
* Insufficient relaxations and restoration techniques
* Go to the hospital only for stress-related health problems.
For common mistakes among leaders, please read the book, “What Stops Leaders from Good to Great.”
Human work, life, and health are integrated. As long as health issues can have non-health causes, health management is NOT equal to hospital management, and poor IQ and EQ performance can result from non-IQ and non-EQ sources, we cannot rely on hospitals and medicine alone to stay healthy nor use IQ, EQ, and behavior tools only to meet challenges and avoid stress-related health issues. Partial approaches only offer legitimate reasons for white-coat wolfs to suck the blood out of customers and economic systems and destroy the competitiveness of businesses and nations and bankrupting millions of families.
The efficient solution is to link health management with talent management, remove the root causes of endless symptom relieves and empower individuals to participate in personal health management and utilize health resources wisely. Individuals can get well quickly, including the same day, with the minimum re-occurrence like the cases above. Businesses can optimize productivity and minimize absenteeism and healthcare costs. In addition, both can anticipate development needs, including health needs, in coming challenge, make wise investments, and take early action. It is inefficient to solve problems around healthcare alone, whether to cut down prices or trim off middlemen.
When more people can stay healthy and recognize white-coat wolfs quickly, it will not be many opportunities for those white-coat wolfs. Instead, they can be easily kicked out the provider list and get legal punishment.
Current health insurance companies often refuse to pay for personal development and deny the necessary treatments to stay profitable. Such an operation may be good to its own benefit but cannot save money for business and society nor provide quality care to satisfy customers. AI is good for simple processes, data storage, etc. but not for complex tasks, such as clinical visits that require palpitation, percussion, and other physical touches.
It is time to look at the big picture, think differently and target issues with the right tools. By doing so, we can not only cut down healthcare costs but also improve healthcare quality and productivity at the same time. In addition, we can anticipate development needs in coming challenges, make wise investments and take early action.
About the Author
Bin Yang is the Managing Director of The Prince Synergy (www.theprincesynergy.com), a leading consulting firm that focuses on empowering leaders and elites to be their best and stay healthy (TPS Dream & Power) and building exceptional leaders to strengthen society (TPS Executive Academy). She is the author of What Stops Leaders from Good to Great. For more information or to schedule an interview, lecture, or appointment, please contact 310-668-1828.