Road to Becoming a Successful Leader

As I evolve personally and professionally, I find myself seeking out opportunities to learn more about leadership. Working in Billing and Collections for behavioral health providers of Substance Abuse Disorders and Mental Health facilities, I will always work on my skills and knowledge; however, learning a technical skill in Revenue Cycle Management is vastly different then learning how to be a great leader.

I have decided to write a blog about leadership so I could become a respected leader. One of the aspects of being a great leader is you must be knowledgeable in the line of work you choose to be a part of. You must be dedicated and committed to your team. It is essential to have considerable communication skills, the ability to approach and establish an understanding of the mindset of your team.

A great leader should have the ability to support and guide the team to success. Leaders must be able to motivate, delegate, listen, make decisions and problem solve. Integrity is one of the most important things to convey to your team as leader, integrity is regarded as the honesty, truthfulness, and accuracy of one’s actions. I cannot express how crucial it is to have strong ethical or moral principles.

Leadership is an ongoing process to broaden and differentiate one’s capabilities required to perform effectively. As I develop myself into becoming the best leader I can be, I find one of the key aspects is attitude. Great leaders should influence their team towards their goals. In my experience a great leader is not about being the smartest, but it is more about understanding others and what makes a team work together to reach solutions.

Setting clear expectations is extremely important. In order for a team to succeed, they have to understand what is expected of them, and what their goals is. When expectations are clear the team bears the proper skills, knowledge, and resources to complete the task at hand. They are more likely to show accountability for the work they are preforming. As a leader it is very important to have team meetings to review and discuss the progress, trends and to ensure the team is meeting their individual and team goals.

Learn to motivate through recognition by giving feedback, new responsibilities, encouraging productivity, setting effective goals and team building. Anytime I find that feedback or assignments are not received well I immediately make a mental note to provide more encouragement. In my experience the more I give feedback and encouragement, the easier it is received.

Overall, leading a team is extremely challenging at times, however, it is very rewarding. We have worked hard to create an environment of integrity and transparency. Effective leadership requires fluidity to help deal with each situation on an individual basis. Mastering this provides us with the strongest chance of leading the team to success. We strive to be the best of the best, and with this mindset the leaders of Integrity Billing will guide our organization into a prosperous future.

“LEADERSHIP IS NOT ABOUT TITLES, POSTITIONS OR FLOWCHARTS. IT IS ABOUT ONE LIFE INFLUENCING ANOTHER,” — John C. Maxwell

Five tips for keeping a neat work journal.

My thoughts are constantly scattered. Having a broad range of work duties can make it difficult to keep track of responsibilities. At times, intense focus on a single task can cause a loss of sight for tasks that seem unrelated. I have kept a work journal for the past few years. It has helped me immensely. However, I have learned a few things along the way. Here are five tips for keeping a work journal.

Handwrite your notes. Scientific studies have shown handwriting notes can help you retain the information better.  Most people can type faster than they can write something out by hand. The ability to type notes verbatim ends up being a detriment. Handwriting, being slower, forces people to actively think about the information and decide which parts are important. This active process makes it more likely that the information will be retained.

Start a new page every day and do not forget the date.  I rarely reference my notes more than a week back. However, on the rare occasions I cannot remember the status of a task, having a record and date of completion will alleviate self-doubt.

At the beginning of each day start a new task list to prioritize your goals. Allowing yourself ten minutes in the beginning of the day will help you decide which items on your task list are most important. It can also help you block off your time efficiently.

When you do something that was not on your task list, write it down just to cross it off. Not only is this an extremely satisfying symbolic gesture, but it is also good to have it as a reference in the future.

Break large tasks into their smallest possible pieces. It will help you be more productive. Large goals can be overwhelming and time consuming. It is much easier to block off time for four several smaller tasks than for one large task.

Branding: The Importance of Brand Guidelines

As CEO of Integrity Billing, the greatest asset we have is our brand. After our first collaboration with a professional branding firm, designRoom, we were given a Brand Guidelines book; it is our Bible for anything branding. We use Brand Guidelines. They are rules for daily usage of the Integrity Billing brand. A brand without guidelines has no integrity.

A brand without a logo has no face. The brand has to be managed and communicated consistently to all audiences. We have Brand Police who are rigid yet flexible. The Integrity Billing identity system and the standards for its application are designed to create a strong and memorable position in the marketplace. Our logo is considered a wordmark, which means our name is also our primary logo image – with add-ons. The dots over the I’s and crosses over the t’s are a purposeful play on the phrase “dot all the I’s and cross all the t’s”. It’s a visual way to say that Integrity Billing makes every effort to care for every detail, even minor ones; and our approach will often deliver additional reimbursements.

The lower-case letter forms are friendly, approachable and engaging while the mark itself is simple and bold.

Our tagline, Expect more communicates on a variety of levels. Telling customers what they can expect from Integrity Billing; hinting at a higher level of service, accuracy, integrity (of course). It is general enough to invite questions, yet specific enough to directly answer questions about services, expertise, honesty and thoroughness.

