• By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com Right wrong or otherwise, we all make snap judgments when we meet new people. Last week I needed help from an airline gate agent and here’s what happened: I approached the counter ready to beg, cajole and flaunt my frequent flyer status as I wanted to get home on an earlier flight. As I approached the counter, the gate agent looked up immediately, smiled and asked how she could help in a warm and engaging way. She listened fully to my request and then said, “Let’s see what we can do to make that happen.” The interaction was all of three minutes and yet, it left me feeling positive, I know her name

    Feb 01,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, MAH | jcowart@barlowmccarthy.com The beginning of a new year, the launch of a new goal, a significant change in direction – all of these are opportunities for reflection on where we’ve been and where we’re going. Usually, this reflection is accompanied by resolutions, declarations of new direction, and a burst of new energy. Too often, however, this process quickly devolves into disruption at the hands of the mundane, the heavy tug of the status quo, and the loss of traction toward our new goals. Then the malaise and disappointment of failure starts to hover and nag. Why is this cycle so familiar? The truth is, the cycle has nothing to do with our good intentions nor our

    Jan 25,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, MAH The television commercial dazzled us with the attributes of the SUV and proclaimed it as the “most awarded” vehicle in its class. The prominent headline on the front of the direct mail piece for the cruise line said it was the “most awarded.” As passengers step into the airplane in Atlanta they see a large sticker by the doorway assuring them that this airline is the “most awarded.” But, the word “award” is a noun that refers to a specific thing of honor usually given to someone in recognition of a great accomplishment. The word can be a verb when coupled with the word “to” as in “to award” the trophy. In the 140-word tweet-limited modern

    Jan 29,
  • By: Kriss Barlow RN, MBA Finding the best channel to earn the right referrals for your program is more challenging than ever. Even with better data, better talent and better focus, earning new referrals is challenging work! Many markets are now tightly aligned, so there is more at stake with each visit. I thought I’d offer a few reminders; those important basics for a best practice program.  Sometimes they are overlooked…  until we are in a bind. Make sure the offering is able to deliver - A lot has been written about making sure the internal systems are ready for new business, but it is a chronic challenge for field staff. Work to stay ahead of this. Field staff and their

    Jan 21,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, MAH One day the newspaper editor received copy from a young journalist that was filled with long and rambling run-on sentences. Exasperated, the editor typed a page filled with dots, printed it, walked over and handed it to the budding writer. “These are periods,” the editor said. “Use them. When you run out, come back and see me. I’ve got more.” This is a common story frequently told by editors in newsrooms to help young writers. And, it is a universal truth. One of the most important punctuation friends of healthy writing is the period. Humans have a tendency in storytelling to ramble in a stream-of-consciousness style, a kind of unedited rough draft of our thoughts. Just

    Jan 18,
  • By: Allison McCarthy, MBA My husband and I moved into a new development a few years ago.  Thinking back on that experience, our salesperson – Lorraine – guided us in selecting our specific lot, home model and internal features.  Once we signed the contract, we were transitioned over to the general contractor – Tommy – to review the building process and timeline.  The “hand-off” from buying to building was smooth and efficient. Tommy was our intermediary with the building subcontractors – carpenters, electricians, HVAC, plumbers, painters.  He had our specs and worked to ensure they were implemented correctly.  While there were some snags, Tommy kept us informed on how those glitches were being addressed and the impact they had on

    Jan 14,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, MAH Mark Twain wrote “the difference between choosing the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Precision in words is one of the most important decisions a writer makes. Think, for example, of the images evoked in the listener or reader’s mind by the word “vehicle.” The word is non-specific and no two receivers are likely to envision the same one in exactly the same way. Say “Mercedes,” though, and the image in the mind starts to narrow and align. A building more precisely could be a funeral home or a gym. There is a big difference, and the words tap directly into the experiences of the reader

    Jan 11,