Examples of Brand Guidelines help us to use our identity and image properly and consistently are as follows:

Logo – when is it used? Make sure the proper proportions and sizes, clear space and multiple file formats. I’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

Color Palette – For print and digital our Primary Colors are Cool Gray and candy apple red.

Tagline usage – Define the tagline, key messaging and exactly when, where and how to use it. Our tagline is “Expect more”.

Image Strategy – Examples of image style and subject matter that help define the brand.

designRoom also presented the following in our Brand Guidelines;

  • Brand History/Story
  • Mission, Vision and Value Statements
  • Copy Writing Style
  • Editorial Guidelines
  • Logo Orientation – Our Logo is a Wordmark
  • Clearspace and Minimum Size
  • Explaining Color Reproduction
  • One Color Logo
  • Logo on a Background
  • Incorrect Logo Usage
  • Logo Typeface and our name in Text
  • Corporate typefaces

Now that we have Brand Guidelines, I wonder how we survived without them. It’s the gift that keeps giving. designRoom can be found at designRoom.com. I highly recommend them. Pretty cool stuff, huh?

Data Destruction

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) compliance are taken very seriously in the healthcare industry. This is rightfully so; the internet is not a safe place for private information. However, policies surrounding HIPPA and HITECH do not start and stop with information that travels through the internet. Information is stored on all sorts of devices including computers, phones, and possibly even fax machines and printers.

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Mouse Ergonomics

Is your mouse uncomfortable to use, but you can’t switch to using your laptop’s trackpad instead because it’s even more cumbersome for you? Then it’s time for you to buy a new mouse. But with so many brands and models out there for you to choose from, you may find it difficult and overwhelming to choose the right mouse for you. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind before you buy a new mouse.

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Always Ready

Recently, adapting to changes in workflow from Covid-19 has become a primary concern for most businesses. This makes it easy to overlook other outside threats to your business. Hurricane season in Florida starts today, June 1st. It is important to have plans in place before a hurricane to allow yourself to react in a timely manner. Integrity Billing has already begun reviewing disaster preparedness plans, preparation procedures and materials for the event of a hurricane.
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The Poppy Flower: A Memorial Day remembrance and an epidemic

The weather is finally breaking in the northeast. Over the weekend, I was out and about and ran into some veterans collecting donations as Memorial Day is approaching. I always make a donation, for it is their sacrifices that allow me to live a life of freedom today! I did not have any cash and told them I would be back. When I came out of the store they were gone. I felt terrible that I missed the opportunity to donate and thank them for their service. I walked out into the parking lot and found them loading their car. I gratefully handed them my donation and said, “thank you for your service, it is your service that allows me to live a free life today.” They said wait! Let us give you a poppy. Being a heroin addict in recovery I said “that’s ok, don’t worry about it.” They insisted and I did not want to dishonor their tradition. It is a pretty flower after all, even if it’s meaning is very different to me. Read more

5…..4….3…2..1. Calm

Most people would agree they don’t enjoy change. Sudden unexpected transitions are much less tolerable. Covid-19 is causing big and small changes to everyone’s daily lives. On top of the obvious stressors like worrying about your health and economic instability, people are being forced to adjust their daily routines.

Personally, I am a ritualistic and methodical person. Simple consistencies in everyday life help me feel comfortable and secure. Being forced to wait in lines at the grocery store, having trouble finding everyday items, and not being able to safely interact with people are additional stressors throwing off my inner balance.

When fear or anxiety take over mental barriers are put in place and simple tasks become incomprehensible. In overwhelming situations, it is near impossible to look at a situation objectively. When this happens slowing down and taking a step back from the situation is a good first step to return to a healthy inner balance.

There are several grounding techniques that can help anyone distance themselves from things that are currently overwhelming them. It can be as simple as focusing on your breathing or a consistent noise like a ticking clock. For some people feeling something tangible like a piece of cloth or a worry stone and then focusing intently on how it feels helps.

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Why Do Celebrities Get a Stigma Free Pass for Addiction and Mental Health Issues?

The list of celebrity deaths from drug use and overdose is long, as this memorial wall illustrates. From Elvis Presley to Prince, Marilyn Monroe to Michael Jackson, there is a price to fame. Whether it be the pressure of too much attention, the lack of privacy, loneliness at the top, or feeling undeserving of it all, being a celebrity has its pitfalls and downsides, oftentimes leading to self-medication in the form of addictive substances as a means to cope.
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4 Tips to Ensure Fear Won't Destroy Your Business

4 Tips To Ensure Fear Won’t Destroy Your Business

Fear can be a good thing if it keeps us from stepping too close to the edge of a cliff or motivates us to dodge out of the way of a speeding car. But in business, you shouldn’t let fear dictate the core of your decision-making process. Here are four ways to manage your fear, move through it and make the best possible calls for the future of your company.

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